The new trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League has unveiled the Pandora’s Box that the movie embodies. Arriving on HBO Max nearly three and a half years after its theatrical counterpart, the Snyder Cut is an altogether different movie from the one that hit theaters, but that’s just the beginning of its story. The marketing has already shown in clearer terms than ever before why the push by fans to get it released was met with such resistance by Warner Bros.
Justice League was infamously subject to a slew of last-minute reshoots following Zack Snyder’s departure from the movie, which reshaped it to the point of making the film completely unrecognizable from the one Snyder had made. The subsequent efforts by fans to push for Snyder’s original cut of the movie to be released has made the film into a modern Hollywood legend. The fact that the Snyder Cut is being released has given it a permanent place in the history books, but the new trailer for the movie shows that the complete tale of the film is still unfolding.
Reports have emerged that the Snyder Cut is internally viewed as a “storytelling cul-de-sac” at Warner Bros., which some have seen as effectively putting the lid on any hope for the remainder of Snyder’s intended five-movie arc to be realized. However, the overall marketing and the new trailer, in particular, tell a different story. Because the Justice League film that the world is about to see can be called many things, but, by design, a cul-de-sac is not one of them.
Following the extremely divisive reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. developed some big second thoughts about the arc that Snyder had in mind. This led to a rewrite of the Justice League script that dropped some of its darkest components, including the core “scary idea,” that served to bring Superman under control of the anti-life equation. Steppenwolf was also given a redesign to make him less scary (much to his detriment) with a two-hour mandate also imposed onto the movie, but these changes still weren’t enough, with studio executives reportedly dubbing the 2 hour and 20 minute cut submitted by Snyder “unwatchable“.
Following Snyder’s departure from the movie, extensive reshoots were ordered under the direction of Joss Whedon, with Ray Fisher later describing Whedon’s on-set conduct towards the cast and crew as “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable”. By the time the film hit theaters, the changes made to the theatrical version backfired horrifically, with Henry Cavill’s CGI upper lip, meant to hide his Mission: Impossible – Fallout mustache, becoming a img of mockery, while the movie bombed in theaters, and cast members (save for Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa) either departed the franchise or their DCEU futures slowly receded. What all of this highlights is that Warner Bros. had made a clear decision to abandon Snyder’s arc well before Justice League hit theaters, which made releasing his version of the film a non-starter for the studio. Now that the Snyder Cut’s a go on HBO Max, we’ll see the full extent to which the movie itself stood at odds with that decision at the time.
The first trailer for the Snyder Cut debuted during DC FanDome, and though it only featured dialogue at the very end, it was already enough to tell that it was presenting a truly different movie with a tone and a visual style more in line with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, and glimpses at characters left out of the theatrical cut the like Darkseid and Desaad. The new trailer turns the dial up to eleven on how big a difference the Snyder Cut represents from the theatrical version. Among the elements included in the trailer are a brief glimpse at Granny Goodness, who was never known to be in the movie until now, along with more of the Knightmare future teased in Batman v Superman, shots of Darkseid’s minions assembled before him, the re-implemented OG Steppenwolf design, and Jared Leto’s recently added Joker.
On top of other additions like the black-suited, and as storyboard artist Jay Oliva describes him, “unhinged” Superman, the latest Snyder Cut trailer has done a lot more than just paint a picture of a Justice League film that’s nothing like the one the world’s already seen. It also shows that the movie expands the universe it’s set in with new characters, settings, and story elements. The Knightmare side of the film in particular is a real wild card, as are the Apokolips and Fourth World plot elements, while General Swanwick will also be revealed as Martian Manhunter, as well. The addition of Granny Goodness also really begs the question of which other characters from Apokolips could appear. The Snyder Cut, in short, introduces far more than it will ever be able to resolve.
The problem that the Snyder Cut presented to Warner Bros. back in 2017 was the fact that the studio had made the decision to discard Snyder’s plans, and the movie they had on their hands simply planted the seeds for more. Snyder says the studio remains disinterested in a theoretical follow-up, while the fact that its release is coming so belatedly just highlights what the Snyder Cut itself really is. Though many expect the film to act as a concluding chapter to Snyder’s story, there are other indications that it will set up more sequels.
What the Snyder Cut will ultimately do is lay the groundwork for the possibility of its story being continued. This is also in addition to the fact that virtually no other immediately upcoming DC movie is generating the kind of buzz and anticipation that the Snyder Cut currently is. The fact that it seemingly won’t just wrap up Snyder’s arc and call it a day highlights the Pandora’s Box that Snyder’s film ultimately is.
The Snyder Cut now brings with it a very big question mark as to what happens after March 18th. Many view Zack Snyder’s Justice League as the final act of his story, but for a movie that lays as much on the table as it’s going to, there will surely be calls from some for the story to be continued. But, will those voices be enough to convince WarnerMedia to fund additional movies to bring the story to a close? That very same demand for more is what Warner Bros. was hoping to avoid the first time around, which is why those elements were cut and the release of the movie was suppressed for so long. In the words of Lex Luthor himself, a bell cannot be unrung.