It’s…actually happening. Zack Snyder‘s mysterious, massively-hashtagged, fiercely debated cut of Justice League is coming to HBO Max in 2021. Warner Bros. is spending somewhere between $20-30 million to make it happen, and all the stuff you hoped would be in it is actually, for real, in it. (Darkseid lives!) Once you get past questioning this truly insane timeline we’ve found ourselves in, the actual key question is much simpler: Uh, how?
Apparently, it really did all start with the hashtag. A report from THR notes that rumbles first started after #ReleaseTheSnyderCut trended worldwide on Justice League‘s two-year anniversary, promoting a call to Snyder from WB chairman Toby Emmerich. “This is real. People out there want it. Would you guys ever consider doing something?” is what the filmmaker remembers Emmerich asking.
First, Snyder and his wife/producing partner Deborah Snyder had to explain to the bankrollers what that “something” could even be. In February of this year, the duo held a Snyder Cut Summit in Pasadena, assembling a crew of executives that included Emmerich, Warner Bros’ Carolyn Blackwood and Walter Hamada, HBO Max execs Kevin Reilly, Sarah Aubrey, and Sandra Dewey, and DC Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee. They screened the fabled black-and-white version of the Snyder Cut as it exists right now and discussed what it would cost to finish the film, as well as the possibility of breaking it up into separate chapters.
The timing of WarnerMedia launching a new streaming service was perfect for a place to put the Snyder Cut.
“With the new platform and streaming services, you can have something like this,’ Deborah Snyder said. “You can’t release something like this theatrically, but you could with a streaming service. It’s an opportunity that wasn’t there two years ago, to be honest.”
Now that everyone is on board and the announcements are made, the challenge now becomes assembling the cast for additional dialogue and a crew to finish VFX…during a worldwide pandemic that shut down most of Hollywood. According to Snyder, Ray Fisher—who portrays half-man, half-machine Cyborg in the film—was the first castmember to get the call. He responded with an understandable “You’re kidding me, right?”
“People thought, ‘It won’t be possible to ramp up, and that maybe this should go on the back burner,'” Deborah Snyder said regarding the shutdown. “But we said, ‘No, this is the right time’ because our visual effects houses that rely on so much are running out of work, so now is the time to be doing this.”
There is no schedule at this point, and Snyder is still deep into post on his Netflix zombie movie Army of the Dead, but it’s very, very clear that the filmmaker is relishing in a moment he’s been waiting for.
“This return to that pedigree and to let my singular vision of my movie be realized, in this format, in this length, is unprecedented and a brave move,” he said. For more on this…genuinely mind-boggling news, here are all the details from the initial announcement.