It’s been nearly a year since Justice League hit theaters, and fans continue to demand the release of a “Snyder Cut” of the film, which does not exist. The production of the DCEU movie was troubled to say the least, as director Zack Snyder and producers attempted to liven up the project when filming got underway mere weeks after Batman v Superman hit theaters and was savaged for being too dark, too gritty, and too much of a bummer. This production had been carefully scheduled, but it became clear the film would need more work after principal photography had wrapped. So Warner Bros. enlisted Joss Whedon—who at that time had signed on to write and direct a Batgirl movie—to write new script pages for some extensive reshoots that Snyder intended to direct.
Snyder ended up leaving the project before reshoots began, due to a personal tragedy but also, in part, due to Warner Bros.’ unhappiness with how Justice League was shaping up. Whedon ended up directing the reshoots, which didn’t make much difference—Justice League was a massive disappointment critically and commercially, and was outgrossed by Warner Bros.’ horror hit IT last fall.
And yet, fans continue to demand that Warner Bros. release the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League, which by most accounts doesn’t exist. Snyder had barely begun work on post-production before he left the project, so he didn’t even have time to assemble a workable cut of the movie he shot. Moreover, he already planned on doing reshoots, so the footage he assembled during principal photography was not the complete set of what he intended to release.
Regardless, fans don’t want to hear it, so the Wall Street Journal (via ScreenCrush) did some digging to find out if the Snyder Cut of Justice League exists. Spoiler alert: Probably not. The WSJ found no evidence that the Snyder Cut exists beyond maybe a simple rough cut of the movie that was put together in late 2016. Any director will tell you that a rough cut is far from a releasable cut of a film, and is instead a simple assemblage of unfinished footage that gives an idea of the potential shape of the movie. Months of editing and refining and reshoots ensue to result in a cut of the film that could be considered whole.
But curiously enough, when WSJ reached out to Snyder’s spokeswoman, she refused to discuss the existence of a director’s cut but did reveal this fascinating nugget: Snyder “never watched the version of Justice League released in theaters.” Yes indeed, Zack Snyder—the credited director of Justice League—has apparently never seen Justice League.
It’s kind of understandable. Snyder was basically fired and Whedon—under Warner Bros.’ explicit directions—reworked at least a third of the movie. At that point it ceased to be Snyder’s vision, but also wasn’t Whedon’s vision either. It’s this weird hodgepodge essentially dictated by the studio, which pleased pretty much no one.
So yeah, the Snyder Cut doesn’t exist, but also Snyder seems pretty much over and done with Justice League—a film he’s reportedly never seen. The filmmaker has settled on the Ayn Rand adaptation The Fountainhead as his next film, while Warner Bros.—with new executives in charge—forges ahead on a new direction for the DCEU. It’s weird to think a Justice League movie will probably end up being a footnote in Warner Bros.’ big screen DC Universe, but here we are.