One of the biggest differences between the theatrical cut of Justice League and Zack Snyder's Justice League was a pivotal scene near the conclusion when the team is actually bested by Steppenwolf and Ezra Miller's The Flash actually goes back in time to save them. This specific moment was apparently one of the scenes that Warner Bros. didn't quite understand, which we could have guessed based on how no part of it was put into the 2017 version. Speaking in a new interview though, VFX Supervisor John "DJ" Des Jardin confirmed outright that the studio didn't get it and wanted it out.
"It’s funny, because that was always in the story," Jardin said in a talk with Beyond the Trailer (H/T The Direct). "We shot that way back in 2016. It was something that, I don’t know what it was, the mood of the studio at the time, they just didn’t get it, to be honest. They were just like ‘I don’t understand this,’ and maybe it was the previous nature of it or the post-vis nature or whatever, but it was one of the first things they threw out after they pulled Zack off the movie, sadly.
He continued, "I’m really, really happy with the work that Bryan (Hirota, Visual Effects Supervisor) did on it because Bryan hadn’t had a chance to touch that scene before, so this was all brand-new to him. I had lived with it for years, and the spec for it never changed. And I had some early post-vis versions of it that I could show him. I really loved the breath and depth and scope that he gave those big ideas that are in that imagery."
Snyder himself opened up about this dispute with the studio, telling Yahoo: “It was always a bone of contention with the studio. They didn’t want him running back through time."
Ironically Warner Bros. is adapting a version of the Flashpoint storyline for the upcoming The Flash solo movie with Miller's character, a plot that literally involves time travel.
The creation of The Flash's big moment wasn't the only scene in Zack Snyder's extended cut that needed to be created from the ground up as part of its release. Weta Digital's Anders Langlands previously revealed to ComicBook.com that the film's chief villain, Steppenwolf, was made completely anew for this film and shared no assets with the 2017 movie.13comments
He's built from scratch. He doesn't share anything with the 2017 one," Langlands told us. "It's interesting because the new one is actually the old one....Because this Steppenwolf was the original design for Steppenwolf before he was changed in 2017. As Kevin [Andrew Smith] points out, you see a glimpse of Zack's design for Steppenwolf at the end of Batman v. Superman, in a Kryptonian form, o it was really just taking a design that was there and then just building him fresh. So yeah, really has nothing to do with the 2017 version. He's his own character."
You can see Zack Snyder's Justice League -- in color, or in the black-and-white "Justice is Gray" edition -- on HBO Max.