Zack Snyder reveals Christopher Nolan told him he could "never see" the version of Justice League completed by Joss Whedon and released into theaters in 2017 — a version Snyder still has never watched. Years before he would return to restore Zack Snyder's Justice League, a four-hour and R-rated director's cut coming to HBO Max, the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice filmmaker stepped away from the superhero ensemble amid a family tragedy. Studio Warner Bros. brought on Avengers writer-director Whedon to finish post-production and perform reshoots on Justice League, making for a Frankenstein of a movie that one anonymous studio executive says "everyone" knew was a "piece of sh-t."
Nolan, an executive producer on Justice League and the director of the Dark Knight trilogy, screened the Whedon Cut with Snyder's wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder in late 2017.
"It was just… it's a weird experience," Deborah Snyder told Vanity Fair. "I don't know how many people have that experience. You've worked on something for a long time, and then you leave, and then you see what happened to it."
After sitting out the screening, the Snyder Cut filmmaker recalled, "They came and they just said, 'You can never see that movie.'" The reason, as his wife says: "Because I knew it would break his heart."
The Snyders have made it clear that Zack Snyder's Justice League is an entirely new experience with little resemblance to the pared-down and PG-13 Justice League that earned poor reviews and just $657 million at the global box office in 2017. Not only has Snyder not watched the Whedon Cut, but his never-before-seen director's cut of Justice League doesn't use a "single frame" of footage filmed by Whedon.
"I'd destroy the movie before I use a single frame that I didn't photograph," Snyder said during a Justice Con panel over the summer. "That is a f—ing hard fact. I'd blow the f—ing thing up."
Snyder has since confirmed he is working on the Justice League: Justice Is Gray Edition, a black-and-white version of his director's cut that Snyder once called the "ideal version of the movie."
"I think recently, people have come around to the fact that this is a totally different movie," Snyder recently told I Minutemen about Zack Snyder's Justice League, which will first release in color when it premieres on March 18. "It's a totally different experience, and it's going to require a totally different sort of marketing and everything approach. I think that now that that's landed on everyone, everyone is excited to make it happen. But it's cool."
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Ciarán Hinds, Ray Porter, Joe Manganiello, and Jared Leto, Zack Snyder's Justice League releases March 18 on HBO Max.