Years after Richard Donner's Superman II became one of the most high-profile examples of studio meddling in a film's production, the character of Superman was once again at the center of a similar controversy when "Mustachegate" shaped much of the audience response to Justice League. Now, ahead of the start of production on a new Lethal Weapon movie, Donner says he's glad to see Justice League director Zack Snyder getting a chance to clean up the mess created when he left the film and was replaced by Joss Whedon, a filmmaker with a style diametrically opposed to Snyder's own, which left the final product feeling bipolar.
Given the backstory of Superman II: The Donner Cut, which got a DVD release in 2006, The Telegraph asked Donner to weigh in on Snyder's dilemma. Donner, now 90 and the elder statesman of superhero cinema, isn't familiar with the specifics of the situation, but on principle supports the Snyder Cut.
Donner says in a new interview that it's "wonderful" that Snyder will have the opportunity to see his vision for Justice League through.
In the same interview, Donner is skeptical of "dark" superheroes -- a criticism that has often been leveled at Snyder's own films. Of course, he also did an interview with Christopher Nolan, the godfather of the modern "dark" superhero movie, on the Blu-ray release of The Dark Knight Trilogy, so it seems Donner largely views these things one movie, and one director's vision, at a time.
Snyder also serves as a producer on the Wonder Woman movies, the second of which, released on Friday, was pretty clearly influenced by Donner's own Superman: The Movie.
Snyder stepped away from Justice League following the death of his daughter during production. His assembly cut of the movie ran about twice the length of the film that eventually hit theaters, and many of the sequences seen during the movie's initial promotional run never made their way into the film released in theaters. Between the removal of Whedon's reshoots and the re-establishment of Snyder's material, the shift will represent one of the most significant changes between a theatrical and director's cut in any major, commercially-released movie of all time.
Zack Snyder's Justice League is set to debut on HBO Max in March of next year. Donner's Lethal Weapon finale is set to go into prodcution in 2021. Wonder Woman 1984 is currently in theaters and on HBO Max now.