Earlier today, HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that they would officially release Zack Snyder's Justice League to the streaming platform in 2021. The move, which has social media melting down, is the end result of over two years of campaigning by fans and some industry professionals to release Zack Snyder's extended director's cut of Justice League, the 2017 film on which he was the credited director, but has repeatedly said he has not even seen in its completed form. Fanboy-for-life Kevin Smith, who has been a vocal supporter of a Snyder Cut and has said, even when it wasn't especially popular, that he believed it existed, congratulated the fans for making it a reality.
Smith, who in 2019 confirmed that a "Snyder Cut" existed and called on Warner Bros. to release it, recently doubled down on his comments. Acknowledging the film would be incomplete at this stage, he said that he would love to see it.
"So happy that Zack gets to complete his vision!" Smith told ComicBook.com. "Many thanks to the folks at HBO Max for making this happen, but the passion of fandom is the unsung hero here! Congrats to all the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut folks for never losing faith!"
At some point in 2017, Snyder reportedly screened an assembly cut of Justice League for Warner Bros. executives. Such cuts are extra-long, filled with temp music and effects, and essenitally just every shot that has been photographed up to that point, strung together to give the movie a narrative shape. Later reports have claimed that this screening was not well received, although at the time the consensus was that the movie was a step in the right direction. You see, while Man of Steel and Batman v Superman had nominally made a ton of money, neither one quite made what Warner Bros. had hoped -- and critics were brutal with them, particularly Batman v Superman.
On March 12, 2017, Zack Snyder's 20-year-old daughter Autumn died by suicide. After a brief period of throwing himself into the work in the hopes of completing the movie and distracting himself from grief, Snyder and Warner Bros. decided that the filmmaker would step away from Justice League, with Warner selecting Marvel's The Avengers director Joss Whedon -- said to be an old friend of Snyder's -- to complete the movie. The narrative around the project was that it was going to continue to be Snyder's movie, and that Whedon was essentially just helping a friend through a difficult time.
The movie, though, came in with a much shorter runtime than Snyder's previous DC films, in spite of having to balance so many characters. Rumors immediately started that, in addition to reshoots to fill in missing gaps and improve select takes, Whedon had worked with the studio to alter the tone and plot of the movie, as well as shortening it significantly and removing elements that Snyder had planned but not shot.