After several years of popular demand on social media, Zack Snyder’s Justice League has finally been released to the world via HBO Max (and other platforms outside of the United States). 2017’s Justice League was originally directed by Snyder before being taken over by Joss Whedon due to a family emergency for the former, and the “Snyder Cut” was viewed by over 1.8 million HBO Max accounts in its first four days, received mostly positive reviews (especially in comparison to the theatrical version of the film), and proved to be the talk of the internet this past weekend.
Fans Broken Dreams
However, fans hoping for a continuation of Snyder’s vision for future DCEU properties had their dreams dashed when Warner Bros. confirmed that the studio wouldn’t be moving forward with any sequels or spin-offs from this version of the film. Not only that, they also claimed that the “Ayer Cut” (the version of 2016’s Suicide Squad that director David Ayer wanted audiences to see) would not see the light of day.
Even though Warner Bros. had said this release was a one-off before the movie dropped, making such a definitive statement so soon after its release seems like the wrong move to make. What could have been the start of a whole new branch of DC content is being shut down for some reason. While it really does seem like the studio almost didn’t want people to watch the Snyder Cut (there was little to no marketing for it and it’s not being promoted as heavily on the streaming platform itself than a relatively high-profile release of its nature normally would) people have, and many of them like what they’re seeing.
Marvel vs. DC
It’s no secret that Warner Bros. has been struggling with the DC brand compared to how Disney is handling Marvel Studios. DC movies have seemed to go from a bad reputation to being more hit and miss in recent years; there have been critical successes like Shazam! and Birds of Prey and financial juggernauts like Aquaman and Joker, but not many in the last decade have managed to be both.
The success it does find tends to come when they’re doing something that Marvel can’t – or won’t – partake in, and they have a big opportunity to do just that very soon. While the rival studio is opening the door to a multiverse, DC is busting it down; the upcoming film The Flash is said to be adapting the famous Flashpoint comic story which will surely change the status quo of the main DCEU, and there are movies like Joker and next year’s The Batman which take place in different universes entirely. Even the DC Television Universe has been thrown into the multiverse mix.
Warner Bros. clear openness to exploring DC’s multiverse makes its firm stance on future Snyder-led projects all the more baffling. This is a side of the franchise that the creator is clearly interested in developing and fans are likely interested in seeing more of. Warner Bros. has green-lit sequels for projects that went over a lot worse than Zack Snyder’s Justice League, so immediately shutting down the idea of it continuing – even in a smaller form – seems very out of touch.
It’s likely the Snyder Cut came to be because Warner Bros. was looking for relatively easy content to release during the pandemic and wanted to stop the mob demanding it once and for all. The thing is, feeding a beast just makes it come back for more in the future, and now the internet has gone from #ReleaseTheSnyderCut to #ReleaseTheAyerCut and #RestoreTheSnyderVerse. Now that people know it’s possible for things like this to happen and were pleased with what they saw, they want more. That’s why Warner Bros. should at least consider capitalizing on this success.