Justice League, a film which is being investigated by Warner Bros. and DC’s parent company three years after it was released, has been a hot topic in the movie world for years, thanks to a particularly loud group of fans who mounted a campaign to see director Zack Snyder‘s original version of the movie. Their efforts paid off: this summer, HBO Max announced that it will be spending considerably more than $30 million for Snyder to deliver a “radical rethinking” of the movie to the streaming service next year.
Today, Snyder took the virtual stage at DC FanDome for a panel devoted to his upcoming iteration where he released a new trailer, thanked fans for their enthusiasm, had a bizarre Q&A session where he asked fans questions, and revealed that his vision is going to be split into four hours on HBO Max. Here are the highlights from the panel.
The whole thing kicked off with a little burst of behind-the-scenes footage of Snyder and his actors on the set from way back in 2016, but things got weird almost immediately when, instead of acknowledging that people like Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, and Henry Cavill had sent over pre-recorded messages of them reading fan questions aloud, Snyder inexplicably tried to make it seem as if he was having a live conversation with them in the moment.
Affleck asked who his favorite superhero is. Answer: Watchmen‘s Dr. Manhattan, because “he’s a super cool quantum superhero who, time, space, reality, all those things are at his fingertips.”
Cavill asked what dynamic between the Justice League characters is important to preserve in his movie. “I think the important thing for me is that as the Justice League comes together, basically they’re loners, right?” Snyder said. “You have Batman, his only buddy is Alfred, really. You’ve got Wonder Woman, who after Steve [Trevor]’s demise, she’s kind of keeping quiet. You have Flash, who’s got these powers but is kind of alone in the world. You have Cyborg, who in a lot of ways is not really happy about what’s happened to him – this transformation, he’s coming to terms with it. And then you have Aquaman, who also is this loner. Thematically, them coming together, forming a family and finding in each other support, I think that’s really what, in the end, drove me to want to see this happen or see them come together…it’s a fun and awesome dynamic, but there’s a ‘why’ of doing it.”
Ray Fisher asked which character Snyder is most excited to fully flesh out in his cut of the movie. “Of course it’s Cyborg,” Snyder replied. “Cyborg is the heart of the movie. Cyborg is the thing that in the end, holds the team together in a lot of ways. I’m excited for fans to see just how that is realized on camera.” (Me too, because calling Cyborg the “heart of the movie” is a far cry from “barely a character,” which is how I’d refer to him in the theatrical version.)
Next, Snyder talked about how he and writer Chris Terrio viewed this story through the Joseph Cambell-ian lens of a classic hero’s journey structure. “The notion that we would be creating a team and say they’re the knights of the round table joining together for an epic adventure, and this is the call to action film that brings them, as a story, that brings them all together.” That certainly makes it sound like he had much larger plans for this cast and these characters in future movies, but it remains to be seen if he’ll ever be able to get them all back together for more. (I guess anything can happen, as the very existence of this Snyder Cut proves.)
Ezra Miller wondered if we’d be seeing more Flash in this cut, and Snyder responded that we would be seeing “tons more” of that character. “I have a huge love for The Flash…I think people are going to see a lot more of the Flash and going to get to see more of his emotional arc.”
Patty Jenkins sent in a video asking if Snyder could reveal something he’s never said about the movie before, and this was the morsel he teased: “You’re going to see something with Flash in this film I don’t think that you’ve ever been seen before. Something that has to do with his abilities. Because, you know, he’s a quantum character. He interacts with time and space, so you might see him do something that is timely.”
After a lengthy (and occasionally uncomfortable-to-watch) conversation with a couple of fans who fawned all over him and his artistic vision, Snyder finally got to the real meat of the panel in its closing minutes. According to him, the movie is “going to be in four parts, one hour each. So four hours of Justice League is coming your way. We’re going to work on a way of bundling it together at the end, so you can watch it as a single film if that’s the way you want to experience it.”
Additionally, Snyder talked about how the movie might be available beyond the confines of HBO Max. “To my international fans and everyone watching all over the world, don’t worry if you don’t have HBO Max because we’re working on a distribution plan, so I promise you that you’re going to get a chance to see it.” It’s unclear if it will only be available elsewhere in markets that don’t have HBO Max access, and we’re unsure of what the timing might be on that international release – the details of the HBO Max contract may have a period of exclusivity built in. I’m sure we’ll hear more about that as the release gets closer.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is set to debut on HBO Max sometime in 2021.
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August 22, 2020