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By Derek Lawrence
March 30, 2021 at 10:32 AM EDT
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No one could have ever imagined that Zack Snyder's Justice League would actually happen —not even Snyder himself. But after the director's early exit from the original Justice League production due to a family tragedy, controversial reshoots by Joss Whedon, a thud of an opening, and years of #ReleasetheSnyderCut, the impossible became both a reality and a success for Snyder, Warner Bros., and HBO Max. So could this phenomenon became a trend? Suicide Squad director David Ayer would like to hope so.

"I think the studios see now that there can be canon, there can be non-canon, the fans just want to touch it," Ayer tells EW. "They love the characters, they just want to spend more time with it. And people are way more sophisticated about how movies are made and want to be participants in the journey. There's room for different things, different versions, different assets being shared with the audience. I think it just helps strengthen the community. But absolute credit to Warner Bros. for supporting Zack and having the courage to explore that."

With the new extended Justice League finally out, DC fans have quickly pivoted to a new hashtag: #ReleasetheAyerCut. Premiering in 2016, a year before Justice League, Suicide Squad, which starred Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto, made over $700 million worldwide, but was eviscerated by critics. In the aftermath, Ayer has admitted the film's flaws and that he'd do some things differently, including making Leto's Joker the primary villain. "I know it's a controversial film, I really tried to make something different, with a look and feel of its own," he wrote to a fan on Twitter. "Nothing hurts more than to pick up a newspaper and see a couple years of your blood, sweat, and tears ripped to shreds. The hate game is strong out there."

Suicide Squad
Credit: Everett Collection

Ironically, it was the lukewarm reception to Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and its dark, somber tone that seemed to lead to problems for Ayer on Suicide Squad. Through expensive reshoots, Warner Bros. sought a last-minute swerve into being a more light-hearted film.

"I get it, it's a business," says Ayer, known primarily for gritty, street dramas like Training Day, The Fast and the Furious, and End of Watch. "It's frustrating because I made a really heartfelt drama and it got ripped to pieces and they tried to turn it into Deadpool, which it just wasn't supposed to be. And then you take the hit, you're the captain of the ship, my name was on it. [Laughs] Even though it didn't represent what I actually made, I would take all the bullets and be a good soldier. I made an amazing movie. It's an amazing movie, it just scared the s--- out of the executives."

For their part, Warner Bros. has already moved on to a new Suicide Squad project, with the trailer dropping Friday for James Gunn's The Suicide Squad (The!!) and WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff recently telling Variety, "We won't be developing David Ayer's cut."

Ayer replied on social media to that declaration by simply asking, "Why?"

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