Justice League

It exists! And it's being released.

The fabled "Snyder Cut" of Justice League is going to be released by HBO Max.

HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures announced Wednesday that it will exclusively world premiere Zack Snyder's director's cut of the DC film in 2021.

"I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized," Synder said. "Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality."

Snyder surprised fans with the news this morning during an online commentary of his film Man of Steel with Henry Cavill. Fans have been rallying to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut since 2017.

Justice League
Credit: Clay Enos/Warner Bros.

"Since I got here 14 months ago, the chant to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut has been a daily drumbeat in our offices and inboxes," said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, Warner Media Entertainment. "Well, the fans have asked, and we are thrilled to finally deliver. At the end of the day, it really is all about them and we are beyond excited to be able to release Zack's ultimate vision for this film in 2021."

"Thanks to the efforts of a lot of people, we're excited to bring fans this highly anticipated version of Justice League," said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. "This feels like the right time to share Zack's story, and HBO Max is the perfect platform for it. We're glad the creative planets aligned, allowing us to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut."

As you know, Snyder helmed 2013's Man of Steel and 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before setting his sights on the climactic Justice League, an ambitious title bringing together six DC heroes and potentially launching a new string of films à la Marvel's The Avengers.

Six months before the film's release, Snyder stepped down from the film after suffering a personal family tragedy. Warner Bros. hired Joss Whedon (The Avengers) for extensive rewriting and reshoots that significantly altered the film, along with swapping Junkie XL's soundtrack for a new one by Danny Elfman.

When Justice League was released, critics were scathing (a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). The box office was disappointing given the genre's high standards ($657 million). And Warner Bros. dramatically shifted its future plans (Ben Affleck was replaced as Batman by Robert Pattinson; a Flash movie announced for 2018 was delayed; a Cyborg movie scheduled for 2020 and then shelved).

Soon began a drumbeat of fans online wanting to see "The Snyder Cut." Snyder himself released images from deleted scenes (like Aquaman stabbing Steppenwolf, below) that have added fuel to the movement, as did conflicting yet supportive comments made by cast and crew about the Cut's existence. Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) have all urged releasing the Cut on social media.

By and by, EW predicted the Cut would be released back in December, writing: "It seems extremely likely something resembling a Snyder Cut will be seen eventually — at minimum, a home video version of Justice League containing a bevy of the director's previously unseen deleted scenes. That's because Hollywood history has many instances of studios re-releasing sci-fi and fantasy titles on home video with alternate edits for enthusiasts and collectors — even if the original film was considered a disappointment (such as The Abyss and Alien 3). And seldom has there been so much interest in an alternate edit of a film than there is for Justice League. In other words, fandom obsession with The Snyder Cut means there is a market for the edit and therefore sooner or later WB will get around to tapping that revenue stream because it would be silly to leave that money on the table forever. So perhaps the real questions are: How long will fans have to wait?"

Of course, there is one question that remains: Will the Snyder Cut truly improve Justice League, or will it simply confirm the studio made the right call in the first place and what we witnessed in theaters is actually the better version?

Waiting years to see an edit of a film that's even more disappointing… that would be the unkindest cut of all.

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