With the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League slated for release on HBO Max next year, I must confess that I find myself at a loss. In these uncertain times, it’s difficult to know which #ReleaseTheXCut will fill the non-sequitur Twitter post void in my heart.
It was comforting to know that when scrolling through my feed and reading something that was most definitely not related to the Snyder Cut —or even the DCEU, for that matter, that several posts would invariably request, nay, DEMAND the release of the fabled Snyder Cut of Justice League. Now that Warner Bros. has acquiesced to the calls for Justice, where will fandoms turn?
Fortunately, there are a few contenders standing by and ready to take up the mantle. Let’s take a look at the best (do not read “most promising”) of the bunch:
Suicide Squad #ReleaseTheAyerCut
While the fandom for this movie is comparatively anemic, it’s gaining steam in the wake of the Snyder effect. Suicide Squad was the first of the DCEU films to have been manhandled by comic book writer, producer and sometimes fall guy for Zack Snyder’s vision of the DCEU, Geoff Johns.
According to reports by several sites, the award-winning comic writer was frozen out of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman productions by their respective directors. Ayer, not having the same cache, reportedly had his flick savaged by Johns, who was primarily reacting to the poor reception of BvS.
For years, we’ve been hearing from Jared Leto that the amount of Joker footage left on the cutting room floor was enough to constitute its own movie. The famed method actor never broke character throughout production and Ayer has previously called his work “magnificent.”
For sure character creation is a tightrope. I took inspiration from the current DC comics. I find it incredible it’s still such a topic 5 years later. My heart breaks for Jared – he did magnificent work. Most of it remains unseen. https://t.co/IRj7vB1ZjG
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) May 5, 2020
Johns’s most significant contributions to this film seem to have been reworking the third act. Ironically, that act was probably the worst part of the film. Ayer has said in recent years that Joker was supposed to make a deal with Enchantress and it would have been Harley who finally stood up to her puddin’ in defense of her friends. I don’t know how good it would have been, but it can’t be worse than what we got.
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest hater of this portrayal of the Joker. I thought the performance was solid and the only thing that irked me about the design was the “damaged” tattoo. I’d certainly be down to see a version that has him go up against the fully formed Suicide Squad. It also would have the side effect of making Birds of Prey more cathartic. In essence, it would have been part of their character arcs. Given the success of Phoenix’s Joker and James Gunn’s disdain for Leto, I won’t be holding my breath for him to reprise that role any time soon.
He starts at 18 on the Internet?
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) May 16, 2018
Revenge of the Sith/The Rise of Skywalker #ReleaseTheJJCut
The idea that there is a 4-hour cut of Revenge of the Sith being hidden somewhere in the Disney Vault already seems a bit silly. Believing that the House of Mouse would ever release such a thing borders on slow-witted. But in a world where we think bleach cures viruses and the Earth is flat, of course there’s a petition out there with over 10k signatures. This petition calls for George Lucas to “do the right thing,” and release it because it’s “rightfully” theirs. Oy vey.
I only bring this version up to say this: HAVE YOU SEEN THE END OF THE CLONE WARS?! HOLY FORKING SHIRT! The last four episodes tell the Siege of Mandalore. It also weaves nicely in and out of scenes from Revenge of the Sith. As goofy an experience as it might be, I could be compelled to sit through a cut of that film that integrates the cartoon. It’ll NEVER happen, but I’d totally watch it if it did.
This brings us to another equally unlikely release from the Walt Disney Company: The JJ Cut. At this point, it’s no secret that Abrams was unhappy with what became the final cut of The Rise of Skywalker.
Sir Remix-a-Lot has lamented the crunch he was under to get the film delivered on time to meet the December release date. As a result, during an interview with The Playlist, Abrams’s long time editing collaborator, Maryann Brandon, called the editing sessions “intense.” Kathleen Kennedy reportedly demanded Abrams “Spend more time in the cutting room.”
In speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Greg Grunberg, longtime friend of Abrams and frequent acting collaborator stated that he doesn’t believe the longer cut exists.
“I’m being completely honest here, but not once did he ever tell me that there was any pressure on him to cut things out. Personally, I don’t think there’s any truth to that, and I would be surprised if there’s a ‘J.J. cut.’ Every movie goes through a series of cuts; it’s just the nature of it. I don’t buy into it at all.”
Fans are, in all likelihood, barking up the wrong tree, but with The Rise of Skywalker sitting as the lowest-grossing film in the sequel trilogy and the worst-rated, you can’t help but admire their pluck. I mean, you could, but that wouldn’t stop them from wishing for an alternative version to one of the worst films in the franchise.
If you ever saw a trailer for the 2015 reboot of the Fantastic Four, I’d be shocked if you weren’t confused by the amount of trailer material that wasn’t in the final film. Director Josh Trank is still credited as being the director of the film, but it is undisputed that he left while principal photography was still occurring.
— Josh Trank (@joshuatrank) May 20, 2020
The amount of forkery that allegedly went on while the film was in production borders on Disaster Artist levels of “make this into a movie.” Before the flick was pulled from his control, it was alleged that Trank came to set drunk and high. In addition, he was reportedly verbally abusing Kate Mara to the point of tears. He also had a falling out with Miles Teller. Trank has subsequently denied all of this.
Once he left the project, Fox brought in an editor to cut the film and had, then X-Men franchise producer, Simon Kinberg, oversee the edits. Once the film began to hit screens and critics ravaged the movie, Trank threw the studio under the bus in a now-infamous and deleted meme-worthy tweet:
“A year ago I had a fantastic version of this and it would’ve recieved [sic] great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though.”
We know from the trailers that a battle with Ben Grimm was cut. Additionally, much about, Toby Kebel’s Doom was altered, from initially being a blogger with a different name. Fox also cut the budget by tens of millions of dollars and always planned to shoot the finale in reshoots. It was also reported that Trank began to lose interest in the film once the team got powers and had to fight Dr. Doom. All that to say, the Trank version of this film was much different than what Fox put out and given that Disney owns this property, you’ll likely see our sun supernova before seeing the Trank cut of Fant4stic.
Is The Snyder Cut Really A Harbinger Of What’s To Come?
Of the movies mentioned, Suicide Squad has the most realistic shot at seeing daylight. Not being owned by Disney is a big help in that area. The industry has reached an inflection point where exclusive content has become the currency of the land. With that in mind, all eyes will be on Warner Bros’s investment in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Reportedly costing upwards of $20 mil, if ZS:JL brings in subscribers, it might mean more projects like it. Why wouldn’t studios reheat properties for their streaming platforms, in addition to rebooting them? With fans reportedly destroying Justice League blu-rays in celebration of the Snyder Cut, what corporation wouldn’t leap at the chance to sell them the same-ish thing again?
At the end of the day, that’s the biggest downside. The most toxic elements of this fandom will see this as a win and a validation of their tactics. For Warner Bros., this is a business decision. It gives them an opportunity to drive up the numbers of their HBO Max user base. And the price? It costs them less than two Season 8 episodes of Game of Thrones. We’ll find out which is a bigger disappointment next year.
The ebb and flow between the corporate interest of making money and fans getting content that reflects their values is eternal. The advent of social media has only brought “mail-in campaigns” to the forefront. Sonic the Hedgehog is getting a sequel, thanks to fans and Spider-Man is returning to the MCU. I’m always a fan of getting more and better content, but not necessarily how we got here. The degree to which fans express ownership over a property is probably the biggest danger. While “fan” might be derived from “fanatic,” it’s becoming apparent what the real difference between the two is. It’s a sense of entitlement.
For me, I’m going to keep holding out hope for the Schneider Cut. It’s the one where they replace lead actors with Rob Schneider. First up is Mission Impossible. Come on, Paramount, you can do it.
Let us know your thoughts on life after the Snyder Cut down below! Also, if you’re interested in hearing this topic discussed more broadly, keep an eye out. We’ll be dissecting it on Breaking Geek Radio the Podcast. Look for it Monday, 1 June, wherever you listen to podcasts.
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