The moment that Justice League was released in theaters in 2017, people were talking about how the movie felt like something stitched together in post-production. Director Zack Snyder had to walk away in the middle of production due to an absolute tragedy in his family, and Warner Bros. brought on Joss Whedon to finish the movie. In just comparing the trailer footage to the final theatrical release, it quite apparent that Whedon changed a lot with his reshoots and in post-production. Before the final weekend of the movie was even over, the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement sprung up. For the next two and a half years, fans of Snyder petitioned Warner Bros. to release a what they thought was mostly complete or complete cut of Snyder's version of the movie. It wasn't until May of this year that Snyder announced that HBO Max would be giving him the platform to share his cut of Justice League, and so Zack Snyder's Justice League was born.
#SnyderCut and Hashtag #Fandom
Those two and a half years were met with many ups and downs. While there were plenty of good people in the fandom that did lots of good things, including raising thousands of dollars for mental health charities in the name of Snyder's daughter, who tragically took her own life. But there were a lot of bag eggs in there too, that the fandom as a whole has yet to come to terms with. With the release of Zack Snyder's Justice League imminent, those who were harassed by the fandom's bad side have wondered what might come next.
A few days ago, The New York Times released a long piece on DC President of Films Walter Hamada. In the piece, we learned that Zack Snyder's Justice League's budget had jumped from $30 million to $70 million, which is only $10 million less than Birds of Prey, which came out earlier this year. It was also in that piece that it was revealed that executives thought of Snyder's cut "as a storytelling cul-de-sac — a street that leads nowhere" and that he wouldn't be involved with future DC projects. It didn't take long for a new hashtag to form on Twitter, and this one was #RestoreTheSnyderVerse, or they wanted DC and Warner Bros. to bring back Snyder's original vision for the entire DC universe.
Crisis on Infinite Verses
Without a doubt, this is the wrong move, and I'm inclined to believe that Snyder would agree with me because he all but said that his version of the universe wouldn't ever work. The SnyderVerse that people are talking about is the original plan for the DC Extended Universe, and it was, for lack of a better of putting it, a very blatant attempt to copy the Marvel model at two times the speed. In a recent interview, Snyder said that his version of the DC universe wasn't ever going to fit into that model, and by asking for a "SnyderVerse," you are asking for DC and Warner Bros. to bring that blatant copy of the Marvel universe that wasn't working.
Not only is it asking DC and Warner Bros. to bring back something that wasn't working, but it's also asking them to be less interesting and less original by doing so. It was never a good idea for DC and Warner Bros. to try and copy the Marvel model at two times the speed. It wasn't working and that's why they are staging a soft reboot with the upcoming The Flash movie. They needed to do their own thing, and it looked like they were on their way to do that. With the release of Joker and the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover on the CW earlier this year, Warner Bros. and DC have confirmed the multiverse. This opens up so many more interesting opportunities for storytelling. It means that there can be multiple versions of Batman running around, which is what they are already planning on doing. They don't have to get bogged down with following continuity; they can just let their creatives make the movies they want to make and wave away the details as an alternate Earth.
This is the best possible way for the DC Extended Universe to really set itself apart from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What the New York Times piece was saying that, at the moment, no one is exploring that corner of the DC universe right now. However, by embracing this new model of storytelling, if someone came to them and wanted to explore it, they could. It doesn't mean there won't be any more stories in Zack Snyder's Justice League's corner of the universe; it means that there isn't one right now. By asking DC and Warner Bros. to bring back the SnyderVerse, it means that Zack's corner of the universe is the only one creators can explore. It's going to lead to less risk-taking movies like Joker [I didn't like it, but I appreciate what it was trying to do] or a noir and violent Batman.
Zack Snyder is being given an opportunity that very few directors are given; a massive budget and the time to end his story on his own terms. Richard Donner, someone who more than anyone knows all about your movie being taken away from you and re-edited until you don't recognize it, said that it's "wonderful" that Snyder is getting this opportunity, and it is. However, asking for the SnyderVerse to come back is asking for more doors to close than to open. Snyder is ending on his own terms, and for all, we know Zack Snyder's Justice League could have its own definitive ending, and there isn't any reason to add more that corner of the universe. We'll see in 2021, but #RestoreTheSnyderVerse is asking for the DC Extended Universe to turn into a bad copy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and no one wants that.