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The Real Reason Fans Want The "Snyder Cut" of JUSTICE LEAGUE

Justice League (2017) - Clark Kent / Superman (Henry Cavill), Victor Stone / Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Diana Prince / Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)
Find out the real reason people have been petitioning for the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League.

One day the director of a Superman film was fired from a movie. The director had already started filming the movie and shot a large portion of it. He was replaced with another director, someone he'd worked with before. That director and the studio made sweeping changes to the movie changing the director's tone and adding humor. They brought the cast back for costly reshoots and released it into theaters.

But fans were outraged and demanded to see the film with the original director's vision. They spent years petitioning the studio. Several actors in the movie were outspoken in their support of the original director and supported the director's cut of the film. That movie was Superman II.

You might be thinking I was talking about Zack Snyder's Justice League, but I'm not. The movie I'm talking about is the 1980 film Superman II. The director is Richard Donner. Starting in 1977 Donner had filmed Superman and Superman II back-to-back. But he was fired before he could complete production on the sequel. Richard Lester took over and, despite 70% of the film being shot set out to change the script and reshoot key scenes to add more slapstick humor.

All of this sounds like ancient Hollywood history but there's a lesson behind that story. This week saw a lot of movement on the campaign for the so-called "Snyder Cut" of the blockbuster failure Justice League. Several key actors in the film like Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Ben Affleck (Batman) have come out in support of the director's cut of the movie. Like Donner, Snyder was hired to work on the film and shot a large portion of it, some estimates say 90% of the film was completed post-production. But, like Donner, he was fired before he could finish it.

The studio said he left for personal reasons but later reporting confirmed the studio didn't like his take on the film. Joss Whedon was hired to reshoot parts of the film. He reportedly reshot or shot large portions of the film to add humor and make it "lighter". The result, no matter how close it is to Snyder's vision, is a failure. So why keep fighting for the director's cut?

Zack Snyder is not a seasoned director. He started out shooting commercials and music videos in the 1990s for bands like "Soul Asylum". He attended the Art Center College of Design with a BA (Hons) in Film Studies. His feature film debut was Dawn of the Dead in 2004 followed by 300 two years later.

By the time he'd been hired for Man of Steel in 2013he'd been a feature film director less than a decade. After that, he worked exclusively as a director for Warner Bros. on the DC films. His Hollywood resume is light and, while the movies brought in impressive box office numbers, they became increasingly less profitable.

Man of Steel cost $225–258 million and made an estimated $668 million. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice cost an estimated $250–300 million and made about $873.6 million. Estimates of the costs for Justice League are around $300 million not including marketing and made $657.9 million. It's one of the most expensive films ever made. Reports suggest the studio lost between $50 to $100M in a year that already had expensive flops like sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers.

Before Justice League Zack Snyder was a true celebrity and featured on the cover of major magazines and interviews. Since 2017 he's faded into a footnote of movie history. Not even fans seem to believe he's going to come back without some kind of redemption of Justice League.

Because fans believe if the "Snyder Cut" is released it will prove critics and audiences wrong. They think the director's cut of the movie will prove that Justice League was a brilliant film ruined by the studio's meddling. They think it can put Snyder back on the throne. His co-stars and celebrity friends want that too. They dream that he'll find redemption and be given more blockbusters to shoot.

But why keep focusing on the past? Why not start a petition for him to do a new superhero movie? There are literally hundreds of comic book characters to do. He got his start working on 300 which is another comic book property.  Why not find another graphic novel to adapt? Why keep focusing on his biggest failure?

Fans say it's because they love and support Zack Snyder. But that's not true. If it were true they'd be supporting his new work. Why is no one talking about his upcoming Netflix horror movie  Army of the Dead due to be released in the winter of 2020? Why does #SnyderCut get 40k likes but #ArmyOfTheDead barely gets a retweet? Is a director's cut really the only way to save a director?

Every Hollywood director has a flop. Even Steven Spielberg had a flop a few years ago with live-action book adaptation The BFG. The late, great Stanley Kubrick has 1975's Barry Lyndon. David Lynch's Dune was considered a box office failure in 1984. None of them demanded a director's cut to be released. Fans just waited for their next movie. But the "Snyder Cut" is different because it's his last film. Unlike Spielberg or Kubrick he might not get another chance.

Will the studio pay the estimated $30-40 million to finish the film? I don't know. No one knows. But fan pressure did get Donner's director's cut of Superman II released in 2004. It took over 20 years but fans eventually got a version of Donner's film made that matched his original vision.

But the results are mixed. In Jake Rossen's book Superman vs Hollywood, he wrote, "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is neither a better nor a worse film than its first incarnation... But incorporating the unpolished audition footage is jarring; ultimately, the edit is simply a curiosity".

I own a copy of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. It's interesting but not worth watching. The inserted clips are confusing. The special effects are jarring. Overall it's not worth it.

Fans shouldn't want this to happen to Snyder's penultimate work. They shouldn't want people saying that the "Snyder Cut" is a curiosity.

If you're a fan of Zack Snyder than help him move forward in his career. Even if the "Snyder Cut" is released history shows it's not going to change much. Instead, reach out and support his current work. Support his upcoming movie Army of the Dead. Encourage him to develop a new comic book movie and create a whole new world for him to play in. The "Snyder Cut" isn't Zack Snyder's future. Snyder's future is what he makes of it.

About the Author
Maurice Mitchell has been a passionate science-fiction fan of movies, television, books, and comics since age five. He and his twin brother Nigel created the site "The Geek Twins" to share that passion. Maurice has written and created infographics for sites like The Geek Twins and About.com. His work has been featured on sites like Business Insider, io9 Slashfilm and more.
Read more of his posts | Follow him on Twitter @Mauricem1972 

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