Whether a Zack Snyder director's cut of Justice League exists has been a point of contention since the theatrical version of the film debuted in November 2017. Poorly received by critics and a flop at the box office, Justice League endured a troubled production that saw Joss Whedon brought in for rewrites before ultimately serving as director for the extensive reshoots the film underwent after Snyder stepped away.
Whedon reportedly reshot somewhere between 15-20%of the film in order to lighten the tone and shorten the runtime, the latter of which was mandated by Warner Bros.' then-CEO, Kevin Tsujihara. This represented a significant departure from previous films within the DC Extended Universe, most notably those directed by Snyder, which were considerably darker in tone and featured runtimes eclipsing 140 minutes.
Most critical of the theatrical cut of Justice League were die-hard Snyder fans, who felt they were robbed of the culmination of the director's vision for the DC Extended Universe launched by 2013's Man of Steel. In the days following the release of the ensemble film, a petition demanding the release of the Snyder Cut was launched and went on to be signed by nearly 180,000 people. The petition was based on the premise that the disappointing critical response to the film and its poor showing at the box office should be attributed to Whedon's directing, largely pointing to his use of humor, as well as Wthe decision to cut the runtime down to two hours.
Die-hard Snyder fans have been vocal in their demand for the Snyder Cut to be released by Warner Bros. despite denials that it even exists from the film studio. Some close to Snyder, including DC storyboard artist Jay Oliva, countered the denials claiming that Snyder had shot all the planned scenes for his version of the film and had assembled a rough, unpolished cut of the film prior to stepping away, which has likely aided in the continued demand for the Snyder Cut over 16 months after the film's release.
Zack Snyder has remained relatively quiet on the existence of the Snyder Cut, leaking some details from his vision for the film and thanking fans for their support, but never confirming the existence of a finished cut of the film. That, however, has seemingly changed following a Director's Cut Event he hosted in California over the weekend, which involved screenings of three of his previous director's cuts and panels featuring special guests from the casts and crews of the movies showcased.
An attendee of the event posted a photo of him shaking Snyder's hand, accompanied by the claim that he asked the director face to face about the Snyder Cut, which Snyder then confirmed to exist. "Even though I wasn't able to ask my question during the Q&A I did get the chance to ask Zack face to face about the Snyder cut," the attendee wrote. "He said 'the movie is done, it exists' but basically it is up to WB. He is not aware that WB has any plans to release. Bittersweet #ReleaseTheSnyderCut."
The user later posted a video of the director confirming that the Snyder Cut is a real thing to another attendee. The user also utilized his interaction with Snyder to urge fans to "ramp up the pressure" on Warner Bros. to release the Snyder cut.
There is a video floating around now where someone actually filmed him saying it is done. If this is not enough evidence that the Snyder Cut exists and IS DONE, then I can't help you. Major credit to @Woke_master for capturing this on video. #ReleaseTheSnyderCut pic.twitter.com/CY9xOmfSkx— Carlos Pro (@CarlosdaPro) March 26, 2019
However, another fan who attended the event, tweeted that Snyder revealed there are a number of different cuts, and that he would need to finish the film before it could be released, if ever. "Zack told me that he doesn’t know because [WB] owns the movie," the user wrote. "And there is actually 10 different cuts. And that he would have to finish it."
So it seems that a Snyder Cut (or several) may actually exist, or, rather, it could exist if Snyder was given the opportunity to finish it by Warner Bros. This isn't a likely development, of course, given the studio has already demonstrated they have little to no interest in releasing a Snyder Cut, or any further alternate versions of Justice League for that matter. And why would it?
The studio reportedly lost $60 million on Justice League's theatrical release, and releasing a Snyder Cut now doesn't make any sense. It would be a move that's counterproductive to the current upward trend that the DCEU is currently on. The studio had its first billion dollar film last year in James Wan's Aquaman, and David F. Sandberg's Shazam! has earned early acclaim from critics as the film is heading toward its opening weekend with reactions matching Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman with a DCEU high Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% of this writing. Both films have demonstrated a marked departure from the tonality of the early Snyder-led DCEU films, and have found or seem destined to find success in doing so.
With Justice League in its rear-view mirror, Warner Bros. is reportedly focusing more on self-contained films instead of an intricately plotted shared universe, and its easy to see why. The most successful films, both critically and commercially, within the DCEU have been standalone films, first with Wonder Woman and then Aquaman. Shazam! appears to be continuing that trend. There is, frankly, little incentive for the studio to look back when the future of its DC franchise is so much brighter than it ever has been.
Unfortunately for die-hard Snyder fans, this means the Snyder Cut will likely never more than a pipe dream -- whether it exists or not.