DC fans embarked on a long journey to bring Zack Snyder’s Justice League into the world and it appears they aren’t stopping anytime soon, with the launch of a new campaign to continue the director’s cinematic universe.
If you’re active on social media, you may have seen the trending term #RestoreTheSnyderVerse crop up over the past week or so, which serves as a successor to the controversial #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement.
No longer content with Snyder’s untempered vision of the Justice League being realised, fans are now demanding that his take on DC’s pantheon of heroes be allowed to continue even further.
It would be easy to dismiss these ideas as pie in the sky, but there was also a time where the release of the Snyder Cut itself seemed unfathomable to some – and look where we are now.
Below, we have compiled the top demands from the campaign thus far and how likely they are to become a reality. Read on for everything you need to know about #RestoreTheSnyderVerse.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League sequel
Naturally, the top item on every Snyder fan’s bucket list is another Justice League movie to pick up where his epic re-edit left off. The director has recently said that his film was intended to set up two sequels which would delve into the threat of the Anti-Life Equation, but these plans have since been scrapped. This roadmap is reflected in The Snyder Cut’s somewhat open ending, which many fans would love to see followed up. But is it a feasible expectation?
Well, at present, it seems that the executives at Warner Bros are resistant to the idea of continuing with Zack Snyder’s version of the DC Extended Universe. Previously, they have billed his extensive Justice League re-edit as a swan song to his work on the franchise.
“I appreciate that [the fans] love Zack’s work and we are very thankful for his many contributions to DC,” said Ann Sarnoff, WarnerMedia Studios CEO, in an interview with Variety. “We’re just so happy that he could bring his cut of the Justice League to life because that wasn’t in the plan until about a year ago. With that comes the completion of his trilogy.”
However, while the top brass are leaning away from Snyder, the response to his Justice League epic could well help turn the tide. Although the film has polarised critics to some extent, earning a wide range of reviews from one to five stars, it has struck a chord with fans even beyond those of the hardcore DC clique. If nothing else, it has generated a lot of attention for a franchise that has struggled as of late, following the underwhelming box office performances of both Birds of Prey and Shazam.
It’s uncertain whether that will be enough to change minds, given that a full-fledged Justice League 2 would be a much larger undertaking than The Snyder Cut (likely requiring around triple the investment poured into this $70 million re-edit). Meanwhile, it would also risk cannibalising upcoming projects that Warner Bros are working on, such as Matt Reeves’ The Batman. However, it’s not hard to imagine HBO Max continuing Snyder’s story in the form of a glossy animated series like Marvel’s What If…?, so that could perhaps be a path forward.
Man of Steel 2
It’s been such a long time since Man of Steel hit cinemas that it’s sometimes easy to forget the film is the first entry in Zack Snyder’s DCEU trilogy. Although 2016’s Batman v Superman served as a sequel of sorts to the origin flick, many fans have been crying out for a new solo film starring Henry Cavill’s Last Son of Krypton. For a short while, it seemed as if Warner Bros. were on the right track towards hammering out a new deal with Cavill, as rumours broke last summer that he was in line for cameo appearances in future DC films.
However, some have speculated that these talks might have stalled, following the news that writer-director JJ Abrams is rebooting the Superman film franchise with a new actor in the lead. Of course, DC hasn’t been afraid to let different versions of their characters co-exist, with Jared Leto and Joaquin Phoenix sharing the Joker role, while Ezra Miller’s The Flash even crossed paths with Grant Gustin’s television incarnation. But it isn’t particularly encouraging that a total reboot of Superman is further along than a simple sequel, especially given Man of Steel 2 has had almost a decade to get off the ground.
Never say never with the DC Extended Universe, but based on what we know so far it seems more likely that Cavill’s Superman will be a supporting player moving forward – if he remains involved at all.
Ben Affleck’s The Batman
Ben Affleck had a rough ride in the role of Bruce Wayne, weathering a tirade of abuse when he first bagged the role and the generally negative reviews launched at both Batman v Superman and 2017’s Justice League. After that rollercoaster, it’s hardly surprising the Academy Award winner decided to formally step down from the role in 2019, opening the door for Robert Pattinson to take up the mantle.
“I sort of had my fill of that,” Affleck told GQ. “They said ‘do you want to direct and star in a solo Batman movie?’ [and] I found that I had kind of lost my enthusiasm or passion for it. This should really be made by someone for whom it’s their wildest dream come true and, for me, it had become something different. It was clear that it was time to move on.”
Just as the Batman chapter in Affleck’s life seemed firmly closed, news broke last summer that he was to return as the caped crusader in 2022’s The Flash movie. Notably, the film is theorised to be a soft reboot of the DC Extended Universe, loosely inspired by the comic book storyline Flashpoint. At the time, The Wrap reported that there would be “no other films” or HBO Max shows involving this incarnation of Bruce Wayne, with all attention to remain on Pattinson’s The Batman trilogy.
With this in mind, a full solo Batman movie starring Ben Affleck is probably the least likely possibility on this list.
Suicide Squad: The Ayer Cut
As many commentators pointed out when Warner Bros. announced Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the danger of such a move is setting a precedent that could haunt the studio for years to come. We’re already seeing that now, as some DC fans are calling for a similarly ambitious re-edit of 2016’s Suicide Squad movie, which director David Ayer claims was heavily meddled with during post-production.
The latest update on the campaign came just this week and the prognosis isn’t great. WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff told Variety quite simply: “We won’t be developing David Ayer’s cut.”
You can see why they came to this decision as a brand new Suicide Squad movie is on the way this summer, courtesy of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, which also serves as a soft reboot of the franchise. As Warner Bros attempts to push ahead into a bold new direction, they clearly wouldn’t want their talent or consumers to be distracted by an older project causing a stir. On that note, if an Ayer Cut were to be released and hailed as a masterpiece, it would potentially harm public opinion about 2021’s The Suicide Squad – which Gunn himself has said “might” contradict the first film (via Empire).
Perhaps the only thing going in The Ayer Cut’s favour is that it could be a relatively inexpensive project for Warner Bros to be working on while the cinema industry gets back on its feet. While the $70 million spent on Zack Snyder’s Justice League may sound like a lot of money, it’s relatively affordable by Hollywood blockbuster standards (to compare, Avengers: Endgame is said to have cost an eye-watering $350 million).
If the Snyder Cut proves to be worth that investment by sustaining popularity over time, Warner Bros. could conceivably come around to the idea of another marketable re-edit. But suffice to say, it isn’t a priority for them right now.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is available to stream now on Sky Cinema and NOW (formerly known as NOW TV). Take a look at the rest of our Sci-fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.