Since the day it was released, the 2017 DC superhero film Justice League has been an object of fascination for superhero movie fans. Director Zack Snyder, whose other contributions to the DC Extended Universe include Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, had to step away from the project in the middle of production after a family tragedy. Joss Whedon, normally more of a Marvel guy, stepped in to oversee major rewrites and finish the movie.
Whedon had two jobs: cutting the film’s runtime to 120 minutes or less, and adding humor after the lackluster reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Both decisions required major rewrites and plot changes, and making the DCEU more like Marvel was anathema to DC partisans anyway. So even before they knew whether or not a Zack Snyder cut of the film existed, DC fans began lobbying Warner Bros. to “release the Snyder cut.” As it turned out, Snyder did cut some sort of version of the film together before leaving the project, but it seems to have been more in the nature of a workprint than a director’s cut, with unfinished effects shots and unmixed audio. Since completing Zack Snyder’s version would reportedly involve spending millions of dollars more on a movie that lost money the first time around, no one expected Warner Bros. to release it. On Sunday, however, Justice League star Gal Gadot joined the chorus:
Shortly afterwards, fellow Justice League actor Ray Fisher expressed a similar sentiment:
And Ben Affleck joined in, although he seems to have forgotten to attach a black and white photo of himself playing Batman:
Zack Snyder quote-tweeted both Gadot and Affleck, writing, “This ancient Amazonian can’t be wrong,” and “Neither can Batman.” (So far, he has left Ray Fisher hanging.) Coordinated tweets from three of the film’s stars and its director, all of whom have easier ways to get in touch with Warner Bros. than social media hashtag campaigns, can only mean one thing: The legendary Snyder Cut, in some form or another, is definitely on its way soon, at some point in the future. Probably.
So because there’s still no release date or confirmation from Warner Bros. yet, Slate has taken the liberty of cutting together a new version of Justice League ourselves, just to tide people over. A few caveats: We didn’t have access to the original actors or the sets or the scripts or the unused footage or the used footage or brand new actors or any actors at all, and also we didn’t have a budget for CGI or practical effects or lighting or sound or photography. Fortunately, we were able to fill in most of the gaps using public domain footage.
If the Snyder Cut ever sees the light of day, it will undoubtedly be truer to the spirit of the DC Extended Universe, but given the challenges our production faced—on, like, basic competence levels—we think the Slate Cut of Justice League is a pretty good action adventure film in its own right. Any Hollywood bigshot or movie studio that thinks they can do better is welcome to release their own as-yet-unseen version of Justice League—supposedly there’s one out there.
Update, Nov. 20, 2019: I have just been informed that Warner Bros. is refusing to release my cut of Justice League, arguing that the studio-sanctioned Joss Whedon cut is the only definitive version, while the Slate Cut is “unauthorized,” “a textbook case of copyright violation,” and “a tiresome and unfunny conceptual joke, even for you.” So now there are two legendary lost cuts of Justice League. Take that, Magnificent Ambersons!