Zack Snyder’s Justice League | A Full Time-Line of the Events Leading up to the Film’s Celebrated Debut

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At only 21 years of age, Autumn Snyder — the daughter of Zack Snyder — tragically committed suicide on March 12th of 2016.  On behalf of the traumatic incident, Zack Snyder stepped back from one of his projects, Justice League (2017), to mourn with his wife and children.  He hired Joss Whedon — Director of Avengers 1 & 2 and the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer — to finish the film for the studio; he butchered the movie from start to finish.  

The film was the culmination of Zack Snyder’s journey with DC films ever since his most prominent film, Man of Steel (2012), gained a large following.  It prompted him to create an extended universe that competed with the MCU.  Zack later filmed the “sequel” to the Man of Steel in 2016 titled “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”  The film gained critical feedback for its boring direction and stupendous amount of continuity errors.  The film sucked.

 However, even with all of the harsh comments he received, Zack continued with his plan to distribute a DC Universe that would rival the MCU.  The first step was to create a team-up film that matched up with the same hype Avengers: Infinity War received in 2018, and so he made Justice League.  The movie was gonna blast the audience away with its eye-opening reveals and concluding character development.  It was going to be Zack Snyder’s Magnum Opus … until the tragic death of his daughter.  

What Warner Brothers did to Justice League was inexcusable; they altered the movie in a way where all you could see was a passionless work of cinema with no respect for the films before it.  The fans were furious.  The timeline of the Snyder-Cut is one of tragedy and restoration.  It is one of the most saddening events in modern pop-culture history that symbolized how important a craft can be to millions of people (yes, millions).  The release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is right around the corner, and with that, here is a full time-line of the Snyder-Cut movement.

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The Release of Justice League

On November 13th of 2017, Justice League was released to theatres in one of the most disappointing box office openings of the year; it grossed a domestic $229,024,295.  For Warner Brothers, this was a horrible box office opening.  The gross was 25% lower than what the studio estimated the movie to receive, and on top of that, it was a really bad film. 

This was not Joss Whedon’s fault, but instead, was the company’s fault to hastily put out an unfinished film that disgraced the director.  The movie had this weird red filter that made it look unappealing.  They also applied these very unnecessary jokes that seem reminiscent of the MCU super-hero movies but not funny.  This was not Zack’s vision, nor was it the fans’ expectation of what the film was supposed to be.

This gave way to a petition being posted on change.org to release the original version of the Justice League that Zack Snyder intended to deliver before his traumatic incident.  The petition accumulated a total of 180,000 signatures before it really started to ramp up in popularity.  Several news outlets reported on the event that many fans beforehand were not aware of.  The campaign later in 2018 donated up to $110,000 for charities dedicated to suicide-prevention world-wide. The petition symbolized the disgust for Warner Brothers due to their decisions leading up to the film’s release. 

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The Petition’s Rise to Stardom

Spreading awareness was now the key component of the Snyder-Cut campaign.  The launch of the ForSnyderCut website and the several billboards in Times Square fans bought in hopes of spreading awareness of the movement exceeded flawlessly in their goal for recruiting more and more fans into the campaign.  There were hundreds of social media posts featuring the billboards and the monolithic footprint they had on New York City; along with the posts, each of them had a unifying hashtag that represented the movement: #releasethesnydercut.  #releasethesnydercut was being posted millions of different times worldwide.  You would see it in almost every single social media account that was related to comic books.  It brought the movement to a stature no one saw coming.  Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck were part of the trend as well — both of them were original cast members of the movie. They posted the same hashtag on some of their social media outlets soon after the original film was released in theatres.  

The Snyder-Cut movement never truly got to the point where it is now until Zack Snyder started stirring the pot.  He posted an image a couple weeks after the anniversary of the theatrical release, where he confirmed that the film…is real.

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Zack’s Push to get the Snyder-Cut Released

Zack, along with the rest of the members of the film’s production, impacted the movement in a big way.  Zack posted on several social media posts some of the film’s main story elements and its runtime of 3 ½ hours of footage.  The actor for Aquaman — Jason Mamoa — posted a video of him accompanied by Zack Snyder as they conversed about the cut in 2019.  Jason Mamoa stated in the discussion after revealing that he has seen Zack’s Justice League that “The Snyder-Cut is ssssiiicccckkkkkk.”  Jason Mamoa couldn’t express enough gratitude for Zack after jumpstarting his career, and you can tell from the way he and Zack interact.

Zack’s humbleness and dedication to doing the film justice are what unified the fanbase as a whole.  While many people personally did not enjoy an abundant amount of his films, they still wanted Zack Snyder’s Justice League regardless.  Zack’s social media crusade gave many people the influence and inspiration needed to propel the movement for his own version of the film.  He started by leaking several of his storylines showing how the movie logically connected with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in a way that made sense.  Zack pushed for the release of the film ever since his announcement of the cut’s existence.  He was the heart and soul of the Snyder-Cut movement, and it would not have worked if he did not involve himself in the campaign.  I believe that to him, this movie was more than just a movie. It was a part of him.  This film was a form of therapy after his daughter’s tragic death.  This was his farewell address to her.  It was closure for him to get this vision out, and everyone supported him every step of the way.

Zack heavily stated his stance on whether or not he wanted the cut released, as well as the fans — who ranging in around a million individuals — that they needed the Snyder-cut.  Whether they wanted it or not, Warner Brothers needed to let Zack finish the film, or it would have been disastrous for the company.  

The Announcement

In May of 2020, Zack Snyder announced in a virtual Q&A of the “Man of Steel” movie, starring Henry Cavill — who was also at the screening — that the Snyder-Cut will be released on HBO Max in early 2021.  “There is still a little bit to do.  I mean there is…there is this.  I have this.  I don’t know if this is helpful (flips the camera to an image of the Snyder-Cut). You see that?”  With an estimated budget of $70 million, he announced that the movie will be split up into 4 parts and filled with hours of new footage.  The fanbase was excited, they followed the announcements for months on end, but sadly saw no advertising for the movie … until the DC Fandom event.

The Time-Line till the Release of the Film

For almost a year,  Zack Snyder’s Justice League absolutely spoiled its fanbase. Trailer after trailer, sneak peek after sneak peek, all starting with the first trailer in the DC Fandom on August 22, 2020.  DC Fandom was the “virtual comic-con” for DC fans.  You would simply turn on the television and watch some of the biggest reveals and latest trailers for your favorite forms of media.  One of the panels for the monolithic 24-hour event was Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  He expressed large amounts of gratitude for his fans as he discussed the process and the upcoming release of the Snyder-Cut.  He invited several of the cast members to the panel as well as the founders of the movement.  They conversed about the long journey of trying to get the Snyder-cut released and ultimately their victory at the beginning of 2020, for an estimated 45 minutes until the reveal of the first trailer.  The trailer used Autumn and Zack Snyder’s favorite song for the backtrack: Hallelujah (1984) from Leonard Cohen. 

It released plenty of unseen footage and led to a renaissance of Snyder-Cut sneak peeks and trailers going all the way up to the release of the movie in March of 2021.  Many “mini-trailers” or teasers were released in the span of a year as we waited for the movie’s launch.  We got separate character promos of each Justice League member and the opposing side of Darkseid and Steppenwolf.  Then, about a week ahead of the movie’s release date, he unveiled the second trailer, with the appearance of new characters and even newer story elements.

The film was then released on March 18, 2021.

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Will the Snyder-Cut be a masterpiece of cinema? Or will it be a 4-hour movie that you wish you would have never seen?  Honestly, does it matter?  The fans did something that will never be challenged in the history of pop-culture.  They got a mega-corporation to distribute a 4-hour movie that will fulfill a director’s vision. The movie was just another part of the movement.  Giving Zack Snyder the ability to finish his greatest work of art, that was the true goal of the Snyder-Cut Movement, and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Works Cited

Fowler, Matt. “Release the Snyder Cut Fans Buy Times Square Billboards during NYCC – IGN.” IGN, IGN, 6 Oct. 2019, http://www.ign.com/articles/2019/10/06/release-the-snyder-cut-fans-buy-times-square-billboards-during-nycc-justice-league-dc-zack-snyder-superman-batman. Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.

Chichizola, Corey. “Jason Momoa Says the Snyder Cut of Justice League Is ‘Sick.’” CINEMABLEND, CINEMABLEND, 19 Aug. 2019, http://www.cinemablend.com/news/2478281/jason-momoa-says-the-snyder-cut-of-justice-league-is-sick. Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.

Kit, Borys. “Zack Snyder Steps down from ‘Justice League’ to Deal with Family Tragedy.” The Hollywood Reporter, 22 May 2017, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/zack-snyder-steps-down-justice-league-deal-family-tragedy-1006455. Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.

Francisco, Eric. “Snyder Cut News: It’s ‘Real’ and It Has a Very Long Runtime, Snyder Reveals.” Inverse, Inverse, 4 Dec. 2019, http://www.inverse.com/article/61437-snyder-cut-new-justice-league-directors-cut-real-runtime-leak. Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.

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