Fans who have been clamoring to see Zack Snyder's director's cut of the disappointing 2017 film, Justice League, will finally get their wish, as HBO Max released a two-minute trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League during the virtual DC Fandome event. The trailer actually leaked online before the panel, but was quickly pulled until the official release.
(Some spoilers for the 2017 Justice League below.)
The original Justice League was the third film in a trilogy that included Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). It brought together Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). They are on a mission to save the world from arch-villain Steppenwolf, a New God in search of three "Mother Boxes" that will enable him to terraform the Earth into something more hospitable to him and his army of Parademons.
Snyder completed all the principal photography and was well into post-production. But he stepped down as director in May 2017, following the tragic suicide of his daughter, and the studio turned to Joss Whedon (The Avengers) to complete the film. Whedon rewrote the script, adding some 80 pages, and did extensive reshoots, bringing more humor and a brighter tone into the mix. (A common criticism of Batman v. Superman was that it was slow, lacked humor, and was too dark in tone.) He also cut more than 90 minutes of Snyder's original's footage to accommodate the studio's requested 120-minute run time, although Whedon's version retained the basic story outline.
The result was what some critics called a "Frankenstein" film, struggling to incorporate very different visions of two directors. Reviews were mixed, and while Justice League wound up grossing $657 million, the purported break-even point was around $750 million. Its poor box office return may have influenced Warner Bros.' subsequent decision to shift way from the Marvel model of a series of interconnected films in a shared universe, in favor of standalone films and franchises.
The rumored production woes had some fans clamoring for an alternate "Snyder cut" soon after the theatrical release, leading to a social media campaign that occasionally got ugly. In May, Snyder confirmed that his cut would air on HBO Max during a virtual watch party for Man of Steel, insisting it would feel like an entirely different movie, with new visual effects sequences, additional character development, and some added dialogue.