Warning: This article contains Spoilers for Justice League
Justice League had a disappointing start critically and on box office as well, and a lot of debates are going on about how the original version of the film was supposed to be? Now Kevin Smith’s show has given us a clearer idea of how Zack Snyder had conceptualized before the reshoots.
There are so many rumors going on about what went wrong. A lot of people blame Zack Snyder for his polarizing vision about the DCEU, and others put the blame on Joss Whedon, claiming that he ruined what would have been a fantastic finale to the Superman trilogy by Zack Snyder. There are also people blaming the executives at WB, accusing them of being more focused on profits rather than letting Justice League evolve by postponing its release.
It will take years for all the debates to settle down and details to emerge and maybe even longer before the accusations end, however, some details have now come out about what was changed between the original footage by Zack Snyder and the final product by Joss Whedon. Most of these scenes can’t be verified, and a lot of such “leaks” have been doing the rounds on the internet, including various changed/deleted scenes that Kevin Smith discussed on his show Fatman on Batman. Although they had originally been seen on DCEULeaks page on Reddit and were deleted quickly, they have resurfaced at other places and Smith had an audience member who testified that the version being discussed, which was also screened earlier was the same that she had seen during the test screening (the other version was quite similar to the theatrical release).
On a macro level, the story is nearly similar. However, Joss Whedon’s final version removed several plot building elements related to Apokolips and Darkseid. There were rumors before the movie’s release about the original cut of Justice League featuring Darkseid and setting up a Justice League 2. However, the whole ending was redone. That element was discarded, and it was made to be a standalone film.
In the original, after being defeated on Earth, Steppenwolf goes back to Apokolips where he is killed by Darkseid who says he wants to meet Earth’s Kryptonian, but, the theatrical version showed the subplot about the parademons being capable of smelling fear during the opening Batman sequence and then this resulted in Steppenwolf’s death as he became frightened and was then attacked by the Justice League and Superman as well as his own army after which the aliens disappeared into a tube.
There are also extensive scenes detailing the origin of The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman, which included a good bit of Atlantis origin story as well as the links to Man of Steel and Batman v Superman’s events. These comprised of references to the Knightmare scene and the using of The Codex in the revival of Superman (something that was expected before the movie’s release). Batman is also guilty about his darker times and the way he treated Superman, thus, he was more gloomy, and towards the end, he even went on a suicidal mission thinking that he needs to die to atone for having been a killer and trying to kill the Man of Steel.
Not only that, there were some omitted characters such as Iris West, Deathstroke, and Lex Luthor, although, the last two appeared in the end credits scene. The leak is also in sync with the earlier details about another post-credits scene involving Green Lanterns getting scrapped earlier.
Clearly, Warner Bros tried several versions of the film to see what connected best with the audiences, and the extra dose of humor added by Joss Whedon was impactful eventually. Although test screenings are not the best way to judge a film’s outcome, if the just revealed version of the film had been the one released in theaters, the film would have got an opening similar to Batman v Superman because it was clearly linked to that film’s events.
We don’t know if this was the Snyder Cut that the fans have been demanding or an earlier version by Joss Whedon himself, that later got modified as per Snyder’s vision. However, taking into account the synchronization between this version and the earlier Snyder films, we can spot Snyder’s style here in a better way than in the theatrical version. A lot of contradicting reports have been coming in about the existence of a Snyder cut and a lot of insiders say that it is never going to be released, and others claim that it was almost completed and the fact that there was a test screening of it (without the effects), suggests that it was indeed nearly completed.
Source: Fatman on Batman