Deborah Snyder, producer of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, recently revealed that stars Ben Affleck and Jared Leto did not film their scenes together as Batman and Joker. The upcoming film, which is the director’s cut of the 2017 Justice League, boasts a four-hour runtime and reportedly offers greater insight into the core characters of the titular superhero group. Snyder’s cut represents an artistic redo of the original Justice League, which was plagued by production issues and debuted to mixed reviews, ultimately failing to gross the expected returns at the box office.
During initial production of Justice League in 2016, the script purportedly underwent multiple alterations. Following the shoot, Snyder eventually stepped down from the project after a family tragedy. When Joss Whedon took over as his replacement, he overhauled much of the script and supervised reshoots that incorporated a lighter narrative tone, as well as cut down the lengthy runtime. After Justice League premiered to negative press, fans, cast, and crew petitioned for the release of a version that more aligned with Snyder’s original cinematic vision. In 2020, Warner Bros. affirmed the decision and financed the re-cut of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
While speaking with CINEMA-Magazin, producer Deborah Snyder shared the difficulties in shooting a film amid COVID, noting that Affleck and Leto were unable to physically film their scene in the same location. In the interview, she explained the overall process of production:
“What was hard was, we only shot for three days. We shot the Batman-Joker scene, and then we did a couple of pickups. But literally, no one was together. It was hard from a scheduling point of view, and it was also hard to plan it because everyone is just starting to come back to shooting after COVID. But we were still figuring out what the restrictions were, and how to do it safely.”
While challenging to film, Zack Snyder’s Justice League remains highly anticipated by fans of the DCEU. Although the story follows the same basic outline as the prior cut, it also promises to weave in a deeper sense of world-building, populating the DC universe with new characters and intricate backstories. In interviews, Snyder has maintained that his film does not use the continuity of Whedon’s Justice League, but instead follows a modified timeline. During the press tour for Wonder Woman 1984, director Patty Jenkins said that she believes all DC directors have ignored Whedon’s interpretation of the iconic Justice League, instead choosing to consider Snyder’s story as canon.
Considering the long, convoluted journey that Zack Snyder’s Justice League has traversed, it will certainly be intriguing to witness how audiences respond to his carefully-crafted magnum opus. For viewers disappointed by the hasty construction of the 2017 Justice League, this updated rendering at least appears to harbor greater narrative foresight and respect for the beloved characters of the DCEU. As Snyder has noted, he hopes that his new film will soon erase Whedon’s Frankenstein version. With any luck, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg will finally get the chance to do their story justice.