I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I would still have been much happier in seeing Zack Snyder’s original two-film vision for Justice League play out than the hobbled, mish-mash effort we eventually got. I don’t doubt there would have been similar storytelling and character stumbles like on Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, but at least it would have been a fully realized and coherent idea from start to finish. Instead, Snyder handed the reins over to Joss Whedon when a combination of drastic Warner Bros-studio mandated tonal changes (in reaction to BVS’ poor critical response) and family tragedy forced him out of the production. The resulting film had both the critical and commercial impact of a damp sponge.
Since then, some fans have been clamouring for the release of the “Snyder Cut” of the film. The problem is, despite what some may have claimed online, no such thing exists. And it could never have existed outside of some unfinished shots and storyboards if you know how film production works. People still ask for it regularly, but during a special fan screening of the extended Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman, Snyder put a decisive nail in that coffin by revealing to those in attendance that he and scriptwriter Chris Terrio had already been tasked by WB to rewrite Justice League’s script before any filming even began.
But what would this “really scary” version even entail? Snyder has been teasing out details on social media for the last two years, but now he gave the biggest info dump yet. Specifically he revealed the details around the “Knightmare” sequence, which was a scene in BVS in which Batman received a vision of the future from the Flash that showed a dystopian world in which Superman had gone evil and is rounding up other heroes, including the Dark Knight who he seemingly blamed for the loss of a loved one. As the scene ended, we got a shot of a giant omega symbol carved into the ground. While comic book fans knew this to be the sigil of Darkseid, the DC Comics universe’s ultimate big bad, BVS treated it and the state of the world as big mystery for another day.
As Snyder explained though (via CBR), that mystery would have been explained in due time.
The truth is that the ‘Knightmare Sequence’ in this movie, it was my idea that all of that would eventually be explained – is that a surprise? And that we would end up in the distant future where Darkseid has taken over Earth, and where Superman has succumbed to the Anti-Life [Equation]. And there were a few members of the Justice League that survived to that world, and that they were fighting, Batman and a broken half of Cyborg – there’s only half of him because of whatever happened – they were working on an equation to jump back to tell Bruce… those were the things that we were dealing with. And the studio, they were still sort of into the big look, but the deep depth about how and why everyone was mad at each other…”
And as Snyder continued, he explained that Superman’s submission to the Anti-Life Equation – a devastating psychological weapon that puts all affected by it under Darkseid’s control – would come about due to the death of Lois Lane at Darkseid’s hand.
Because Lois – and it’s in the Justice League teaser; it wasn’t in the movie apparently… it’s this line where Bruce says, ‘I was right here, and Barry Allen came to me and he said ‘Lois Lane is the key.’ And then [Wonder Woman] goes, ‘She is to Superman; every heart has one.’ And he goes, ‘I think it’s something more, something darker.’ And what it means is that the thing that was darker was all about if Lois died, Superman would succumb to the Anti-Life, right? And Superman knew that somehow it was Bruce’s responsibility to protect Lois, he would’ve been mad at him in this movie, and that’s why he says, ‘She was my world, and you took her from me.’ Because [Bruce] had to jump back right before Darkseid Boom Tubes into the Batcave to murder Lois.
The reporting from those in attendance is a little jumbled and contradictory on this next point, but seemingly, as Snyder explained to the audience, the film would use a “complex and nonsensical time travel formula” for how they would go back in time. Batman had to make the call on when to send Flash back, either to the moment to deliver the warning to his younger self or back to stop Darkseid. Batman asked Cyborg which choice he would make, and then made the opposite which apparently doomed Lois.
That is some very dark territory to explore, and done right it could have been awesome. However, handling that degree of morally ambiguous character work is not something Snyder is known for. Give him stuff to destroy in gorgeous fashion and he’s your man though. It’s rumoured that this is exactly what we would have got with Justice League 2 (and maybe a third film) going cosmic and portraying this epic all-out war between heroes and gods. Instead we got bad CGI mouths and a lame cartoon of a villain.
Last Updated: March 27, 2019