“He’s never fought us. Not us united.”
In the wake of DC FanDome Day 1, and Zack Snyder’s reveal of the new Snyder Cut Justice League trailer, we’ve combined everything we know to bring you a quick list of all the major differences between the theatrical version of Justice League and the upcoming four-hour director’s version, which will release in four parts on HBO Max in 2021.
From new visuals, character designs, and actual characters to deleted story scenes put back in their proper place, the Snyder Cut will make for a more substantial film. One that more reflects the tonal template that began with Man of Steel and continued with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Here’s a look at the most important, and known, differences that the Snyder Cut will offer.
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Visuals and Aspect Ratio
This might be the least flashy element of the suped-up Snyder Cut, but the color of the orange-red sky seen during the theatrical release’s end battle will be changed. And the film itself will utilize a 1.66.1 aspect ratio, what is commonly known as “European Widescreen.”
Yes, uber-baddie Darkseid, played by Ray Porter, will be a part of the movie now. Always intended as the evil lurking behind the scenes, controlling Steppenwolf’s assault on Earth, Darkseid will now be featured a few times during the movie. First, Diana will see him depicted in an ancient mural and then, it seems, the flashback will now show us Darkseid leading the parademons against the Greek gods, as his pre-Darkseid version Uxas. It’s likely he will appear a few more times in the movie as well – especially in the end after Steppenwolf’s defeat.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will continue the “Knightmare future” storyline that Bruce experienced in Batman v Superman. You know, the one where Batman leads a rebellion in a dystopian wasteland and Superman is an evil herald of Darkseid. Then, after Bruce wakes up, Barry contacts him from a different point in time to deliver a warning.
How much of this storyline will come to fruition/be resolved in Justice League isn’t known, though Snyder originally had a five-movie arc plotted out. All we know is that the Snyder Cut won’t drop this angle cold like the theatrical version did. And we’ll get this scene featuring a destroyed Justice League and a ravaged Earth…
The Snyder Cut will feature a score by Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL, who was replaced by Danny Elfman for the theatrical release. This likely also means that Sigrid’s opening credits cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” is gone too, as it was chosen by Joss Whedon. Though, given Snyder’s penchant for using Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” maybe the Snyder Cut will have Cohen’s original version of “Everybody Knows.”
New Steppenwolf Design
Despite Darkseid being the end-all adversary, Justice League’s villain is the preening precursor, Steppenwolf. He was played by Game of Thrones’ Ciaran Hinds in the movie and looked fairly unremarkable.
Last month, Snyder revealed the new design for Steppenwolf, showing fans a differently-colored, more heavily-armored evil-doer.
Parademons and the Smell of Fear
Because Joss Whedon was changing the end battle of the film, and the way Steppenwolf was to be vanquished, he had to set up a specific concept at the beginning of the story by adding a rooftop scene featuring Batman luring out (using a siren noise) and capturing a parademon, thus discovering that the creature tracks and targets fear. In the Snyder Cut, reportedly, Batman learns about parademons from Lex Luthor’s journal.
Also gone from the Snyder Cut is the random Russian family, who seemingly live all alone, cut off from all aspects of society, in the desolate woods. They were added to give the final battle some additional human citizen stakes and light strokes of humor.
This is a big one and it encompasses a lot. Most, or all, of Henry Cavill’s scenes for Justice League, were reshot, with his Mission: Impossible – Fallout mustache digitally removed, as Supes’ entire storyline was remolded for a lighter, less-grim film. Gone was Superman’s black suit and changed was everything from Superman’s first battle with the Justice League upon being resurrected by the Mother Box to his role in the final battle against Steppenwolf to countless other scenes throughout the film (including Superman meeting Alfred). So get ready for a brand new back-from-the-dead Clark!
The Flash and Iris West
Cut from the theatrical version of Justice League were a bunch of extra bibs and bobs from Barry Allen’s story, all meant to flesh him out more as a character and make fans understand his story a bit more: his mother’s death, his father’s wrongful incarceration, and his plight to uncover the truth. Plus, the theatrical version cut out Kiersey Clemons’s Iris West, who we saw added back in during the Snyder Cut teaser (though the role might be recast for the Flashpoint movie).
“People are going to see a lot more of The Flash,” Snyder said at FanDome, “and get to know more of his emotional arc.”
Snyder also teased that Flash is going to do something quite extraordinary with his power, though he didn’t want to spoil what it was. “He’s a quantum character. He interacts with time and space.”
Unsurprisingly, since most of the new JL characters got short-sheeted in the pared-down theatrical release, there’s more Aquaman in the Snyder Cut too. Amber Heard and Willem Dafoe both shot scenes for Justice League, as Mera and Vulko, which would have introduced audiences to Arthur’s Atlantean backstory, and these characters, much sooner than in the Aquaman movie. It probably also solves how he gets his full armor and quindent for the final battle.
More Cyborg and S.T.A.R. Labs
Most of Cyborg’s origin story was cut out of the theatrical version. Him learning to fly, use weapons, hack into other computer networks, etc. Also, his deeper connection to Mother Boxes, since he’s basically born from a Mother Box. It’s reported that a full timeline of the Mother Boxes, up until Victor Stone’s transformation, is shown. All of Victor’s arc was shaved down to the bare minimum.
Silas Stone also dies in Snyder’s version of the film, providing Victor with extra motivation going forward. We actually see the scene in the new Justice League teaser…
Some of the Lois Lane/Martha Kent scenes in Joss Whedon’s Justice League were Whedon reshoots. One original Lois/Martha scene, however, in Lois’ apartment, would have ended with Martha leaving and revealing she was really Martian Manhunter – who’s Earthly form was then that of General Swanwick.
Final Battle Against Steppenwolf
Obviously, the theatrical version’s third act showdown against Steppenwolf was completely reworked. A Russian family was added, as were roots attacking our heroes from the ground, and the roles of Superman and Batman were sort of marginalized (with Superman’s intensity being toned down somewhat).
Steppenwolf himself was supposed to be decapitated by Wonder Woman but the entire conflict was reconceived to feature a less-violent end for the villain. One that included his own army turning on him.
Also, there’s a Darkseid scene cut from the end, post-Steppenwolf defeat, and reports say that the closing montage voice-over was done by the late Silas Stone, not Lois Lane. Which makes sense since Cyborg’s storyline was supposed to have taken up a large part of the film.
More Lex Luthor?
Though Lex Luthor’s role in Justice League was never meant to be a prominent one, Jesse Eisenberg confirmed that he shot scenes that didn’t make it into the theatrical version. In the movie, Lex is only seen in a post-credits moment, though that bit was also reshot by Whedon. This means the Legion of Doom tease was most likely added by Whedon and Warner Bros. and was not part of Synder’s original production.