Zack Snyder's Justice League is actually good — but what happens next?

Zack Snyder's Justice League is actually good — but what happens next?
(Image credit: HBO Max)

For years fans have been campaigning for the release of The Snyder Cut, a version of 2017's Justice League that's made by Zack Snyder and only Zack Snyder — stripping out Joss Whedon's involvement. This week it finally arrived, debuting on HBO Max and leaving fans with a killer cliffhanger ending.

Consider this your spoiler warning. Turn away if you haven’t seen the Snyder Cut yet. Trust us, the shock of the epilogue alone is worth it. Unless you've already resigned yourself to not wanting to watch a four-hour movie, and care more about the future of DC movies.

It’s safe to say that the reception to the Snyder Cut has been a little bit mixed. People have praised the improvements to the plot and character development, particularly with Cyborg. At the same time, though, the movie has been criticised for its length, some shoddy CGI and scenes that added nothing to the story.

But a lot of people seem to have enjoyed the film, and I am among them. So, like many of my kind, I have lingering questions about what happens next. Because, surely, this shouldn’t be the end of the Snyder-Verse... right?

The Snyder Cut is not canon — and the DCEU is messy

Warner Bros has always maintained that while the Snyder Cut is being released, it's not considered canon. Snyder himself has reiterated this point, and has gone on record saying Warner Bros asked him to agree that the theatrical version of Justice League was the “true” canon version.

But the theatrical cut wasn’t met with much reception when it was released, and attitudes have only soured with time. While it’s still unclear how attitudes to The Snyder Cut will change, the general consensus is that it’s the better version of the two. So is Warner Bros likely to change its tune?

Zack Snyder's Justice League is actually good — planning what's next

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

The DC movies are a mess right now, and the upcoming lineup is weird to look at. We already have several DCEU movies in the works, with the shared continuity that started in Man of Steel, plus a number of standalone projects that do not. Furthermore there are nearly a dozen other movies that seem to be stuck in development hell.

Justice League was supposed to be a tentpole feature that would propel the DCEU forward much like The Avengers did for Marvel. Then it flopped, and plans for sequels seemingly fell to the wayside. 

 Snyder Cut sequels?

Snyder himself had already mapped out at least two Justice League sequels, details of which were divulged quite recently. But at the same time the director admitted that Warner Bros was “100 percent moving away” from the storylines he set up. In other words those sequels aren't going to happen — for now, at least. Less than a year ago a report claimed Warner Bros would never release a version of the Snyder Cut. But here we are, and it's real and ready to watch.

This comes after Snyder having said  that Warner Bros had seemingly  no real interest in the Snyder Cut. The director claims the studio initially offered to release a raw version of his movie with no visual effects work, which he firmly declined. Snyder admitted to Vanity Fair that he didn’t trust Warner Bros' motivations, and accused the studio of wanting to appease pro-Snyder Cut campaigners while also “proving” the film wasn’t good.

Zack Snyder's Justice League is actually good: Into the Knightmare?

(Image credit: DC/Twitter)

Warner Bros may not have declared any interest in continuing  the Snyder Cut's story, but it’s also proved that it can change its mind — given  the right circumstances. There should be no reason why executives couldn’t change their mind again, and greenlight Justice League 2. 

That's especially true if The Snyder Cut does big numbers for HBO Max's subscriber count. The movie business is, at its core, a numbers game. If the Snyder Cut doesn’t recoup the $70 million Zack Snyder claims it cost, or at least come close, there isn’t likely to be a sequel. But if it does, or at least beats Warner Bros’ own expectations, then the studio heads would be fools to close the book on Snyder's involvement.

Checking the reactions on Twitter shows there’s certainly some demand for it, and Warner Bros would be foolish not to give the Snyder Verse a second chance at life (if there's hope for it to be profitable, that is).

Plus, as anyone who has seen both Justice League and the Snyder Cut will know, both movies have an almost-identical plot. There are some changes, both big and small, but the only time they contradict each other is with the fate of Silas Stone. Stone sacrifices himself to ensure the League can track Steppenwolf in the Snyder Cut, but survived the events of the Theatrical Cut.

More fences need mending — but it doesn't seem impossible

Though, with Ray Fisher refusing to play Cyborg following his claims that the post-Snyder Justice League set was "gross" and "abusive," future movies might not have to address it. Of course that all depends on Warner Bros plans for Cyborg, and whether they’ll be cutting the character from the DCEU just as they did with his role in the upcoming Flash movie. If all parties could reconcile — the Snyder Cut came out, anything is possible — all six of the seats at the Hall of Justice could be filled for the next movie

But we’re talking about pure hypotheticals here, and those conversations could go on forever. It’s up to Warner Bros whether it wants to reconcile the differences between Justice League’s Snyder Cut and Theatrical Cut, should they want to progress the story any further. At the very least it’s not as difficult as some people might want to make out.

But then again, whatever happens, Warner Bros has already proven to be its own worst enemy where the DCEU is concerned. That makes the studio pretty difficult to predict, no matter how the Snyder Cut is received. All that's left to be seen is if there's any financial reason for Warner to keep the Snyder-verse alive.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.