Today is something of an interesting day for DC fans, as it was, at one point, set to be the day that Zack Snyder’s Justice League 2 would have hit theaters, had things gone according to plan. Though, things didn’t go according to plan. Not by a long shot. As such, there are no plans, as far as we know, for any sort of Justice League movie on the horizon, let alone one from Snyder. Warner Bros. has, instead, completely shifted their strategy with DC Films as the result of Synder’s Justice League.
Let’s rewind the clock a bit. In 2013, Man of Steel was released. As directed by Zack Snyder, it kicked off the DC universe, commonly referred to as the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), as we know it. Then it was announced, in a big splashy way, that Snyder was going to follow that up with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie that would finally put the Caped Crusader, (as played by Ben Affleck) and Krypton’s golden boy on screen together. And that’s where the trouble started. As virtually every DC fan knows, regardless of which side of the fence they’re on, when that movie hit theaters in 2016, it proved to be excruciatingly divisive.
Before the movie actually hit theaters, Warner Bros. displayed a tremendous amount of confidence in the Snyderverse. In October 2015, it was announced that the filmmaker would next tackle a two-part epic that would finally bring the Justice League to the big screen, with Justice League Part One scheduled to arrive in theaters on November 17, 2017, and, as it relates to the conversation today, Justice League Part Two was set for June 14, 2019.
Related: Zack Snyder Has Minimized Role in Future DC Movie Slate?
Justice League began filming almost immediately after BvS was released. Given the response, Warner Bros. got cold feet. That led to a bit of a contentious process, by all accounts, behind the scenes. Eventually, Snyder departed the project altogether. Was he fired? Did he leave willingly? It’s hazy at best. Joss Whedon (The Avengers), was brought in to handle extensive reshoots that seriously changed Snyder’s original vision.
While we’ve never quite understood the full picture of what that might have been, we know Snyder was leading to Darkseid as the villain in Justice League 2. It would have taken place in a dark, near future with an evil Superman. Lois Lane would have been the “key,” which explains that weird dream sequence in BvS that never really paid off. But we just have details here and there. Not the full scope of what was planned.
Joss Whedon’s reshoots led to a ballooned budget, with estimates putting the cost at $300 million. For all of those troubles, the movie was met with a mixed response and grossed just $657 million worldwide. Warner Bros. had to take a loss, but it forced their hand. DC Films had to change. Aquaman and Shazam have proved to be much lighter in tone and Snyder hasn’t had any true impact on the movies that have been released since, nor will he have any input on the movies currently in the works.
Now, we live in a world where Ben Affleck has hung up the cape and cowl, making way for Robert Pattinson to star as our new Batman in a movie directed by Matt Reeves, and Henry Cavill’s future as Superman is extremely in doubt. Cyborg actor Ray Fisher doesn’t seem to have a future in this universe, and The Flash solo movie can’t get off the ground. Ezra Miller may end up moving on from the role, given creative differences with the studio. Point being, we may not even have a full Justice League team available right now. Ah, how things have changed.
What if Warner Bros. stayed the course? What if they had trusted Zack Snyder to do his thing? What would we be in for in theaters today with Justice League 2? We’ll probably never know. Today, fans are still demanding to see the Snyder Cut of Justice League, something that will likely never happen. So what do we have? Joker, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, Aquaman 2 and The Batman are all on the horizon. For better or for worse, in some way, Snyder is responsible for that. Feel free to check out the sobering reminder of what could have been from the Fandom Twitter account below.