When Man of Steel premiered in 2013, for many fans it provided the hope of a new age of DC Films. Regardless of making a shared universe to compete with the MCU, it was exciting to potentially see The Justice League in live-action with today’s special effects. However, WB has decided to go another route with their properties after the mixed reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. In addition to changing the slate of movies being released, actors are also being replaced in various roles whether it’s Batman, Deadshot, or even Superman according to rumors.
To make matters even worse, fans never got to see Snyder’s full vision of Justice League as the 2-part film was condensed along with Joss Whedon drastically changing several parts of the film. This has infamously resulted in the social media campaign for the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League, however, WB has shown no interest in releasing such a version of the film.
This makes me wonder, why doesn’t Warner Bros. release it through another means. The top options would be either a graphic novel or animated movie. For the graphic novel, it would allow Snyder’s full vision to be executed without the hassle of visual effects or animation budget. This could also be beneficial considering both the first and second part of Justice League could be easily broken up in several issues, two volumes, or simply a large graphic novel volume. Releasing as a digital exclusive during the COVID-19 crisis would be an exciting prospect to stimulate digital comic book sales. DC Comics has an extensive history with digital exclusive comics so this wouldn’t be a new frontier for them.
The artist I would pair Snyder with for such a graphic novel would be Jason Fabok, who did a fantastic job during the Darkseid War storyline. If Snyder were to instead want to simply contribute a story outline and leave dialogue to another writer, think Geoff Johns, it might be the best of both worlds. I think Johns would pull it off considering he wrote Justice League for many years so he has a feel for each character’s voice. The only issue would be that Johns was reportedly a part of the group that removed Snyder from Justice League initially.
With the animated movie option, this would be a great way to further promote the DC Universe streaming service. Animated DC movies such as Batman: Under the Red Hood, The Death of Superman, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and more have established DC’s animated films as a quality destination for stories not sought out by WB for the big screen. It’s unlikely, but possible, that the original cast of Justice League would be able to do voice-over work for this. For some fans, not having the main cast return may defeat the purpose of making any version of the Snyder Cut. Warner Bros. has also been more relaxed with animated properties as evidence by the fourth wall breaking references on Harley Quinn and brutally dark nature of Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.
This may be the only way people ever get closure on Zack Snyder’s original vision, seeing as Warner Brothers CEO Kevin Tsujihara told the Los Angeles Times,
“You’re seeing much more focus on individual experiences around individual characters,” he said. “That’s not to say we won’t at some point come back to that notion of a more connected universe. But it feels like that’s the right strategy for us right now.”
Regardless of his comments, with franchises such as Shazam, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman all referencing previous DCEU movies, it’s always possible to come back together in the future. HBO Max can also be used as a tool to release Snyder’s current edition of Justice League. However, with how much remains unfinished with the film in live-action, a graphic novel or animated adaptation may be the best choice out of respect for maintaining the vision vs limited reality.