The Biggest Changes in Zack Snyder’s Justice League

The Running Time

2017 Justice League: Two hours.
Zack Snyder's Justice League: Four hours, broken down into six chapter and an epilogue. 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Zack Snyder said one of his earliest clashes with Warner Bros. four years ago was over the film's length, with the studio wanting it to come in at two hours long.

"How am I supposed to introduce six characters and an alien with potential for world domination in two hours?" he reasoned. "I mean, I can do it, it can be done. Clearly it was done," Snyder added, referring to Joss Whedon's version. "But I didn't see it."

And Snyder is fully aware of the response many have to the long running, time, facetiously joking in The New York Times, "It's like The Irishman, but with action. You could say that. That's a fine review. You could also say it's the Godfather of superhero movies. That's another fine review."

Now, reminder: SPOILER WARNING!

The Joker, Suicide Squad, Jared Leto

Warner Bros. Pictures

The New Ending

Snyder's Justice League ends on a doozy of a cliffhanger, which he always intended to do, even if he is not making any future DC movies.

"The ask was for my version of the movie," he told The New York Times of his decision to keep his original ending, which (spoiler alert!) was set in the future. In it, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) are dead and Batman (Ben Affleck) is aligned with a surprising new group: The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) Meera (Amber Heard), Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) and, most surprisingly, his arch-nemesis the Joker, with Jared Leto reprising his role from Suicide Squad (and teasing he had killed Robin). The big bad we discover they are facing? None other than Superman (Henry Cavill) in the wake of the death of Lois Lane (Amy Adams), a tragedy that was foreshadowed by a future version of The Flash's alter ego Barry Allen to Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman, though Barry reveals he's "too soon" with his warning.

"I added it because this was going to be the last movie I make for the DCU and to have this entire cinematic universe without Batman and Joker meeting up just felt weird," Snyder said of the shocking sequence. "Jared and I had a bunch of conversations about it. I had mentioned it to Ben and I was like, Ben, let's just do it at my house. I could shoot it in the backyard. Don't tell the studio and I'm not going to pay you guys. I'm just going to shoot it myself."

Snyder didn't have to resort to Guerrilla-style filming though, noting in his Times chat, "What happened is it worked out and we were able to do it for real. And then I called the rest of those cast members and said, Hey, would you guys be down to come around and do it."

And if he had the chance to continue telling the story, Snyder detailed what would've happened next:

"It's the fall of Earth, when Superman succumbs to anti-life," he revealed. "And then sending Flash back in time to change one element so that doesn't happen. And then the big battle where we beat him. When [the villain] Darkseid comes to Earth, in the movie that you'll never see, the armies of Earth all unite again, as they did before. This time there would be aircraft carriers and Special Forces guys, all the armies of the world would come together, as well as [Aquaman's fellow] Atlanteans rising out of the ocean and the Themyscirans [Wonder Woman's compatriots] coming off their island. That was our big finale. But it's a long drum roll and guitar solo to get there."

Lois Lane's Pregnancy?

While it's not said aloud or obviously confirmed, there are several signs that point to Lois being pregnant with Clark's child, including a pregnancy test box in her night stand and Bruce congratulating Clark at film's end while he and Lois, carrying what appears to be a baby carrier, move back into the Kent home, before, you know, that ending.

Zack Snyder's Justice League, Ray Fisher


Victor/Cyborg's Backstory Is Fully Fleshed Out

In Snyder's version, Cyborg's origin story, cut almost entirely from the 2017 film, is on display—running almost 15 minutes long—and is a major part of the first half of the movie.

We don't just learn, but we see Victor was a star football player and school vigilante of sorts, hacking into the grading system to change a classmate's report card because her family had suffered a tragedy. And, on the way home from a major milestone where he scored the game-winning touchdown that his father, scientist Silas Stone (Joe Morton) was not present for, he and his mother get in a car accident. While she dies, a distraught Silas uses the power of one of the Mother Boxes' to turn Victor, who has lost almost all of his limbs, into Cyborg.

There are also scenes of Victor testing his abilities, learning to fly and mastering has vast and powerful technological advancements.

For Snyder, Victor's storyline was always the one that packed the biggest emotional punch. "Ray's story is in a lot of the ways the heart of the movie," the director told USA Today back in 2017.

Zack Snyder's Justice League, Joe Morton


A Major Death

In order to help the heroes defeat Steppenwolf, Victor's father Silas sacrifices himself, dying in front of Victor after he heats the Mother Box—the same tool he used to save his son–enough to turn it into a tracking device of sorts.

In Whedon's version, Silas is saved from Steppenwolf and viewers see he and Victor working on their relationship in S.T.A.R. Labs.

Harry Lennix, Man Of Steel

Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

The Big Cameo

Ahead of the Snyder Cut's release, reports surfaced that there was a major cameo at the end of the movie that would delight DC fans. While many believed it could be Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern, the Deadpool actor shot down that theory on Twitter. And he wasn't lying.

It ended up being Martian Manhunter—a Green Martin capable of shapeshifting, telepathy, telekinesis and flight, to name a few abilities—who had previously impersonated Secretary Calvin Swanwick (Harry Lennix) in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the oft-overlooked character had never been seen in his real alien form.  

That all changes in this Justice League, as MM (whose real name is J'onn J'onzz) takes on the form of Martha Kent (Diane Lane), checking in with a distraught Lois Lane earlier in the film, and, later, Bruce Wayne. It's a move that clearly sets up Martian Manhunter becoming an integral member of the Justice League, just like in the comics..

Joe Manganiello, Deathstroke, Justice League


Deathstroke's Introduction

Joe Manganiello's villain had a small-but-pivotal appearance in the theatrical version, meeting up with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) on his yacht in the end-credit scene to discuss forming their own society.

But now, Deathstroke appears as a major tease to a since-scrapped Batman movie starring and directed by Affleck, with Lex Luthor telling the eye-patched baddie (whose real name is Slade Wilson) that Bruce Wayne was the Caped Crusader.

Manganiello confirmed to Vanity Fair that he was fully signed on for the canceled Batman outing that was supposed to follow Justice League. Now, Robert Pattinson is donning the cape in Matt ReevesThe Batman, set to be released in 2022.

"I was the villain in that. And [after Affleck dropped out in early 2017] I thought, well, that [Justice League] scene's gone. It's not going to exist," he explained. "Then, I remember getting a call from [Warner Bros. copresident of production] Jon Berg at the time, who said, 'Hey, we got Jesse [Eisenberg back as Lex Luthor] and we reshot all of his dialogue. We're teasing a Justice League II. So, we're still going to use it and it's back in the movie.' And I went, 'What?'"

Zack Snyder's Justice League, Henry Cavill


Superman's Suit

After his resurrection, Superman dons a black suit in Snyder's cut and it was a crucial change for the filmmaker.

"I was a big advocate [of the black suit] and [Warner Bros.] were not so much, and we would go back and forth," Snyder told IGN in February. "I said, 'OK, let me just at least do some tests to see if I could put him in the black suit and what it would look like.' We devised a method in which we could easily turn the suit (using the existing suit) into the black-and-silver suit that you see in the movie. We knew exactly how to do it when we went into it and, as I say, it was always my intention to have him in that suit and it's glorious he's in that."

"It was cool, yeah, I got to admit, because the first thing we did was a quick test to make sure that we had all our ducks in a row," he added. "Just seeing it, we all just sat back like, 'Wow, are we really doing this?'"

Zack Snyder's Justice League, Gal Gadot


Two Major Wonder Woman Moments

Cut from Whedon's version, Snyder added back in two empowering moments for Diana. 

The first is an exchange she has with a little girl after Wonder Woman saved her and her classmates in a bank robbery. "Can I be you someday?" the grade-schooler asks, with the lasso-wielding hero superhero responding, "You can be anything you want to be."

The other exchange came during the climactic fight scene with Darkseid, who tells his lackies, "This one is mine," referring to Wonder Woman. "I belong to no one," she replies, heading into battle against the big bad. 

Iris West, Justice League


Barry and Iris' First Meeting

Well, it's about as much of a meet-cute as saving someone's life using your superpowers can be.

Previously cut entirely, Kiersey Clemons finally gets to make her debut as The Flash's main comic book love interest, reporter Iris West.

After bumping into one another on the street and sharing shy smiles and quick glances, Barry's powers are first put on display when Iris is ejected from her car in an accident. (The truck driver was distracted trying to grab his burger off the floor. Talk about Dawson's dad reaching for his fallen ice cream scoop energy!)

Softly and safely lowering to the ground, after pocketing a stray hot dog from a vendor, of course, the speedster quickly runs back to his job interview to be a dog walker, using the stolen snack to comedic effect.

Clemons is set to reprise the role in the Flash's 2022 standalone movie.

Zack Snyders Justice League, Ezra Miller, Jason Mamoa, Ray Fisher


Dasvidaniya, Russian Family

In Whedon's reshoots, the film focused several scenes on a random family sheltering in their home in Russia before The Flash ends up saving them during Steppenwolf's final attack.

Warner Bros., reportedly, was not thrilled with the civilian additions, an anonymous studio executive telling Vanity Fair, "When we got to see what Joss actually did, it was stupefying…the Russian family—so useless and pointless. Everyone knew it. It was so awkward because nobody wanted to admit what a piece of s–t it was."

Another Whedon addition that hit the cutting room floor was the polarizing scene in which the Flash falls atop Wonder Woman. Gadot was reportedly so uncomfortable that Whedon filmed the moment with her stunt double.

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