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Zack Snyder's long-anticipated Justice League cut is now streaming on HBO Max — and it's all thanks to the fans

By Alexia Fernández
March 18, 2021 03:39 PM
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Jason Momoa (Aquaman / Arthur Curry), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince / Wonder Woman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg / Victor Stone) Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Credit: HBO MAX

The long wait for Zack Snyder's Justice League is finally over.

On Thursday, the four-hour-long film debuted on HBO Max years after fans began an online movement, urging Warner Bros. to release director Zack Snyder's version of the film following his exit as director in 2017.

Snyder, 55, originally helmed Justice League but left in the middle of filming following the death of his daughter Autumn by suicide. At the time, the director and his wife, producer Deborah Snyder, were reported as stepping away from filming to grieve the loss with their family. 

In January, Snyder told the Los Angeles Times his decision to leave the film was also in part because he "was kind of done" with fighting Warner Bros. to keep his creative vision intact after the death of Autumn. 

Zack Snyder, Autumn Snyder
Zack Snyder, Autumn Snyder
| Credit: Michael Stewart/Getty; Zack Snyder/Twitter

"Literally, zero energy for that," he said. "I really think that's the main thing. I think there's a different world where I stayed and kind of tried. And I'm sure I could have… because every movie is a fight, right? I was used to that. But… there was no fight in me."

He added, "I had been beaten by what was going on in my life and I just didn't want to, I didn't care to… that was kind of where I was." 

Warner Bros. hired The Avengers director Joss Whedon to take over directing duties, leading to major changes in the storyline that would disappoint the DC fandom. 

The online social movement, #ReleasetheSnyderCut, was born out of fans' desires to see Snyder's original version of the film after they felt they were misled by the Warner Bros. production president at the time, Toby Emmerich. He told The Hollywood Reporter that Whedon's directing would be "minimal" and that the film would "adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set." 

What was released in theaters was so far off from Snyder's vision that his wife and good friend, director Christopher Nolan, advised him, "You can never see that movie," as Snyder recalled in a recent interview with Vanity Fair

"Because I knew it would break his heart," Deborah told the outlet. 

Ciarán Hinds (Steppenwolf)Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Credit: HBO MAX

The #ReleasetheSnyderCut movement was unprecedented in its power in Hollywood and received support from stars Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck who play Wonder Woman and Batman in the film. 

In May 2020, almost three years to the day of Snyder's exit, fans' efforts paid off when Warner Bros. announced it would release Snyder's original version of the film on its new streaming platform, HBO Max.

Snyder thanked the fans who supported his vision with making the redo a reality.

"I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality," said Snyder in a statement at the time. 

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In this new iteration of the superhero flick, Snyder has completed a four-hour-long extravaganza that reunites Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman.

Dedicated to Autumn, Snyder told PEOPLE earlier this week the journey to releasing Zack Snyder's Justice League was "a really cathartic" one for him and his wife. 

Deborah added the fan involvement in bringing their version of the film to life was "quite historic."

"That actually, a big corporation would listen to what they had to say. It was interesting for us too to see them grow," she said. "And as every activation, it started with bus stops at Comic-Con, and then it was airplanes over Warner Bros, and then it was big, giant billboards and jumbotrons in Times Square. They just kept upping the ante and they wouldn't take no for an answer."

Now that the film is out and available to stream, Snyder told Variety "the four-hour version of the movie is exactly the way I would have made the movie if I made it with zero oversight."

With that in mind, how does one go about watching a four-hour-long film? 

For those not willing or able to sit down for that length of time, HBO Max has created indentations in the timeline for the film, so audiences can click on each chapter of it. 

Bearing that in mind, Snyder himself compared watching his film to binging four hours of TV.

"I didn't contemplate [the run time] because I knew that binge culture is 100% fine with watching four episodes of a one-hour show back-to-back," he told Variety

Inverse, which covers technology, science and culture, has also suggested watching it in "chapters" and has broken down the film into segments of 20-minutes, 30-minutes and 40 minutes. 

Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max. 

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.