Anyone with an Internet connection is probably aware of the massive #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement that swept social media in the wake of 2017’s Justice League. The short version of the saga is: director Zack Snyder stepped down from Justice League after a family tragedy and was replaced by Joss Whedon. The finished film turned out to have hardly any resemblance to Snyder’s original vision, so a passionate campaign was launched to release Snyder’s version of the movie.
That campaign has led to the Snyder Cut – officially titled Zack Snyder’s Justice League – getting an HBO Max release. This won’t just be a re-edited version of the original, though. Snyder is directing new scenes and bringing back actors, including Amber Heard as Mera, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and even Jared Leto as Joker. The result will be a four-part series that could change the DCEU (that’s DC Extended Universe) forever.
The Snyder Cut opens the door to a huge array of storytelling possibilities, thanks partly to the multiverse. The series will take place on an alternate timeline to the previous Justice League, while Matt Reeves’ The Batman is set in an entirely separate universe. Without having to fall into a set canon, these projects can prioritise storytelling over setting up future events, which makes the DC universe immediately very attractive to writers and sets it apart from Marvel.
Then there’s the fact the Snyder Cut will be on HBO Max, a streaming platform that offers even more storytelling options. Already, John Cena’s Peacemaker has a The Suicide Squad spin-off in the works, and a prequel series to The Batman focusing on Gotham’s police department has been announced. And that’s without including Warner Brothers’ non-DCEU shows, including J.J. Abrams’ Justice League Dark, the Green Lantern series, and even the likes of the Harley Quinn animated series and the ongoing Titans.
That’s already a sizable staple of DC shows on the streamer, but there’s plenty of potential to go further. Ben Affleck’s reprising his role of Batman in The Flash, as well as returning for additional photography for Justice League. Might he be planning on picking up the cape and cowl again on a more permanent basis? A miniseries with Affleck’s Batman going up against Deathstroke (also returning for the Snyder Cut) would be an ideal candidate for the streamer – and the story’s already written as that was the initial plan for Batman before Affleck initially renounced the role. Let’s take this one step further: what if HBO Max revived the Deathstroke movie? That would certainly have everyone excited.
There are plenty of already announced DC movies that seem to have quietly slid from the spotlight that could get a second chance on HBO Max. David Ayer’s Gotham City Sirens, Chris McKay’s Nightwing, the solo Cyborg movie with Fisher, and Batgirl (originally set to be written and directed by Whedon before he left the project) all seem to be floundering somewhere in development hell, but could flourish on HBO Max.
That’s not to mention characters who could carry their own series. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is universally loved, and though Birds of Prey wasn’t a box office smash, the movie was well-liked. No-one would say no to a Birds of Prey series on HBO Max, if they could snag Robbie for a TV series.
With HBO Max, DC has the opportunity to create a sprawling content slate across film and TV – and that certainly doesn’t mean ditching cinemas. There’s the potential for these series to enhance the big-screen outings, but with the multiverse, not everything has to be precisely linked. There’s a lot of room for experimentation – something that’s been lacking from Marvel’s slate so far. There’s a lot of potential, so here’s hoping DC and HBO Max make full use of it.
If you fancy a DCEU marathon, check out our guide on how to watch DC movies in order.