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Zack Snyder's Justice League: release date, cast, runtime, and new trailer

Zack Snyder Justice League
(Image credit: Warner Bros/DC)

The wait for Zack Snyder's Justice League, the fabled director's cut of the DC ensemble movie, is nearly over. The movie is heading to HBO Max in March – all four hours of it – but what's so different about this version compared to Joss Whedon's theatrical cut? Well, we're here to inform you about all the changes we know about, including a deep dive into a certain new scene with Jared Leto's Joker.

Plus, there's a new trailer out now, which has succeeded in getting us even more excited for the Snyder Cut with brand new glimpses of our favorite heroes and villains in action. It's been a long time coming, with the theatrical cut hitting the big screen back in 2017. While we wait out these last few weeks, read on to find out everything we know so far about Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Zack Snyder's Justice League release date is March

justice league snyder cut release date

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

Zack Snyder's Justice League is out on March 18 on HBO Max. But what about those who don’t have HBO Max? The movie will be available on PVOD services on the same day in most territories – excluding China, France, and Japan. More details on specific PVOD services will be available follow soon. 

The final Justice League Snyder Cut trailer is here

It’s finally here – the final Zack Snyder's Justice League trailer has dropped. We see Superman shooting lasers from his eyes, Batman calling for the age of superheroes, Steppenwolf reaching for a Motherbox, and our first look at Jared Leto's Joker since Suicide Squad. The tattoos are gone, for one thing. But, most importantly, he finally says it. That's right, Leto utters those long-awaited words: "We live in a society." A long-running meme, Joker had never actually said those words before. Until now, of course – and the internet lost it.

Of course, there was the first trailer, too, set to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," (best known to Snyder fans as the awkward sex song from Watchmen). The homeworld of Darkseid takes center stage at the beginning, followed by another nightmarish vision of the Earth falling and the Hall of Justice lying in ruins. Then, we get glimpses of the Justice League themselves, including a deleted scene from Cyborg’s playing days as a member of the Gotham City Wildcats.

Perhaps the biggest talking point, though, is Black Suit Superman. Previously glimpsed at JusticeCon, the Man of Steel’s darker get-up will be present post-resurrection instead of his iconic red and blue.

Then, a series of shots – some from Justice League itself and some on the cutting room floor – of the group fighting Steppenwolf’s forces. It’ll be fascinating to see how much of Snyder’s vision made its way into the 2017 theatrical release, but this certainly is going to be 100% his vision.

Justice League Snyder Cut cast

zack snyder's justice league cast

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

With Jared Leto's recent casting as Joker, the sky's the limit when it comes to new characters in the Snyder Cut. And in case you accidentally glossed over what you just read, let me repeat: Jared Leto is returning as Joker in Zack Snyder's Justice League. I'll let you process that for a minute.

We recently learned that several actors including Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) are returning to shoot additional scenes for the Snyder Cut. Amber Heard is also back as Mera. But now we know new actors and characters from other series are being added to the cast. That carries massive implications about how different Snyder's vision really is from the original 2017 Justice League. That includes Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke, who even showed off his new look recently.

Among the other actors who have shown up so far in trailers and other material include Jeremy Irons (Alfred), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), and Ciaran Hinds (Steppenwolf). It’s also expected that J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon will also be included, while Robin Wright’s Antiope – also showed up in the recent trailer. Steppenwolf's design, though, has been changed - because the original was too scary.

But it’s not called Zack Snyder’s Justice League for no good reason. There are new additions coming to the cast thanks to the director going in a different direction with some of the characters and scenes at play.

Ray Porter is set to appear as Darkseid, while Kiersey Clemons is seemingly back as Iris West. Snyder even teased an appearance from Martian Manhunter.

Intriguingly, a villain named DeSaad has been spotted in the trailer but it’s not yet known who voices Darkseid’s right-hand man. For more on the villain, here's a handy guide to DeSaad.

Snyder Cut runtime

Zack Snyder Justice League

(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC)

We don’t know exactly how long the Justice League Snyder Cut runtime is going to be down to the very minute, but we have a very good ballpark figure courtesy of Zack Snyder. It's going to be one four-hour movie. However, there is unlikely to be a post-credits scene. We'll have to make do with only four hours. Bah.

Snyder is pretty well-known for his director's cuts often reaching lengthy runtimes. His ultimate Batman v Superman cut lasted 183 minutes, while the Watchmen director's cut was 214 minutes. Justice League tops all that, amounting to roughly 240 minutes, despite plans for the original supposedly being around two hours according to Snyder. Double the Justice League, double the fun? We'll find out soon.

Justice League Snyder Cut story differences: deleted scenes and more changes from Joss Whedon's version

black suit superman in Zack Snyder's Justice League

(Image credit: HBO Max/Warner Bros./DC)

Over the years, there have been several allusions to the Justice League Snyder Cut being radically different to the ones we ended up with. Here are just some of the highlights.

We're getting Black Suit Superman and even a different opening featuring the Man of Steel. Snyder said the third frame of the Snyder Cut trailer (which you can see above) is actually the opening for the movie and is a look at Superman's death in Batman v. Superman from another angle.

There's even the likelihood of this being a far grittier version of Justice League. So much so, in fact, that Zack Snyder expects it to get an R rating for violence and profanity. Batman even throws down an f-bomb at one point.

Around the time of Justice League’s release, several deleted scenes surfaced on the web. They included Barry saving Iris West and several cut Cyborg scenes, indicating he had a much larger part to play in Snyder’s vision, all of which have seemingly been confirmed since. Iris West will appear in the Snyder Cut, while new Cyborg scenes have been shown.

Expect far more of Ray Fisher's Cyborg, too. He said only one Snyder-shot scene featuring his character made it into the 2017 theatrical release. There's even a chance we could find out more about Robin's fate in the DCEU after Snyder 'liked' a theory explaining the Boy Wonder's demise.

Perhaps the most famous example of a Justice League deleted scene is where Superman meets Alfred. The line from Irons’ character “He said you’d come” had many believing Green Lantern would appear in the movie, though the scene – readily available online – shows it was the Man of Steel who turns up.

Generally, though, it's going to be a big departure from Joss Whedon's theatrical release. Snyder has even said he won't be using a certain line from the 2017 version because it "literally makes no sense." And with news of new characters cropping up from scrapped scenes and Leto as a new actor altogether shooting scenes, there will surely be challenges and dangers for the Justice League that they didn't face in Joss Whedon's movie.

What is the Snyder Cut? A brief timeline

Justice League Snyder Cut

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

Unless you’ve been following the fan petitions, the flyovers, and the many, many hashtags, you might not have a firm grasp on what exactly the Snyder Cut is and why people care so much. In essence, it existed as a Schrodinger’s Cut – it both exists and doesn’t exist depending on who you talk to.

It’s unclear how much in the way of production Zack Snyder completed before departing Justice League after a personal tragedy back in 2017. What is certain is that he left, and was replaced as director by Joss Whedon.

While Justice League ended up being more of a slapped-together version of Zack Snyder’s work and Whedon’s pickups and reshoots, word started to spread that a mythical “Snyder Cut” – a radically different version of Justice League – was at the very least planned, if not filmed in some way and left on the cutting room floor by Warner Bros’ executives.

Whatever the reality of the situation, the swell of feeling towards Zack Snyder’s version eventually led to a Snyder Cut movement – one bolstered by a petition that gained 180,000 signatures. From there, those clamouring for the Snyder Cut grew in number, even organising a flypast at SDCC 2019 and getting #ReleaseTheSnyderCut to trend on Twitter worldwide on several occasions.

Then, more teases started to ramp up speculation. Most notably, Snyder’s none-too-cryptic post on social media site Vero (via EW), not only seemingly showing a physical film canister containing the cut, but also a 214-minute runtime.

Which led us to May 20, 2020. During a Man of Steel Watch Party, Snyder revealed that – after literal years of speculation, whispers, and rumors – the Snyder Cut is real and will be coming to HBO Max at some point in 2021. 

What else can we expect from the Snyder Cut?

justice league snyder cut

(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC)

The first big insider report concerning the Snyder Cut came from THR, which outlined the future of the project. That included a possible $30m budget (a number that HBO Max Bob Greenblatt said is actually less than what is being spent) as well as the potential for the Snyder Cut to be a four-hour Justice League movie or for it to be split into a six-episode miniseries. Then reports emerged that it would be a four-part series, and then reports claimed it would cost nearer to $70m. 

So, where’s that money going? The Wrap suggested it’s “for special effects, for scoring, and even ADR” but there will be “no reshoots of any kind.” That was later proven false, as Jared Leto filmed additional scenes as the Joker, and later it was confirmed that it will be a movie, not a series.

Snyder Cut Justice-Con round-up: Black Suit Superman, Wonder Woman deleted scene, and Zack Snyder on using Joss Whedon's work

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

We said this is everything we know. That includes Justice-Con, a fan event maybe missed by the masses. The fan-hosted event took place across the weekend of July 25-26 and featured several big Snyder Cut stories. Not least of all was Zack Snyder talking about whether his version of Justice League would be 100% his work.

"I would set it on fire before I use a single frame that I did not photograph."I would literally blow that fucking thing up," he said during his panel.

On a more positive note, we got a first glimpse of the black-suited Superman in action. In the clip, he swoops down and meets Jeremy Irons' Alfred. 

That's everything you need to know about Zack Snyder's Justice League. For more, check out how to watch the DC movies in order before the new movie finally arrives.

GamesRadar+'s Entertainment Writer. Lover of all things Nintendo, in a tortured love/hate relationship with Crystal Palace, and also possesses an unhealthy knowledge of The Simpsons (which is of no use at parties).