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Justice League Snyder Cut: first teaser, cast news, runtime and a mini-history of the 2021 HBO Max release

justice league snyder cut
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Whisper it, but the Justice League Snyder Cut could be one of 2021’s biggest releases. Not only does Zack Snyder’s pet project come off the back of a swell of fan-led support, but it could also drastically change the dynamics on just how much an audience has a say in what movies they want to see.

But it’s been a long road to get here. If you’re new to the Snyder Cut phenomenon, or just want a refresher, we’ve got a brief history on everything from its humble beginnings to its HBO Max rebirth.

Alongside that is a guide on all things Snyder Cut. The film is under a shroud of secrecy so far, so we’ve been digging up some of the biggest news and (hopefully) opened up a Mother Box’s worth of surprises and secrets down below. That includes cast news, the presence of Darkseid, the first teaser trailer, and even J.K. Simmons talking about runtimes. Let’s ring that bell and find out everything you need to know about the Snyder Cut.

Snyder Cut runtime not yet confirmed but J.K. Simmons says it will be "long"

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

Zack 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 215 minutes. 

We don't know how long the Snyder Cut is going to be yet, but we can expect a similar ballpark. J.K. Simmons, who played Commissioner Gordon in the movie (and may yet have a larger part to play in the 2021 re-release), told THR: "The one thing I do know for sure is that it will be long, because he's got a lot of stuff that he wants to get in there."

First Snyder Cut teaser trailer shows off Wonder Woman and Darkseid

Welp. Jason Momoa might be the DC equivalent of Tom Holland. That's because he released a sneak peek at the first footage from the Snyder Cut, perhaps a little earlier than planned.

Featuring Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman going face to face with a mural of Darkseid, the Snyder Cut preview is backed by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and his foreboding words from Batman v Superman post-credits scene. “The bell has already been rung,” he says, hinting that the arrival of the forces of Apokolips is imminent. You can watch the clip above.

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 exists 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 rumours, the Snyder Cut is real and will be coming to HBO Max at some point in 2021. Phew.

What can we expect from the Snyder Cut?

justice league snyder cut

(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC)

Don’t expect a whole new movie built from the ground up. Or maybe not even a movie at all.

The first big insider report concerning the Snyder Cut came from THR, which outlined the future of the project. That includes 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. Either way, Greenblatt said it’ll be a “radical rethinking.”

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.”

Snyder, then, will be working with what he’s already got in terms of filmed scenes, though he’ll be able to introduce special effects and new voice lines from the cast members. The scope of those changes remains to be seen, though Snyder said during the announcement that “you probably saw one-fourth of what I did.” He later unequivocally said his vision of the movie will have "no compromises" and revealed he's currently working on VFX.

Justice League Snyder Cut release date is "early-to-mid" 2021

justice league snyder cut

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

Unlike the journey to get to this point, the Justice League Snyder Cut release date is nice and straightforward: it’s coming at some point in 2021 to HBO Max, though UK viewers may have to see if Sky holds the rights to show the movie/series as the new streaming service currently isn’t available across the pond. We can perhaps expect a release date announcement at August's upcoming DC FanDome event, though HBO Max's Sandra Dewey told Variety that the Snyder Cut will release in "early-to-mid" 2021.

Justice League Snyder Cut cast

Justice League Snyder Cut

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

While there hasn’t been an official announcement on the Justice League Snyder Cut cast, the poster for the project confirms what most of us would have suspected – the original actors ‘return,’ though one other addition may be part of the mix.

That means Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman) Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), and Ezra Miller (Flash) will all appear. The likes of Ciaran Hinds (Steppenwolf), Jeremy Irons (Alfred), JK Simmons (Commissioner Gordon), and Amy Adams (Lois Lane) should all feature.

Two more faces may also crop up. One is Ray Porter, the actor who was set to portray the villain Darkseid in the original cut of Justice League and confirmed as much on Twitter. The other is Harry Lenix, who played Martian Manhunter in disguise as General Swanwick during Man of Steel. There were also rumours Willem Dafoe’s Vulko was originally meant to appear in Justice League – so perhaps his scene could be brought back into the Snyder Cut.

For his part, the Man of Steel himself Henry Cavill said on Variety's Actors on Actors series that "it’ll be Zack’s final vision for the movie, and I don’t know anything more than that."

Justice League Snyder Cut image revealed – and it features Darkseid

justice league snyder cut

(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC)

Here it is, the first official Justice League Snyder Cut image, courtesy of the man himself: Zack Snyder.

What does it tell us? Not much, other than Darkseid is front and centre – which bodes well for those wanting to see the New God in the Snyder Cut, but less so for the Justice League who’ll have to come face to face with him at some point. He’s flanked – presumably on his homeworld of Apokolips – by a legion of ships and weaponry.

Justice League Snyder Cut differences: deleted scenes and more changes

Justice League Snyder Cut

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

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…

According to Kevin Smith (via ComicBookMovie.com), a VFX artist who worked on Justice League said that Martian Manhunter and more than one Green Lantern was supposed to appear, as well as Darkseid.

Snyder even showed off Black Suit Superman in one social media post, where the Man of Steel reflects his darker attitude with a black-and-grey get-up. He also posted to Vero (H/T CinemaBlend) a shot of Willem Dafoe’s Aquaman regent, Vulko alongside Amber Heard’s Mera.

Around the time of Justice League’s release, several deleted scenes surfaced on the web (H/T Screen Rant). They included Barry saving Iris West and several cut Cyborg scenes, indicating he had a much larger part to play in Snyder’s vision.

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.

That’s that… for now. Check back often as more of Zack Snyder’s vision for Justice League comes to light.

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).