Snyder and the streaming service announced in May that they were giving the director a second chance to recut the theatrical release of “Justice League” complete with new material, characters and reshoots. The film, which is now expected to be four hours long, teams popular heroes like Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Cyborg against villains Steppenwolf, Darkseid and The Joker — the latter two did not make it into the film’s theatrical release.
Both, however, were featured heavily in the first official trailer for the movie. Steppenwolf, meanwhile, was given a bit of an upgrade via CGI to look even more menacing than he did in the first version of the film. The heroes, however, look largely the same.
The trailer sees Batman, played by Ben Affleck, rally his fellow heroes after having a premonition that a great villainous power is headed to Earth with average people being powerless to stop it.
The movie, which originally came out in 2017, was largely maligned by fans and critics alike. Snyder directed the DC Comics action film but stepped away during post-production to deal with a tragic death in his family. Joss Whedon was brought on to conduct reshoots and finish the film, but his presence led to further behind-the-scenes controversy.
As a result, fans began clamoring to allow Snyder to produce a director’s cut of “Justice League” to take another crack at bringing the legendary heroes to life.
“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,” the director said at the time (via People).
The film marks an unprecedented opportunity for the director to get a second shot at making a movie with a highly anticipated release, even if it’s just on streaming. HBO Max has been somewhat of a pioneer for major releases amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Months after announcing that an essentially new version of “Justice League” would be put up on the platform this coming March, it was revealed that Warner Bros. entire slate of 2021 movies would debut both in theaters and on the streaming service.
The move was a bold step during a time when most studios are pushing the release dates of major tentpoles back to 2022 when hopes are higher that the pandemic will be under control as vaccines roll out and theaters are able to open up again.
Its first foray into this new distribution platform was another installment in the DC Comics universe, “Wonder Woman: 1984,” which dominated the box office anyway despite also being available for free to HBO Max subscribers.