Whedon didn’t exactly save the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie for Warner Bros. “When we got to see what Joss actually did, it was stupefying,” says a studio executive, who requested anonymity. “Everyone knew it. It was so awkward because nobody wanted to admit what a piece of shit it was.”
Sticks and stones, man. Wow! I know a lot of people who agree with the above quote, and I’m sure that this won’t be the last negative word we hear about Whedon’s version of the superhero spectacle. These harsh words hail from a recent article featured in Vanity Fair, in which special correspondent Anthony Breznican speaks with director Zack Snyder about why he stepped away from the Warner Bros. and DC film, Justice League, in 2017.
“We just lost the will to fight that fight in a lot of ways,” says Snyder, with regard to him and his wife Deborah exiting the production of Justice League after their 20-year-old daughter Autumn, who had been struggling with a long bout of depression, committed suicide. In addition to being grieve-stricken by their unfathomable loss, Snyder says he was battling for control of the film, which felt like a hollow battle amidst larger, more personal concerns.
“We just lost the will to fight that fight in a lot of ways,” says Synder. “All of us, the whole family, we’re just so broken by [losing Autumn] that having those conversations in the middle of it really became…I was like, ‘Really?’ Frankly I think we did the right thing because I think it would’ve been either incredibly belligerent or we just rolled over.”
One of the core conflicts Snyder encountered while making Justice League was executives voicing concerns about the length of the film. Frustratingly, the director found himself under an order to “make it shorter,” and that constraint did not bode well for his ultimate vision.
“How am I supposed to introduce six characters and an alien with potential for world domination in two hours? I mean, I can do it, it can be done. Clearly, it was done,” says Snyder, referring to Whedon’s version. “But I didn’t see it.”
When Snyder left Warner Bros., he took his laptop with him, which contained his original, nearly four-hour version of Justice League. While the film was to be handed off to Whedon, Snyder would often show the footage to people as a fun what-if exercise. “We would just show it to random people who stopped by, like our friends or whatever,” says Snyder.
When a deal to release Snyder’s version of the film was originally agreed upon, the studio only wanted to use the director’s raw footage, and refrain from shelling out several millions of dollars to get it done properly.
“I was like, ‘That’s a no, that’s a hard no…,” Snyder explained to Vanity Fair. “Here’s why. Three reasons: One, you get the internet off your back, which is probably your main reason for wanting to do this. Two, you get to feel vindicated for making things right, I guess, on some level. And then three, you get a shitty version of the movie that you can point at and go, ‘See? It’s not that good anyway. So maybe I was right.’ I was like, ‘No chance. I would rather just have the Snyder cut be a mythical unicorn for all time.’”
“At the end of the movie, it says ‘For Autumn,’” Snyder says. “Without her, this absolutely would not have happened.” This is my favorite quote from VF’s interview because, at the end of all the noise, it comes down to healing, and honoring the memory of a loved one. That’s a damn fine reason to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
For more on Zack Snyder’s Justice League, including how the completed film is for his daughter, first and foremost, be sure to check out Vanity Fair’s full interview.