The long-clamored for #SnyderCut of Justice League, dubbed Zack Snyder’s Justice League, has finally been released (check out our spoiler-free and spoiler-filled reviews) generating enough buzz to spark rumors that Warner Bros was interested enough to explore follow ups in the SnyderVerse.
These follow ups, as we’ve learned from this interview with Vanity Fair, stem from the fact that Snyder had always intended for Justice League to be the midpoint of a five-film story arc.
“When I made the film originally, it was part of a five-part trilogy. ” Snyder told Vanity Fair. His new version of Justice League, which debuted on HBO Max today, is as actually the middle section of that intended story arc, preceded by Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. “There were two more episodes of the Justice League to be shot.”
Snyder even got DC Comics legend Jim Lee to collaborate with him, revealing, “Jim Lee had done some drawings for me of the entire thing, the entire pantheon all the way to the new Batman after Batman dies.”
Snyder catches himself, adding, “Well, this is a spoiler,” before explaining how the rest of the SnyderVerse story would have unfolded leading up to Batman’s death.
Deathstroke v Batman
Towards the end of Justice League, we see Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor escape from an insane asylum and reveal that Batman is actually Bruce Wayne to Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke. As Manganiello explained in detail to Vanity Fair, this scene was originally meant to set up Deathstroke as the Big Bad for the now-cancelled Ben Affleck Batman stand-alone film. It now instead sets up the final Knightmare sequence, where Batman and Deathstroke are working together in the apocalypse.
Letting Her Die
The end of Justice League was also supposed to set up the plot of the next Justice League movie. In the final Knightmare sequence, Mera, Cyborg, the Flash and Deathstroke meet up with an unexpected ally: the Joker.
When the meet the Joker, he taunts Batman: “How many dead eyes can you look into before you die inside yourself?” before continuing, “You need me…to help you undo this world you created by letting her die.” Now, who’s this “her” Joker is referring to?
Justice League 2
As Flash said to Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman, the key was always Lois Lane. In the next Justice League, Snyder explained, “Darkseid comes to Earth. Superman says to Batman, ‘Guard Lois. This is a war between me and Darkseid. If you can help me as a friend, keep Lois safe.’” Unfortunately, Lex Luthor joins Darkseid and reveals that Superman’s can be exploited by killing Lois Lane. Snyder goes on, “For whatever reason, Batman fails. Darkseid comes back and kills Lois. Batman fails, he hesitates. They were in an argument.”
Batman then becomes plagued by guilt for not being able to save Lois and with her gone, Superman is heartbroken and loses the will to fight. Darkseid is then able to seize control of Superman, who goes on to kill Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the others, creating the Knightmare post-apocalyptic reality seen in the heroes’ visions. According to Snyder, “The world falls because Superman succumbs to the Anti-Life Equation, and that’s it. That’s what the post-apocalyptic world is: Superman just searching for Batman to kill him to get his revenge for the death of Lois.” This then sets up the fifth and final film in the story arc.
Justice League 3
The final Justice League movie would have then sought to resolve the post-apocalyptic reality by turning to time travel and the multiverse. This is where the Joker’s cryptic question to Batman in the epilogue, “I often wonder, in how many alternate timelines do you destroy the world because, frankly, you don’t have the cajones to die yourself?” as well as the Flash come in.
Snyder’s plan was to use the Mother Boxes to reboot the Knightmare reality in the final film. He said, “What happens in the post-apocalyptic world is, Cyborg works on an equation to use a Mother Box to jump Flash back in time to warn Bruce about this moment, where he didn’t have the courage to sacrifice himself to save Lois.” This is where we jump back to that moment in Batman v Superman where Bruce Wayne sees the Flash appear briefly to him from a portal.
Now knowing what to do, Bruce Wayne rises to the occasion: “So in that moment, he does the right thing and sacrifices himself.” Batman’s death saves Lois and sets things right throughout reality. Superman remains free from the Anti-Life Equation and joins the Flash to lead humanity’s forces against Darkseid in the final battle. They are joined by Aquaman and his Atlantean forces as well as Wonder Woman and the Amazons of Themyscira. In the aftermath of the epic war, the good guys finally emerge victorious.
But wait, there’s more…
Snyder then reveals that, at the end of the #SnyderCut, “Lois is pregnant at the end of the movie,” pointing to a pregnancy test that can be seen in her nightstand. Snyder was able to keep that plot point in, even though Warner Bros. wanted it cut: “…They made me not do it, originally. But I got it in.”
Snyder’s story arc concludes with a new Batman taking over Bruce Wayne’s legacy. According to Snyder, “It was going to be Lois and Superman’s son. He doesn’t have any powers, and then he was going to end up being the new Batman.” There would have been a scene in which Clark Kent and Lois Lane their now grown son to a familiar location and ask him to pick up the crusade of their fallen friend.
“Twenty years later, on the anniversary of [Batman’s] death, they take young Bruce Kent down to the Batcave and they say, ‘Your Uncle Bruce would’ve been proud if you did this,’” Snyder said.
“Anyway,” he added, “Something like that.”
It’s a fascinating vision, but no one knows how or if any of this would ever seen the light of day. Then again, rumors say that Warner Bros may be interested and – as Snyder himself remarked: “I didn’t think I’d be here talking about [a restored] Justice League, so never say never.”
Never say never, indeed.