BY MATT TUCK
After a month of hashtags and public outcry, are we any closer to the Snyderverse being restored? Two recent cancellations lend for interesting discussion.
The DCEU has been the talk of Hollywood for the past month and a half. After the Snydercut reinvigorated the cinematic brand, it added newfound attention to DC’s other projects in the works. Most notable among those has been Ava DuVernay and Tom King’s New Gods since it revolved around the characters of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, and it could have been assumed that Darkseid would have played a key role in the movie.
The big question was whether or not that film would have been tied into 2017’s Justice League. Specifically, would this be the same Darkseid from the Snyder Cut that fans drooled over? We may never know as both New Gods and The Trench were dropped off the slate. Advocates of #RestoretheSnyderverse saw those cancellations as a ray of hope that Darkseid is now fully in the hands of Zack Snyder for his Justice League trilogy.
No question, Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League set the comic world on fire. The four-hour epic gave us a much broader and personal look at the characters, and it particularly elevated Ray Fisher’s portrayal of Cyborg to arguably the star of the movie. And to think that at one point, fans admonished Snyder’s vision of the DCEU for being too dark and moody.
Back when Man of Steel and Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters, the most common complaint was that they were too dark, both thematically and visually. While the films had their core audiences who wanted a departure from the family-friendly Marvel atmosphere, the general consensus was that moviegoers wanted an MCU experience.
Enter: Joss Whedon’s Avengers-style take on Justice League. Mainstream audiences wanted more Whedon-esque campy fun, and WB delivered by inserting him into the directorial role after Snyder had to step away from the project due to a personal tragedy in his life. What we got was a Frankenstein’s monster of a movie that has reached mythical levels of infamy. JL bombed so hard that it nearly killed the DCEU.
If it had not been for the success of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam!, there likely would not be a DCEU as we know it. Those films were strikingly different in tone and mood from Snyder’s Superman entries, and it has seemingly set the pace for the future of the DCEU. The path seemed clear until WB gave in to the Snyder fans and agreed to let him finish his version of JL. The film has been such a massive success on HBO Max that it has left fans demanding more.
Despite the onslaught of #RestoretheSnyderverse on Twitter and across social media, WB executive Ann Sarnoff has made it clear: the Snyder trilogy of MOS, BVS, and JL has been completed, and there will not be a Justice League sequel. Of course, WB said this about the Snyder Cut, too, and that is what fans cling to when things look grim for the Snyderverse.
NEW GODS IMPLICATIONS
Just as the Snyder Cut campaign did for four years, the #RestoretheSnydercut movement has gained celebrity attention. Among the millions of fan voices, Hollywood’s current action-movie A-lister, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has given his support to the Snyderverse. The producer and star of DC’s upcoming Black Adam has reportedly suggested that he would like to produce a true Man of Steel sequel with Henry Cavill reprising the lead role.
Still, Sarnoff and WB have yet to even hint publicly that they are reconsidering having Snyder direct another JL movie. That brings us to those cancellations.
With New Gods and The Trench getting the axe, there has been a large contingency of Snyderverse fans who saw this as a cue that WB is mulling a departure from their current DCEU plans. The logic is that since Snyder would have his own path for Darkseid and other key parts of the Fourth World characters, development of New Gods was stopped in favor of Snyder using them for his JL sequels.
The other part of this has been the persistent rumors of Snyderverse spinoffs. For the past year, there has been a slew of unconfirmed reports that Ben Affleck and Jared Leto have signed multi-film contracts for more Batfleck adventures on HBO Max. That has been reinforced with Affleck having been announced for The Flash, though nothing official has been stated about anything further for Affleck and the DCEU.
THE SAD TRUTH
As much as I enjoyed the Snyder Cut as well as MOS and BVS, this is the end of the line for the Snyderverse. The director has stated in the past that he is finished making superhero movies, at least for the time being, and WB seems fully vested in the Justice Society of America being the new direction for the DCEU.
When it comes to those cancellations, The Trench never gained much traction to begin with, and New Gods had been languishing in development purgatory for years. When Ava DuVernay moved on to bringing Naomi to the small screen, it was clear that the project was going nowhere. It was only a matter of time before it was officially dropped.
Unfortunately for all of the Snyderverse fans out there, myself included, there is nothing that indicates a link between those two cancellations and the further adventures of Zack Snyder in the DCEU. The only thing I could see changing the landscape and shifting things back to the Snyderverse would be if the upcoming slate of DC movies is a failure, then the WB executives may be willing to reconsider their stance on things. As it stands, I still firmly believe we are getting the Justice Society and not more Justice League.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.