Zack Snyder’s Justice League is one of the most talked-about sagas in the turbulent world of superhero movies. Fans and Snyder himself were in shock over what happened to this massive project—from its early excitement to its devastating aftermath. Rather than fighting for the Justice League, the Army of the Dead director decided to concentrate on his family’s recovery. However, after losing all creative control over his 2017 $657.9 million film, he felt deeply “betrayed” by WB during his “darkest time”.
Snyder’s distinct storytelling style was evident in films such as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And not to forget, his resurrected Snyder Cut of Justice League (Zack Snyder’s Justice League) promised to be his magnum opus under his direction. However, tragedy struck the filmmaker’s life during the filming of Justice League when he lost his daughter unexpectedly. This calamitous event cast a pall over the project, forcing him to step away from the director’s chair.
This, understandably, resulted in significant changes in the film’s creative direction.
How Zack Snyder Felt During His ‘Darkest Time’ After Losing Creative Control Over Justice League?
While Zack Snyder was mourning the loss of his daughter, Warner Bros. took advantage of the opportunity to significantly alter the Justice League. They hired Joss Whedon, who instilled his own style in the film and significantly altered Snyder’s original vision. As a result, the 2017 film received mixed critical reviews and failed to connect with die-hard fans who had been anticipating Snyder’s version.
Snyder recently opened up to Wired about some painful thoughts he was having at the time:
“Yeah, during postproduction, and I found no solace in the work. The life I created for myself was of no comfort to this other experience. You know, if we’re honest with ourselves, in what we pursue, we hope that pursuit will have some catharsis for us in the struggles that we have in our lives. And I just think that was the darkest time, because I felt like I turned to the thing that I love and it turned its back on me as well.”
With the release of the Snyder Cut, which gave the filmmaker the redemption he had long sought, cinematic history underwent a sea change. The fan base was ecstatic to see Snyder’s true creative vision return. With its four-hour epic, which received overwhelmingly positive reviews and established Snyder as a visionary filmmaker, Zack Snyder’s Justice League became an international phenomenon.
WB Made Zack Snyder Feel ‘Betrayed’: What Drew Him Back to Filmmaking?
With Justice League, Zack Snyder undoubtedly experienced both great highs and terrible lows. In his lowest moments, he felt betrayed by Warner Bros., which clouded his creative pursuits. The filmmaker believed that the production of Justice League was the same as being “betrayed”. He told Wired:
“The fan movement of wanting to know what Justice League was supposed to be, that was cathartic. Because [the making of Justice League] was that exact same thing that had betrayed me. And then being able to dedicate the movie to Autumn.”
In 2017, the director announced that he would be leaving the project in the middle of production due to the suicide of his 20-year-old daughter (via PEOPLE). Though Snyder initially returned, Joss Whedon took over as director for the rest of the film to allow Snyder to grieve.
Snyder explained why he could not continue working on the film in an interview with CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell.
“I just was kind of done with it. I was in this place of [knowing] my family needs me more than this bulls—, and I just need to honor them and do the best I can to heal that world. I had no energy to fight [the studio], and fight for [the movie]. Literally, zero energy for that.”
The release of the Snyder Cut, on the other hand, signaled a redemption unlike any other, proving that Snyder’s creative genius had never truly died. The excitement that fans have for his upcoming endeavors proves that extraordinary things can come from perseverance in the face of hardship.
His next film, Rebel Moon, will open in limited theaters on December 15, 2023.
Watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League on Max.