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The Justice League Snyder Cut: All the Known Differences From the Theatrical Version

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Between new visuals, character designs, deleted characters and story scenes put back in their proper place, the Snyder Cut of Justice League will make for a more substantial film – one that more reflects director Zack Snyder’s tonal template that began with Man of Steel and continued with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

We won’t fully know how different this new iteration of the film is from the theatrical version of Justice League until it hits HBO Max on March 18, but with IGN’s FanFest — which will include an exclusive panel with Snyder himself — just around the corner, what better time to take a new, updated look at what differences the Snyder Cut will offer…

Justice League Snyder Cut: All the Known Differences From the Theatrical Version

Jared Leto Will Return as The Joker

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While Jared Leto’s version of The Joker was thought to be a thing of the past, particularly in the wake of Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning turn as the character in a solo standalone film, the actor will return to the role for the Snyder Cut of Justice League. The Joker was a non-presence in the theatrical cut of the film, but he will now appear in a new sequence set on the ruined Earth after Darkseid has invaded the planet (as seen in Bruce Wayne’s “Knightmare” vision in BvS). And it seems as though he might actually be working with Batman!

Visuals and Aspect Ratio

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This might be the least flashy element of the souped-up Snyder Cut, but the color of the orange-red sky seen during the theatrical release’s end battle will be changed. While earlier reports said the film itself will utilize a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, we now know that Snyder shot the film specifically for a full-frame look in 1.33:1. This aspect ratio is similar to that of IMAX screens, which the director fell for after shooting some IMAX footage for Batman v Superman. There’s also a black & white version of the film that Snyder is calling the “Justice Is Grey” but, but there’s no word yet on when or if that might be released.

Darkseid

Yes, uber-baddie Darkseid, played by Ray Porter, will be a part of the movie now. Always intended as the evil lurking behind the scenes, controlling Steppenwolf’s assault on Earth, Darkseid will now be featured in the movie. Diana will see him depicted in an ancient mural and then, it seems, the flashback will now show us Darkseid leading the parademons against the Greek gods, perhaps as his pre-Darkseid version Uxas. We’ve also spotted other glimpses of him in the trailers, at one point alongside another familiar face from the comics — Granny Goodness!

More Knightmare

Zack Snyder’s Justice League will continue the “Knightmare future” storyline that Bruce experienced in Batman v. Superman. You know, the one where Batman leads a rebellion in a dystopian wasteland and Superman is an evil herald of Darkseid. Then, after Bruce wakes up, Barry contacts him from a different point in time to deliver a warning.

How much of this storyline will come to fruition and be resolved in Justice League isn’t known. All we know is that the Snyder Cut won’t drop this angle cold like the theatrical version did. The footage we’ve seen of Joker features him meeting up with Batman and Cyborg in this timeline. And we’ll also get this scene featuring a destroyed Hall of Justice and a ravaged Earth…

Joe Manganiello Returns as Deathstroke

Glimpsed at the end of the theatrical cut of Justice League, where he was recruited by Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke was originally supposed to be a villain in the solo Batman film starring Ben Affleck. Obviously that movie never happened, but now Manganiello returns as Deathstroke in the Snyder Cut. And he’s rocking a mohawk this time out in what is reportedly new footage that he shot with Snyder. It seems as though the character will also feature in the “Knightmare” reality/vision, but that has not been officially confirmed yet. Are the bad guys teaming up with the good guys to defeat Superman and Darkseid in the “Knightmare” world…?

New Music

The Snyder Cut will feature a score by Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL, who was replaced by Danny Elfman for the theatrical release. This likely also means that Sigrid’s opening credits cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” is gone too, as it was chosen by Joss Whedon. Though, given Snyder’s penchant for using Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” maybe the Snyder Cut will have Cohen’s original version of “Everybody Knows.”

New Steppenwolf Design

Despite Darkseid being the end-all adversary, Justice League’s other villain is the preening precursor, Steppenwolf. He was played by Game of Thrones’ Ciaran Hinds in the movie and looked fairly unremarkable.

Snyder has since revealed the new design for Steppenwolf, showing fans a differently-colored, more heavily-armored evil-doer.

Parademons and the Smell of Fear

Because Joss Whedon was changing the end battle of the film, and the way Steppenwolf was to be vanquished, he had to set up a specific concept at the beginning of the story by adding a rooftop scene featuring Batman luring out (using a siren noise) and capturing a parademon, thus discovering that the creature tracks and targets fear. In the Snyder Cut, reportedly, Batman learns about parademons from Lex Luthor’s journal.

Russian Family

Also gone from the Snyder Cut is the random Russian family who seemingly live all alone, cut off from all aspects of society, in the desolate woods. They were added to give the final battle some additional human citizen stakes and light strokes of humor.

Superman Reshoots

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This is a big one and it encompasses a lot. Most of Henry Cavill’s scenes for Justice League were reshot by Whedon, with his Mission: Impossible – Fallout mustache digitally removed, as Supes’ entire storyline was remolded for a lighter, less-grim film. Gone was Superman’s black suit and changed was everything from Superman’s first battle with the Justice League upon being resurrected by the Mother Box to his role in the final battle against Steppenwolf to countless other scenes throughout the film (including Superman meeting Alfred). So get ready for a brand new, back-from-the-dead Clark!

The Flash and Iris West

Cut from the theatrical version of Justice League were a bunch of extra bibs and bobs from Barry Allen’s story, all meant to further flesh him out as a character and make fans understand his story a bit more: his mother’s death, his father’s wrongful incarceration, and his quest to uncover the truth. Plus, the theatrical version cut out Kiersey Clemons’s Iris West, who we saw added back in during the Snyder Cut trailers.

Snyder has also teased that Flash is going to do something quite extraordinary with his power, though he didn’t want to spoil what it was. “He’s a quantum character. He interacts with time and space.”

More Aquaman

Unsurprisingly, since most of the new JL characters got shortchanged in the pared-down theatrical release, there’s more Aquaman in the Snyder Cut too. Amber Heard (Mera) and Willem Dafoe (Vulko) both shot scenes for Justice League which would have introduced audiences to Arthur’s Atlantean backstory, and these characters, much sooner than in the Aquaman movie. It probably also solves how he gets his full armor and trident for the final battle.

More Cyborg and S.T.A.R. Labs

“Cyborg is the heart of the movie,” Snyder shared at DC FanDome. “Cyborg is the thing in the end that holds the team together in a lot of ways.”

Most of Cyborg’s origin story was cut out of the theatrical version. Him learning to fly, use weapons, hack into other computer networks, etc. Also, his deeper connection to Mother Boxes, since he’s basically born from a Mother Box. It’s reported that a full timeline of the Mother Boxes, up until Victor Stone’s transformation, is shown. All of Victor’s arc was shaved down to the bare minimum in Whedon’s version.

Silas Stone also faces a different fate in Snyder’s version of the film.

On top of this, there were a ton of S.T.A.R. Labs scenes cut from the movie…including Silas’ co-worker, a scientist named Ryan Choi – aka The Atom.

DeSaad

Fans also spotted (possibly) Darkseid’s devious right-hand-man DeSaad in the new teaser. Darkseid actor Ray Porter previously confirmed that Peter Guinness voiced DeSaad in Snyder’s original version.

Martian Manhunter

Some of the Lois Lane/Martha Kent scenes in Joss Whedon’s Justice League were Whedon reshoots. One original Lois/Martha scene, however, in Lois’ apartment, would have ended with Martha leaving and revealing she was really Martian Manhunter – who had been using the form of Harry Lennix’s General Swanwick.

A comic has since revealed what the character’s design looks like. Snyder has also said he has reshot the film’s ending “with a hero cameo that will blow hard-core fans’ minds.” Whether this will be Martian Manhunter or a different character remains to be seen.

Final Battle Against Steppenwolf

Obviously, the theatrical version’s third act showdown against Steppenwolf was completely reworked. A Russian family was added, as were roots attacking our heroes from the ground, and the roles of Superman and Batman were sort of marginalized (with Superman’s intensity being toned down somewhat).

Steppenwolf himself was supposed to be decapitated by Wonder Woman but the entire conflict was reconceived to feature a less-violent end for the villain – one that included his own army turning on him.

Also, there’s a Darkseid scene cut from the end, post-Steppenwolf defeat, and reports say that the closing montage voice-over was done by Silas Stone, not Lois Lane, which makes sense since Cyborg’s storyline was supposed to have taken up a large part of the film.

More Lex Luthor?

Though Lex Luthor’s role in Justice League was never meant to be a prominent one, Jesse Eisenberg confirmed that he shot scenes that didn’t make it into the theatrical version. In the movie, Lex is only seen in a post-credits moment, though that bit was also reshot by Whedon. This means the Legion of Doom tease was most likely added by Whedon and Warner Bros. and was not part of Synder’s original production.

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Feb. 25, 2021: This story has been updated with the latest information about The Snyder Cut.



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