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Death, Mourning and Art: The Dramatic Story of the Return of the Justice League

When a tragic accident killed Zack Snyder’s daughter, the director found his only breath at work. The end of the Justice League was all that was left. Even that fell: it ended up in conflict with Warner Bros. and the film was turned over to a different director.

On the PC he only brought his unfinished version, a raw edition, with about four hours of shooting time. An old memory, he thought. Something to show off to friends who passed by the house.

Four years later, at the request of many families, the meeting took place: Snyder returned, the director’s version was restored and “Justice League of Zack Snyder” tries to do what it didn’t do on the first try: enchant critics and fans .

Justice League of Zack Snyder keeps the plot intact: Superman’s death leads Bruce Wayne, Batman, to team up with Wonder Woman and a group of superheroes to save the world from disaster. The film arrives on HBO Portugal this Thursday, March 18th.

It’s the culmination of years of rumors and fan campaigns that finally managed to convince the studios to re-establish relationships with Snyder. More importantly, they wanted to get out of their mouths the bad taste left by the version launched in 2017, which was devastated by critics and reflected in the box office results.

Zack Snyder was DC Comics’ great hope of battling Marvel at the time. Everything looked promising. Filming ended in late 2016 and it was said that there would be material for two full films.

The studio didn’t like the version Snyder had put together and was sent back for editing. Between the turmoil and confusion, the family tragedy shook the life of the director, who was forced to retire temporarily.

Joss Whedon, a director connected to the Marvel cinematic world, switched channels and helped move the project forward. It was the first step towards the end of Snyder’s pre-film journey.

Several scenes were re-recorded, the script went through numerous changes, and the film became a very different creature than Snyder had imagined.

Arriving at the cinemas was an absolute disappointment. So much so that even Whedon didn’t want to stick his name to the project, which raised more than 600 million euros at the box office – and yet he managed to lose money. Two months later, the final blow: The new chapter in Marvel’s “Avengers” saga raised more than two billion.

Months after the epic disaster, Christopher Nolan, executive producer, and Deborah Snyder, Zack’s wife, met in a room to finally see what the Justice League had done. “It was a strange experience (…) you work on something for so long and then you go out and in the end you see what happened to you later,” said Deborah “Vanity Fair”.

They only drew one conclusion from viewing: Zack Snyder should never have the experience of seeing what had happened to his film. “I knew it would break your heart.”

The family tragedy

In the middle of the already complicated production of the film, between conflicts with Warner Bros., the unthinkable happened. The director’s 20-year-old daughter committed suicide. Snyder didn’t hesitate and already left work in the post-production phase.

“It was kind of a lightning bolt at the center of this whole saga. And in many ways it has influenced everything we’ve done since then, “explains Snyder to Vanity Fair.

Despite attempts to remain in the position of director, successive conflicts with studio managers have made the situation unsustainable. The decision was made to end the relationship.

A disaster announced

Snyder’s disruptive choices have always been an issue for the studio as he decided to choose Jason Momoa’s look for Aquaman, leaving behind the traditional blue eyes and blonde hair.

Despite the unusual decisions, he was almost always given carte blanche to transform the films according to his wishes. But the executives were observant and increasingly concerned. They sent agents to monitor the recordings – or, as Snyder explains, to “babysit” them.

“It didn’t bother me too much because I knew they weren’t much of a threat. I felt the ideas they came up with to add more humor weren’t scandalous. “

Snyder was replaced by Joss Whedon

The truth is that the argument would suffer from this intrusion. In one instance, Snyder had to give up the idea of ​​creating an internal conflict in Bruce Wayne, who would fall in love with Lois Lane after Superman’s death until he realized they had to revive the superhero. The idea was rejected by Warner.

Another Problem? The duration of the film. From the top of the food chain came the guideline that said it shouldn’t exceed two hours. “How do you present six characters and an alien with the potential to conquer the world in just two hours? I mean I can do it, it can be done It was clear – but I didn’t see it, ”he says, referring to the 2017 version.

Already with a strained relationship and with Joss Whedon as the third element, who became more and more powerful and meddling, the situation imploded. “[Eu e a Deborah] We have lost the strength to fight this fight. All of us as a family were devastated by the loss of autumn, having these conversations in the middle of the action … I did the right thing about them both, either it would be a war or we would have to obey. ”

The second chance

After Snyder was gone and after the box office disaster of Whedon’s version, the matter definitely seemed to be over. The truth is that fans knew the Snyder edition existed and is stored on your computer’s hard drive.

The most fanatical fans began to create a background wave and make noise on social networks. They even rented planes to fly through Warner Bros. studios. with the message: “Release the Snyder version”.

The months passed and, contrary to expectations, the movement did not let up. It grew in strength. The stars of the cast were on the same side of the barricade, including Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot. Forcing toyed with the studio’s governance structure and President Toby Emmerich relented and called Snyder.

“We always feel bad that Zack couldn’t finish his vision for the film,” he told Vanity Fair. Snyder hesitated, however, mainly because they only wanted to share the raw version that he had kept.

“I immediately said no and explained why. Three reasons: they are only doing this to get rid of the boring internet users asking for the movie. This is probably why they want to do this. they can apologize and justify their mistakes; and release a shitty version of the film so they can say, “See? We rightly said it was worthless. We were right ‘. I would prefer the Snyder edition to become some kind of mythical unicorn” explains the director.

The alliance is back

But Snyder would say yes at some point. He spent over 60 million getting the film done the way he always wanted – and was able to extend it to almost four hours. Wage? Zero. All in exchange for total creative control.

“I didn’t get anything. I didn’t want to be with anyone and that allowed me to maintain my bargaining power. “So he did it in his 4: 3 format and restored the ending with a surprise for the fans – those who really gave him the opportunity to end the most difficult chapter of his life.

The content Death, Mourning and Art: The Dramatic Story of the Return of the Justice League first appears in NiT.

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