The release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League launched a major campaign online to #RestoretheSnyderVerse, much to Warner Bros.’ dismay. As DC’s film division tries to distance itself from the controversy and sloppiness of its past, it also managed to start a war with the very vocal fanbase that supports Snyder’s original vision for the DCEU.
Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff and DC Films President Walter Hamada have made it very clear that it has specific and expansive plans for the DCEU moving forward, which the intense interest in Zack Snyder’s Justice League directly contradicts. It’s understandable that Sarnoff and Hamada would want to start from scratch and move forward with a stronger long-term structure. Still, DC’s unique possibilities as a brand and emerging opportunities within the company make restoring the SnyderVerse not only possible, but a very good idea that Warner Bros. should not ignore.
In this list, we’re going to breakdown the Top 5 ways that the SnyderVerse could realistically continue on the big screen, small-screen, or both. Let us know your own ideas on Twitter or down below in the comments.
Justice League Mini-Series on HBO Max
This is the most obvious way that Warner Bros. could let Zack Snyder finish his full vision for the characters he created. His original grand plan for the DCEU was a five-movie arc consisting of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and concluding with a Justice League Trilogy. Including Zack Snyder’s Justice League, we now have 3/5 of the journey that Snyder envisioned, and the plot points that he intended could not be clearer from the developments in the Snyder Cut.
Odds are Snyder will not be able to continue this story on the big screen. While he has a hardcore fanbase, his creative choices are not universally popular with mainstream audiences, which is a basic requirement for a major theatrical franchise. Streaming services, however, uniquely allow more niche, big-budget productions to find a home because it draws long term subscriber growth and general audiences are more open to niche ideas because it does not require a trip to the movies.
Modern advancements in location VFX technology pioneered by Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian means that these large scale, VFX heavy shows are now much cheaper to produce. Additionally, if Snyder’s leaked plans for Justice League 2 and 3 show that it would not be a major commitment for some of its A-List talent, which is another major plus to lower the cost.
The ultimate reason that Justice League should continue as a streaming show on HBO Max is that Snyder could fully embrace every habit he has as a storyteller. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was broken up into six parts, which easily could have been split into a six-episode mini-series (which it would have if previous contracts wouldn’t have gotten in the way). If there is one thing we know about Zack Snyder, it’s that he cannot tell a short story to save his life. HBO Max could allow Snyder to tell the expansive, grounded story that he’s always wanted to tell while also giving HBO Max the flagship series that it so desperately needs.
Exploring the Multiverse set up in The Flash
What separates DC from its competitors (particularly Marvel) is that for decades, DC has embraced multiverse (or Elseworlds) storytelling. Some of the most famous stories in DC history have put their popular characters with a reimagined scenario that interlock through social or psychological commentary that benefit every version of the character. Ever wonder what would have happened if Superman landed in Soviet Russia instead of a farm in Kansas? DC’s Superman: Red Son covers this very topic and is now one of the most famous Superman stories of all time.
Marvel’s brand revolves around characters that have distinct characteristics that stay consistent in every medium. DC has always had competing versions of the same characters, which is why everyone can pick their favorite Batman but will never be able to pick their favorite Iron Man. DC should embrace this quality and move forward with a coherent plan that takes this into account.
Enter: The Multiverse
While Marvel is currently expanding into the Multiverse with an arc that culminates in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, the Multiverse is DC’s specialty and is also confirmed to be on the near horizon. Director Andy Muschietti’s The Flash which is scheduled to come out in 2022 is set to explore this and rewrite the DCEU timeline to restore/reinvigorate the franchise.
Ezra Miller will reprise Zack Snyder’s version of Barry Allen in the film and is also set to feature Ben Affleck’s Batman. Rumor is that this movie is a loose goodbye to the SnyderVerse and will replace Affleck’s Batman with Michael Keaton’s Batman in the main DCEU timeline. This now provides the perfect explanation for audiences to split their attention to two different versions of the characters. Snyder’s version could continue in an alternate timeline, and both the SnyderVerse and the main timeline could be linked by Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen, who fits well into both worlds.
There is already precedent for this to be the case. Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen from The CW’s The Flash is a very successful version that runs concurrently with Ezra Miller, but the two crossed paths in a multiverse event in The CW’s Arrowverse. DC is also planning a new hotly anticipated Batman trilogy starring Robert Pattinson that is set in another universe, while Joaquin Pheonix’s mega hit Joker is set in an entirely different universe.
If DC and Warner Bros. could just recognize that the strengths of their brand instead of running away from it, the SnyderVerse could easily continue (on HBO Max or in theaters) without any risk to their plans.
Full Elseworld: Complete Knightmare Story
So, let’s say Warner Bros. embraces the multiverse for the DCEU. What storylines should the SnyderVerse embrace to differentiate itself from the main timeline? Well, luckily the answer is clearly teased throughout the series.
Batman v. Superman established the Knightmare storyline, an apocalyptic world that acts as Batman’s metaphorical “Ghost of Christmas future.” Throughout Batman v. Superman and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne has dreams/visions of a future where he fails to prevent Superman’s turn to the Darkseid. While Zack Snyder’s original plan to for the Justice League trilogy included a massive expansion and exploration of the Knightmare world, there is a good chance that Snyder will not be able to continue his story as an HBO Max series.
For this reason, it could be more feasible and more interesting to continue the Knightmare storyline as its own, secluded journey on the small screen. Restricting this story to an apocalyptic world would differentiate the SnyderVerse enough from the main DCEU timeline for Warner Bros. to justify greenlighting the project.
There are tons of possible directions that this show can go in. It could explore Ben Affleck’s Batman and Jared Leto’s Joker having to work together to survive. It could explore Batman searching out survivors and give us interesting, apocalyptic versions of a ton of DC characters. The possibilities are exciting and unique to think about, which makes it a blank canvas for Snyder to explore the darker stories that DC specializes in.
Wonder Woman 3 Continuing Snyder’s Vision
A harsh reality that fans of Wonder Woman need to understand is that Wonder Woman 1984 just did not work out. Patty Jenkins’ bold move to shift the character away from the warrior goddess tone modeled by Batman v Superman and towards the symbol of peace tone modeled by Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman television series from the 70s proved to be big mistake. While some (like me) appreciated the bold change of pace, even the film’s most fervent defenders admit that her original tone was far better for Gal Gadot’s version of Diana Prince.
The reaction to Wonder Woman’s appearance in Zack Snyder’s Justice League further proved that fans prefer the darker, more action focused version of the character. While some rumors are circulating that some studio executives want Zack Snyder to take over the Wonder Woman franchise, the odds of him becoming the outright director are low. Still, Snyder and Jenkins have a close working relationship and could potentially work on the film together with Jenkins as director and Snyder as a creative producer.
Ideally, this film could be a modern story that covers Diana’s journey after the events of Justice League. If executed correctly, Wonder Woman 3 could continue the style of the character that Snyder created while retaining Jenkins’ passion for Wonder Woman’s legacy.
Jared Leto’s Joker and Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke
Another way that the SnyderVerse can continue is the side characters that never really got the chance to make a meaningful impression. Zack Snyder’s Justice League added an entire epilogue centered on a conversation between Jared Leto’s Joker and Ben Affleck’s Batman, the first time the two have appeared on screen together. The scene gave new life to interest in Leto’s portrayal of the Joker after he was generally dismissed by the fanbase after his debut in 2016’s Suicide Squad.
Most acknowledge that Leto never really got the chance to shine in the roll, especially after Suicide Squad was just a generally poorly made film on the part of Warner Bros. and the director David Ayer. The same can be said about Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke, whose first and last appearance was a cameo in both versions of Justice League.
It’s rumored that both Leto and Manganiello are enthusiastic about returning, and Warner Bros. is considering bringing one or both of the characters back in the hands Zack Synder (most likely on HBO Max). Fans are also showing their support to see Manganiello return by starting the #DeathstrokeHBOMax campaign on social media.
With any luck, Warner Bros. will listen to the fans (for once) and not entirely erase the progress that Zack Snyder made in the DCEU. Do you want to #RestoretheSnyderVerse? Do you have any other ideas for how the series can REALISTICALLY continue? Let us know on Twitter or down below in the comments