BY MATT TUCK
Is WarnerMedia secretly restoring the Snyder-verse before our eyes? From the Flash’s upcoming trip through the Multiverse to Batgirl, the puzzle is beginning to take shape.
THE SNYDER-VERSE RESTORED?
Proponents of Zack Syder’s take on the DCEU, rejoice, because it would seem the Snyder-verse is still functioning, and the Multiverse could be to thank. Now that DC can have multiple versions of its famous characters existing at the same time, it is allowing for specific castings from Justice League to thrive in the modern DCEU. Now we have new movies with some familiar casting choices that point directly to the Snyder-verse.
UNLEASH THE HASHTAGS
The hashtags have been flying for years, and the movement came to life shortly after 2017 and the infamous theatrical release of Justice League. Originally, Zack Snyder had planned a trilogy of JL movies, and the ‘17 opener was meant to establish the groundwork for the war with Darkseid. Then tragedy struck, and Snyder was understandably forced to leave production following the death of his daughter.
At first, fans cheered when Joss Whedon was announced as Snyder’s replacement. Who better to put together a superhero team-up film than the man who directed the mega-hit Avengers for Marvel? Not only that, but he had comic book credibility having penned a run of Astonishing X-Men. From the outside, Whedon was the perfect choice to complete Snyder’s vision.
And then, he wasn’t.
Now that we have all seen the Snyder Cut of JL, it is clear that Whedon gutted the movie, injecting it with more comedy than any DCEU film to that point. He essentially turned the Justice League into a second-rate Avengers, ignoring the character development of Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The fan response was almost entirely negative, and Justice League was one of the biggest box office bombs in the superhero era.
Since then, there have been accusations of Whedon’s abuse on set, and the movie lost so much money that WarnerMedia declared the Snyder-verse finished after the colossal failure. To put into perspective, it influenced not only the proposed JL trilogy, but it put the entire DCEU in jeopardy.
Then came the rumors that another, better cut of Justice League existed. At first, WarnerMedia executives denied its existence, but the rumors persisted. Snyder and some of the JL cast, most notably Jason Momoa, joined the fan voices and demanded the Snyder-verse be restored. As unlikely as it was, the Warner executives finally relented, and last year the Snyder Cut was officially announced for the HBO Max streaming service.
The Snyder Cut was such a major hit for HBO Max that a black-and-white edition was soon released. However, the WarnerMedia front office proclaimed that this was the end of the Snyder-verse, and there would be no sequels.
Despite WB’s news, the fan outcry for more from Zack Snyder’s JL universe has become louder still. #restorethesnyderverse continues to trend despite WarnerMedia seemingly going in a more family-friendly direction with action-comedies like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam!, and the upcoming Black Adam, which should lead to the Justice Society of America. Yet, the Snyder influence is still alive and well.
BATGIRL TAKES PLACE IN THE SNYDER-VERSE
One of the more interesting castings was announced without much fanfare. Earlier this week, Brendan Faser was signed to play Garfield Lynns, aka the original Firefly. He will join Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, and J.K. Simmons, who will reprise his role as Jim Gordon. If you recall, the last time we saw Simmons as Gordon was in Justice League.
While hardly anyone is talking about the casting, it should give hope to fans of #restorethesnyderverse. Putting Simmons in the role clearly links Batgirl to the Snyder-verse. After all, Jeffrey Wright, who also voices the MCU’s Watcher, will be playing the part in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Instead of the onscreen Batgirl existing in the world of Rob Pattinson’s Batman, she will live in the same Gotham City as Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight, which could lead to interesting developments.
At one point, Affleck was set to write and direct a solo Batman movie. Eventually, he left the project due to creative differences, and that opened the door for Reeves and his vision for The Batman. It looked like Affleck’s days under the cape and cowl were finished after the Snyder Cut. Yet, he is set to make at least one more appearance.
Just when Bat-fleck thinks he’s out, they pull him back in.
One of the movies that was in doubt after JL’s box office blunder was Ezra Miller’s The Flash. Then came #restorethesnyderverse, and the JL spinoff was given the green light. That’s when things got interesting.
Last spring, WarnerMedia and DC announced that Michael Keaton would be returning to play Bruce Wayne/Batman. Thanks to the CW’s Infinite Crisis Arrowverse crossover, Tim Burton’s Gotham City was connected to the Multiverse and named Earth-89. Adding Keaton to The Flash as Miller’s Barry Allen traverses the Multiverse firmly links the universes together.
Just when fans could hardly contain themselves after the Keaton news, DC made it official that Affleck would indeed return to the DCEU as a second Batman for The Flash. But that’s not all. Affleck and Miller will also have fellow Snyder-verse alum J.K. Simmons, who will again play Jim Gordon.
Between Affleck, Miller, and Simmons, it is clear that The Flash takes place in the Snyder-verse. While WarnerMedia has not made it an official entry in the Snyder-verse, the returning actors will no doubt tie the movie to Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Justice League.
THE SNYDER-VERSE IS RETURNING
There’s more to it than just Batgirl and The Flash. For years now, there have been rumors of Henry Cavill returning as Superman for a Shazam! cameo (and not just the suit this time) and to possibly face Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam in the future. Although his status as the Man of Steel is in doubt, it is another indication that the Snyder-verse is alive and well.
For that matter, it stayed alive thanks to Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa. When the DCEU ship was rapidly sinking and all seemed lost, Wonder Woman and Aquaman’s box office success encouraged the WarnerMedia executives to take a second at those DC properties. Instead of canning it all and going for a complete reboot from stem to stern, those films gave reason to keep moving forward and to release the Snyder Cut. Thus, history was made.
THANK YOU, MULTIVERSE
Establishing the Multiverse is a convenient way for WarnerMedia to make everyone happy. It allows DC/WB the chance to recast key roles and take the franchises in new directions without completely severing ties to fan-favorite movies. Now we can have Rob Pattinson, Ben Affleck, and Michael Keaton all play the same character without anyone questioning how. It also means there can be an African-American Superman while still allowing for Cavill to return to the part if he chooses.
This is a golden age of superhero and comic book movies and television shows. Anything and everything is on the table now, and that is why the Snyder-verse can stay alive despite all the different castings.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.9933.