As fan’s of pop-culture movies; whether it be comic-book, science fiction, horror or fantasy genres – there are many disagreements and discussions amongst our community. Sometimes it can be a friendly conversation between “Person A” who didn’t like a particular film, and “Person B” who actually did like the film.
There are passionate arguments where fan’s believe in the mythos of a character/s – that they will defend their opinion no matter what – defiant to the end in loyal stubbiness – that the filmmakers didn’t do the character/s justice.
The “That was good, but this is what I would have done in that scene” conversation usually makes for good banter and usually goes down well over a drink with your friends, often leading into the impromptu creation of a completely new film to the one you just watched, in the process.
However, there are those fans out there who take their disliking’s to far and cross a line of hate, which, unfortunately, is usually pointed towards cast members, film makers and even fellow fans, reporters and journalists, for just having a different opinion. That we DO NOT TOLERATE.
In this article we’re going to talk about fan loyalty.
In our previous article (last week) we discussed the DC Multiverse of television and film. As part of that discussion we, of course, mentioned the huge news regarding the release of the Justice League: Snyder Cut.
Zack Snyder oversaw the majority of what has now been dubbed (by fans) as the DC Extended Universe.
The writer/director led the way with Man of Steel, BvS: Dawn of Justice and co-wrote 2017’s Wonder Woman, and would eventually go onto to write and direct Justice League, at least for a short period.
When Snyder left Justice League because of a family tragedy, the end result, without him, was not vision he had intended for the movie. Instead, there were major reshoots (from what we’ve seen on the internet) and the film was ultimately a failure. But, no more than two weeks after the disastrous box office results, fans of the director and the DC franchise started a campaign against Warner Bros. to release the so-called “Snyder Cut”.
100,000 fans signed a petition to help persuade the studio to release this cut but, at the time, this cut (apparently) did not exist.
Not long after, Warner Bros. had a major shakeup of its DC film franchise and re-strategised how they would approach future DC Comics projects – focusing their efforts on singular movies, rather than a larger, shared universe.
Warner Bros. then pretty much told the world that creative decisions would be in the hands of their directors for future DC movies. Since then, the studio has had a string of successes with Aquaman, SHAZAM! and Joker. But with DC’s apparent new direction clearly going well and apparently learning from their mistakes with Justice League, there was still no word on the “Snyder Cut”.
For two years fans kept fighting to see a version of the film they sincerely believed would be a much better version to the movie they actually got. Fans paid for a billboard at both New York’s Times Square and San Diego Comic-Con. The hashtag: #releasethesyndercut took the fandom community by storm and was one of the most talked about pop culture movements to recent memory.
As details about the “Snyder Cut” story/plot began to surface as well, the demand for it’s release only gathered strength. Then in late May 2020, the news finally dropped during a live stream with Snyder, himself and later, Henry Cavill.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League would finally premier in 2021 on the HBO Max streaming app.
The fan loyalty and demand shown for over two years was just to load for Warner Bros. to ignore. Not only that; it was a striking victory for creatives like Zack Snyder, who ultimately only want to share their own creative visions with the world.
The huge win for both fandom and creatives alike sent a ripple throughout the pop culture world. Not long after the news about Justice League broke, other likeminded campaigns started to prop up…
#ReleasetheAyercut and #ReleasetheSolosequel began to surface. The former relates to David Ayer’s Suicide Squad from 2016, a movie which disappointed many, but equally saw success with Margot Robbie’s depiction of the famed Harley Quinn. However, Jared Leto’s rendition of the Joker did not sit well and despite the promotional material and trailers involving the Clown Price of Crime, the comic-book villain barely featured at all in the final cut.
It soon came to light that most of Jared Leto’s scene’s were cut from the theatrical release, as well as some other scenes. The prompted DC fan’s, again, to petition for the release of Ayer’s original vision/cut of the movie.
The latter regards to 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, a film which for all intensives purposes, was a box office disaster.
The original directors of the film parted ways with Lucasfilm/Disney due to creative differences. The studios’ then turned to famed director, Ron Howard to finish the movie. Needless to say, the movie did not go down particularly well with a lot of Star Wars fans, but there were those who like the movie and would have liked a sequel.
Sticking with Star Wars, The Rise of Skywalker, a movie that promised so much but which (to most) failed to deliver, was also the apparent result of “creative tampering”. Not long after the films release, the original script titled Duel of the Fates leaked online.
The original story was a lot more detailed, promised both more action and drama.
With so much “creative tampering” going on with such beloved IP (intellectual properties) does the “Release the Snyder Cut” movement and it’s victory mark the beginning of a new kind of fan service? One that put’s the fans needs ahead of the studios’ interests?
The question itself is hard to answer. The studios’ will always look to make a profit, it’s just basic business sense, and yes, more commercial decisions will have to factor into certain productions such as: comic-book and sci-fi franchises. However, as the pop culture audience is more diverse than ever and fandom stronger than it ever was; for either better or worse. Creating these genre based movies are harder to make than ever before.
As fan’s, we always say “It’s simple! just give us something new but with the same heart and soul” or in Star Wars’ case: as the originals.
But is it really that simple?
To quote Captain James Gordon from Batman Begins “What about escalation?”
The victory of the “Release the Snyder Cut” campaign has showed us one thing; with enough pressure a studio can change it’s mind. It may take a while for them to make up said mind but it shows that at least one part of the fan base can achieve their goals. Now, Justice League was a quite a huge proportion of that fanbase, but lets not forget that their are fans out there who enjoyed the film, as it is.
What we could see is an escalation of those who did, and those who did not like it – and the ‘did not’s’ campaigning once again for a version they would prefer. For the moment, at least, everything seems civil but what we don’t want to see happen is a pandoras box of #releasethiscut #releasethatcut #remakethefilmentirely.
As fans, we all have our own versions of stories and adaptions we would love to see on the big screen. That’s what’s great about our fandom! We can imagine and reimagine to our hearts content on how we want our favourite characters to appear!
Let’s not sour that thing we hold so dear to our hearts so we can just get our own way. In the end, these characters and stories belong to everyone.