DC Comics’ answer to Comic-Con, a virtual event called DC Fandome, revealed a wide array of upcoming projects to look forward to, in a diverse amount of mediums to boot.
Upcoming films like The Batman and Shazam: Fury of the Gods, shows like Peacemaker and Naomi, animated outings like Harley Quinn season 3 and DC League of Super Pets, and even confirmation of more Webtoons collaborations following the success of Batman: Wayne Family Adventures highlighted just how packed the upcoming DC content slate is, but that just isn’t enough for some fans.
During the event, #RestoreTheSnyderverse was trending on Twitter, which was just another entry in the continued headache that Zack Snyder fans have been for DC ever since 2017.
In 2017, Snyder, the director of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, stepped down from his Justice League film to mourn the death of his daughter and be there for his family. This noble move, which put Joss Whedon in his place as director, turned out to be the biggest turning point for the ever-unstable DC Extended Universe.
Justice League (2017) was released to generally awful reviews and poor fan reception, a stark contrast to the warm response to Wonder Woman received earlier that year, a film which many claimed was the sole savior of the franchise. In fact, Wonder Woman was the first of the DCEU movies to actually receive across-the-board praise from critics and fans alike.
Man of Steel, released in 2013, was Snyder’s attempt to Dark Knight-ify Superman, and it scored him a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes. This film has become notoriously controversial, along with its follow-up Batman v Superman, with either hard-core haters or hard-core fans.
After Justice League was released in 2017, it was clear that DC and Warner Bros. needed to go in a different direction, so they did. What followed was as close to a DC renaissance that we could’ve gotten, with both commercial and fan success.
Aquaman became the highest-grossing DC film ever, Shazam! saw both critical and box office success, Birds of Prey broke boundaries, and The Suicide Squad (2021) was a smash hit as well, both critically and with fans.
Despite all of the success of these films, and the anticipation for the ones to come, Snyder fans refuse to give up on his original vision. But why?
If I’m honest, I don’t know.
I’m one of the people who personally did not care for his over-dramatic, bloated Superman films, and certainly wasn’t going to sit and watch 4-hours worth of Justice League, no matter how much the internet raved about it. Despite my personal issues with Snyder and his films, I understand the desire to see a director’s vision come to life, and to see a studio support that vision wholeheartedly.
For Snyder fans, his DCEU vision is the only valid one, and that’s a huge problem.
Patty Jenkins has stated that Wonder Woman was her vision from start to finish. She didn’t film anything more than she needed to, which is why there are hardly any deleted scenes from that movie. She knew what she wanted and she executed it almost perfectly, as evident by the universal love for that first film.
The second film, Wonder Woman 1984, though a bit less universally loved than the original, was still her vision, and I personally enjoyed it. James Wan was able to execute his own vision in Aquaman, and will reportedly delve even deeper into his horror roots for sequel Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom. Cathy Yan fought tooth and nail to make the film we saw on screen as Birds of Prey, and the outcome has inspired future DCEU projects set in her world.
But none of that matters to Snyder fans, who only want to see Snyder’s original vision for the DCEU restored. The main issue I have with these demands, aside from the sheer annoyance I feel every time I see the tag trending, is how these demands ultimately invalidate the work of so many women and people of color who have now shaped the DCEU into the critical success it is today.
Behind the scenes, women like Patty Jenkins, people of color like James Wan, and women of color like Cathy Yan have created and fostered a DCEU that the general public actually wants to see, and has captivated the critics in the process. On-screen, characters of color like Aquaman and women like Harley Quinn are now the new faces of the DCEU.
As a DC fan, it’s incredible for me to see so many of these characters, who’ve generally been overlooked in favor of Superman for decades, finally get their time in the spotlight and resonate with people so deeply. Even on the upcoming slate, projects like Black Adam and Blue Beetle serve to bring even more diversity to the screen, while also uplifting lesser-known comic book characters, each with their own creative vision attached.
Earlier this year, Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released on HBOMax, to much fanfare. It was a massive streaming success, but Warner Bros. still has no plans to continue with the Snyderverse after it. In reality, this film was released purely to satisfy the Snyder fans, who weren’t going away anytime soon. But where does this insane fanservice end?
It’s clear that this campaign may never die, especially with reinvigorated calls to release the Ayder Cut of 2016’s Suicide Squad and a seemingly never-ending barrage of calls for Justice League sequels. At some point, Warner Bros. had to put their foot down, and I’m glad they did. Hopefully, Snyder fans will eventually quiet down and realize their efforts are in vain, but until then, I just hope they don’t continue to spoil this new and improved DCEU for the rest of us.