By Joe Price

Ahead of the arrival of Zack Snyder’s heavily reworked director’s cut of Justice League arriving on HBO Max next month, the story behind the troubled production of Joss Whedon’s version is coming to light. In a new profile in Vanity Fair, Snyder and those close to the production of 2017’s Justice League opened up about the tragedy that led to his exit, the “passionate” fanbase, why he returned to the project after the fact, and what Warner Bros. thought of Whedon’s extensive reshoots.

The Avengers director took over Justice League when Snyder exited post-production duties to be with his family following his 20-year-old daughter Autumn’s death by suicide. “From what Snyder can gather,” VF writer Anthony Breznican writes, Whedon reshot roughly three-quarters of the film. The result was met with a mixed-to-negative critical reception, and fans were mostly unhappy with how Snyder’s vision was essentially tossed aside for what some might call a more typical superhero movie.

One Warner Bros. executive was particuarly scathing about what Whedon did to the project.

“When we got to see what Joss actually did, it was stupefying,” said the exec, who remained anonymous. “The robber on the rooftop—so goofy and awful. The Russian family—so useless and pointless. Everyone knew it. It was so awkward because nobody wanted to admit what a piece of shit it was.”

When fans campaigned to get the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League released, Warner Bros. and Snyder took notice. Initially he was contacted about lightly brushing up and releasing the four-hour he shot, but Snyder said that was a “hard no” for him. Instead, he wanted to do some reshoots of his own, simply because he didn’t trust the studio to make good on that.

The Snyder Cut will finally premiere on HBO Max on March 18, and it ends with a tribute to his late daughter. “At the end of the movie, it says ‘For Autumn,’” Snyder said. “Without her, this absolutely would not have happened.”

His fan base has already contributed half a million dollars to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Snyder hopes the tribute to Autumn—and the #SnyderCut overall—will continue to raise both awareness and money for suicide prevention programs. On that note, if you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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