Momoa References SNYDER CUT, Reveals How AQUAMAN Connects To JUSTICE LEAGUE
It’s an interesting time to be a fan of DC on film. With Aquaman on the horizon, we’ve got a movie that has a foot into two different eras of DC filmmaking. One foot is placed on the foundation built by Zack Snyder, who was the architect of the first wave of new, interconnected DC films that began in 2013 with Man of Steel. The other foot is placed firmly on the new Worlds of DC that Walter Hamada wants you to embrace going forward.
The film has a unique responsibility here to somehow acknowledge a polarizing past, while simultaneously getting you excited for a promising future.
As such, one thing that folks have been extremely curious about since the fallout of last year’s Justice League is exactly how much of that film- and its predecessors- will be referenced in the next wave of DC films. Remember, there’s a new man calling the shots, and the last regime did everything in its power to abruptly change Snyder’s vision when it hijacked Justice League– making their intentions to get as far away from the Snyder era as possible very clear to anyone paying attention.
So the question became, how does the new sheriff in town (Hamada) plan on handling this balancing act of old and new?
Some outlets have passed along the assumption that Aquaman would somehow ignore the events of Justice League. Since the film is seen as the start of a new era, they speculated that there wouldn’t be any mention of anything that took place in the shared universe since, by and large, it seems like DC Entertainment wants to move away from that concept and focus more on standalone stories.
But as it turns out, it’s looking more and more like Aquaman is going to follow the formula that Wonder Woman used so successfully last year, by having some minor connections to the greater DC landscape while primarily focusing on our hero’s journey.
In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Aquaman star Jason Momoa gave a very revealing answer about this film’s setting. He was asked when it takes place, and here’s what he said:
“I think I’m coming straight from Justice League. In Zack’s cut, we had it where I was with Vulko (Willem Dafoe) and Mera (Amber Heard) and I say that I have to go home. And they say there’s a force coming, that I need to help. I’m like, ‘I’m going home to see my dad,’ so I get in the back of a pick-up truck and pound a bottle of something, and off he goes, the wanderer. You know what I mean? So that was kind of like, the end of Justice League. Where I was going…and you cut to me coming home and, right into a submarine, and bang-o! And then go see Pops.
I’m coming straight back from the Justice League experience.”
[Special thanks to Twitter user @MehToAll for catching this answer]
There are a couple of notable things about this, before we get back into discussing the film’s connections to the existing canon.
Right there, towards the beginning of his answer, he references “Zack’s Cut,” which is an obvious reference to the infamous Snyder Cut of Justice League. For over a year, we’ve known that an alternate cut of the film exists in near-complete form, but it’s been hard to get any public statements on the matter. Instead, we’ve gotten cryptic Vero posts from Snyder himself, and a load of great fan-edits that attempt to illustrate how much of Snyder’s work was changed/cut for the theatrical cut of the film, using older trailers and featurettes to illustrate the extensive alterations.
One of those cryptic posts from Snyder was the picture at the top of this article. That scene didn’t make it into the film, and it seems to be the exact one Momoa referenced in this new interview. I’ve also cued up this moment in the video below, so you can see it in motion, courtesy of AT&T’s exclusive Justice League character trailer for Arthur Curry. You see it glimpsed here:
That’s the moment Momoa described. That was his intended ending for Justice League, and the one we may get to see one day if the studio eventually decides to put the finishing touches on the Snyder Cut and release it to the public as a bit of fan service.
And now let’s return to the discussion of Aquaman‘s connection to Justice League and the existing continuity. But to do so, I have to venture into very mild *SPOILERISH* territory. So first, I’m going to link you to the video of Momoa’s comments about the film’s setting, and then- if you want to venture into Spoilerville, keep reading below the video.
You can watch the full interview, for WSVN-TV in New York City right here:
So, the spoilerish thing is this:
Steppenwolf is referenced in Aquaman.
This puts to bed, once and for all, the notion that this film will ignore what came before it. And it also makes it pretty clear that no studio mandates were put on James Wan to cut ties with the rest of the shared universe.
This shows Walter Hamada is his own man, and should be respected as the new boss of DC Entertainment. When he took the reins, he could’ve followed the lead of previous DC bosses Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, who were the driving forces behind the extreme facelift given to Justice League. He could’ve continued on with their mission to do a complete 180 and move as far away from the Snyder era as possible.
Instead, he let Wan keep a reference to Justice League, and he allowed David F. Sandberg to litter his Shazam! film with references to all three of Snyder’s DC films (which also includes Man of Steel and Batman v Superman). This shows a willingness by Hamada, and DC Entertainment, to keep some of Snyder’s vision alive and not completely retcon those films out of existence.
It’s a risk, for sure, because Snyder’s films weren’t exactly embraced by the general public- which is what motivated the overhaul of Justice League to begin with- but they seem to think it’s a risk worth taking. That’s what makes the success of Aquaman so important. If it succeeds, then DC will continue this trend of not shying away from its past while moving into the future. If it fails, then Hamada will have no choice but to consider the Snyder era as dead as that bat that Superman wanted to bury, and tell other/future DC directors to forget about those films.
Thankfully, it seems like a virtual impossibility that the film will fail, based on the initial buzz and box office projections that have come out as of late.
If this topic interests you, I’ve written two other posts about DC’s current philosophy and how Aquaman factors into that:
Lots to digest here. Feel free to let me know what you think, either in the Comments Section below, or over on the twittuh.
Editor-In-Chief and Co-Founder of Revenge of The Fans. Previously, he's written for Latino-Review, IGN, Moviehole, and The Splash Report. He's also the host of the top-rated show The Fanboy Podcast and the co-host of The Revengers Podcast. E-Mail: MFR@RevengeOfTheFans.com | Twitter: @I_AM_MFR