Darkseid Is… Costing HBO Max a Lot

You’ll get to meet Darkseid and his Crab Legions next year. (Image: Warner Bros., Zack Snyder)
You’ll get to meet Darkseid and his Crab Legions next year. (Image: Warner Bros., Zack Snyder)

The “Snyder Cut” is real? Well, sorta — the version of Zack Snyder’s vision for Justice League hitting HBO Max next year is not a fabled, long-awaited mythical cut fans believed sat untouched in a vault somewhere for years. The cut we’re getting has turned into an even grander project than even that, and it’s coming at quite a cost for Warner.

To tie in with today’s official launch of HBO Max, Zack Snyder stoked further anticipation for his new imagining of Justice League by dropping an image of iconic Fourth World villain Darkseid as he’ll appear in what is now being called Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Not to be confused with Justice League. Or Justice League. Or…you get the picture.

He appears to be flanked by giant, armoured War Crabs? But like, War Crab Mecha. It’s a lot, unsurprisingly. Remember, DC Comics’ Darkseid wasn’t in the version we got, we just saw his lackey Steppenwolf. But now he will be, thanks to a lot of time, hard work, new visual effects, and, according to WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt, a lot of cash.

Like, a lot. Way more than the alleged $US30 ($45) million previously floated when the news broke last week. Speaking to the Recode Media podcast, Greenblatt discussed not just the speed at which turnaround at Warner went from “Hahaha, no, what?” to actually getting something that could be released as a “Snyder Cut” into existence. Because, despite years of claims and fan hopes, what did exist was not a releasable film.

“It’s been months of discussions with Zack and the producers to figure out how to do it,” Greenblatt said of the extensive process. “It isn’t as easy as going into the vault and there’s a Snyder Cut there to put out. It does not exist. Zack is building it and it’s complex…[it’s] a radical rethinking of [Justice League] and it’s complicated, and wildly expensive.”

To literally all of us, $US30 ($45) million is a monetary value we would happily describe as “wildly expensive.” But not to Greenblatt and the world of moviemaking. When asked about the alleged cost of what Snyder and his team were now getting to work on, the chairman’s response was brief, but telling: “I wish it was just $US30 ($45) million, and [I’ll] stop there!”

Even as rumours have continued to foment over the existence of a hallowed, completed cut of Justice League as envisioned by Snyder before tragic personal circumstances caused him to depart production in the years since, it’s always been a reality that what did exist was not going to be a completed project. Snyder has always had ideas for what he wanted, of course — he was in the middle of making a movie before terrible circumstances meant that suddenly he was not. The Justice League that will hit HBO Max next year is the effort of him returning to those ideas, and what material he had so far and crafting something entirely new. And taking the budget of several smaller movies to do it.

It’s likely HBO will never say how much this “new” film cost the company, beyond “whatever it takes.” Opening the Pandora’s box of giving into years of furious fandom demands is a price that likewise currently remains uncalculated.