Release the Snyder Cut made waves across the internet following the release of the shockingly bad Justice League movie. In 2021, Warner Bros caved, releasing the far-better director’s cut on HBO Max. However, the massive fan-campaign was much smaller than it appeared.
Did the Snyder Cut campaign use bots?
In an exposé by Rolling Stone, it’s revealed that the fan-campaign used unwelcome tactics to flood social media. While the fan horde would also display expensive real-life promotions, the social media front was littered with bots.
Close to the release of the Snyder Cut, online harassment reached critical levels. Supposed fans attacking directors of other movies close to the cut’s release date. A viral post showed the decapitated heads of producers Geoff Johns, Walter Hamada and Toby Emmerich, who fans blame for ruining the DCEU. Warner Bros’ security was forced to investigate the online movement.
As it turns out, a large portion of the Snyder Army was inorganic, not real. Compared to the 3% inorganic makeup of most online campaigns, the Snyder movement had consisted of “least 13 percent”. It’s predicted to be more.
In further investigation, it was revealed that the original owner of “forsnydercut.com” was the head of a shuttered advertising agency. This agency promoted “cheap, instant Avatar traffic to your website, aka bots.
The SnyderVerse follows the same trend
Following the release of Justice League: The Snyder Cut, fans immediately started clamouring for more. Despite just getting the movie they always wanted, fans continued to campaign, this time for Warner Bros to “Restore the SnyderVerse”.
Just like the original campaign, this online petition was loud, sometimes offensive and featured grandiose displays. For example, one time a van drove around Warner Bros’ office for days displaying SnyderVerse messaging.
As it turns out, that campaign — which still continues to this day — is also filled with bots, just like the original. Similarly to the first campaign, around 13% of the campaign of filled with fake accounts.
The trouble with Zack Snyder
As the bot-filled campaign was making waves online, Warner Bros was having other issues with Zack Snyder. Despite departing from the project after the tragic death of his daughter, Snyder sent an editor to Warner Bros’ studio to retrieve hard drives filled with footage of the movie.
During this time, Snyder was asked numerous times to return the footage. Despite pushback, no action was taken, although reportedly no one at the company expected Snyder to re-edit the movie into a different version than any of the pre-shown edits. Eventually, the director would even egg on fans, releasing a poster with the film reels saying: “JL Director’s Cut Running Time 214. Is it real? Does it exist? Of course it does.”
“He refused to return the hard drives, which were studio property.,” one insider told Rolling Stone. “This was just more orchestrated bullshit from Zack.”
Insiders also claim that Snyder was uncooperative following the announcement of Snyder Cut’s eventual release. For example, extra scenes that were shot in the director’s backyard were not greenlit by the studio, and Snyder demanded more money for the scenes to be created.
Furthermore, Zack Snyder demanded to include Martian Manhunter in the movie, a move that shocked executives. Not only was the character never in the original scripts or storyboards, but also Warner Bros already had plans for the character. According to insiders, Snyder threatened to delete heavily marketed footage if the character wasn’t in the movie.
Was the movie even good?
The Snyder Cut is the best version of Justice League, there’s no doubt about that. However, it’s far from perfect, and some of that does come down to Snyder’s auteur nature.
The movie has one of the best superhero moments ever involving The Flash, but also is bogged down by meaningless things. For example, the aforementioned Martian Manhunter should’ve been left out.
However, even as someone who likes the movie, it is not worth the abuse that fans spread online. Nothing ever will be.