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43 Changes Zack Snyder Made To “Justice League” That Turned It Into Basically A Different Movie

The plot is mostly the same, but these two movies could not feel more different.

Unless you haven’t checked the internet in over a year, you’ve probably heard about the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, aka a re-cut and somewhat re-shot version of 2017’s Justice League.

Warner Bros.

Snyder left the film before finishing it because his daughter died, and Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the movie.

I genuinely thought this day would never come, but the Snyder Cut is here and available to stream on HBO Max.

Warner Bros.

So, in the interest of public service, I watched both movies, and here is a list of all the differences between the original theatrical cut of Justice League and Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

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Some changes are big, some are small, and I’m sure there are more than I was able to catalogue.

🚨🚨MAJOR SPOILER ALERT 🚨🚨 This post basically spoils ALL of both Justice League and Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Seriously, it is chock-full of spoilers. Turn back now if that’s not what you want.

1. Right off the top, there are some pretty clear technical differences between the movies.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

The original’s aspect ratio was 16:9, which is pretty typical widescreen, and the Snyder version has an aspect ratio of 4:3. The Snyder version is twice as long as the original (four hours, compared to two), divided into six parts and an epilogue, and is rated R. Each director also used a totally different color palette.

2. The movies have different opening scenes.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

The first scene of the theatrical cut is a cellphone video of Superman talking about hope. The Snyder version starts with a slo-mo version of Superman’s death in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the Mother Boxes are activated by Superman’s final scream.

3. Each hero’s introduction is at least a little different, and some of them have new introductions altogether.

Aquaman's theatrical introduction on the left and the Snyder version on the right with a different color palette
Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s introductions are the closest to the original. Aquaman’s first scene in the fishing village is a bit longer and has different dialogue, and Wonder Woman’s museum rescue has a different score and a more intense fight sequence (this version actually makes it clear she killed the terrorist she was fighting).

4. One of the most immediately obvious differences between the two movies is Steppenwolf’s appearance.

Snyder's version of Steppenwolf is more menacing and alien-like
Warner Bros. / HBO Max

He also doesn’t call the Mother Boxes “Mother,” which was one of the things I disliked most about the theatrical version.

5. Steppenwolf’s fight against the Amazons is longer and highlights more of their fighting style.

On the left there are Amazons trapped and on the right Hippolyta looks on in anguish
HBO Max

It also shows the sacrifice of the Amazons who stay behind so Hippolyta can escape with the Mother Box.

6. Diana’s knowledge of the Mother Boxes comes from her finding a cave painting that explains the mythology of Darkseid, the Anti-Life Equation, and the Mother Boxes.

Diana on the left and a closeup of the cave painting on the right with the caption, "a parademon!"
HBO Max

It’s a bit clunky and contrived, but it does explain how Diana knows so much about the Boxes.

7. The Snyder version expands Aquaman’s backstory in a way that ties in better with Aquaman.

HBO Max

Willem Dafoe appears as Vulko and tries to convince Arthur to take his place as the rightful king of Atlantis. Vulko also gives him the trident he uses in this film.

8. This version also reveals that Steppenwolf isn’t the big bad we originally thought he was, and that he actually reports to DeSaad, who in turn reports to Darkseid.

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This is pretty similar to MCU’s Avengers, in which Loki reported to the Other, who in turn reported to Thanos.

9. In this version, Darkseid is the one who invaded Earth and fought against the Amazons, Atlantans, Greek Gods, and humans, not Steppenwolf.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

The battle is a bit longer and bloodier in this version, and it also explains the Anti-Life Equation, which appeared in the theatrical cut but was never explained.

QUICK EXPLAINER: The Anti-Life Equation is a formula that basically gives the bearer control over every sentient being, which is why Darkseid wants it. This is important later.

10. Barry Allen’s introduction is completely different in this movie.

Barry leaning over Iris in the street after rescuing her
HBO Max

The scene when he visits his dad in jail is still in the movie, but when we first see him he’s trying to get a job as a dog walker. He also uses his powers to save Iris West from a car accident. Iris is played by Kiersey Clemons!

11. One of the biggest changes this version made was expanding Victor Stone/Cyborg’s backstory.

HBO Max

We get to see Victor back when he was a scientific genius/football prodigy in college, before a car accident killed his mom and left him close to dead.

12. We learn that as Cyborg, he can control/infiltrate any kind of technology, which allows him to even manipulate banks and the stock market.

Cyborg flying
HBO Max

His mechanical body is basically an Iron Man suit. Sorry for using Marvel references, it’s just the easiest way to explain some things! Don’t hate me! But anyway, you wouldn’t know all this unless you’d read the comics, because the theatrical release never really explained his powers.

13. Bruce’s first scene with Barry/The Flash and Diana’s first scene with Victor/Cyborg are both still in the movie, but they’re each slightly different.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

14. Amber Heard’s Mera looks about the same in both versions, but she has a British accent in this one.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

She has an American accent in the theatrical Justice League and Aquaman.

15. The discussion to bring Superman back to life involves the whole team, instead of being an argument between Bruce and Diana.

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This makes more sense, since Barry and Victor are the actual geniuses on the team who understand how to harness the Mother Box’s energy. Victor also has a unique understanding of the Box because it is what his father used to save his life after his car accident.

16. Instead of bringing him back because they need him to be the team leader, they do it because he’s the only one strong enough to fight Steppenwolf.

HBO Max

This also eliminates the kinda dumb subplot about Batman and Wonder Woman feeling like inadequate team leaders that was in the original.

17. The scene between Lois Lane and Martha Kent is very different from the one in the theatrical cut. Also, MARTHA IS ACTUALLY MARTIAN MANHUNTER IN DISGUISE.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

This was very much not the case in the theatrical cut.

18. When the Mother Box turns on to revive Superman, Victor is connected to it and has a vision in which Wonder Woman and Aquaman are dead.

HBO Max

The vision also shows Superman cradling someone’s charred corpse (possibly Lois?), as well as an eerie shot of him holding Batman’s cowl with red eyes. This was meant to set up the second and third Justice League movies, which you can read all about thanks to Zack Snyder.

19. This is a trend throughout the whole movie, but the coloring is really different in each version of Superman’s resurrection.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

The Snyder version uses a color palette that makes it look more like Batman v. Superman.

20. Superman uses heat vision against Batman when he sees him again, which is a bit more intense than what he did in the theatrical version.

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He doesn’t stop until he sees Lois, who happened to be nearby because she’d been visiting his statue. In the theatrical version, Batman has Alfred bring Lois as a contingency plan in case Superman woke up and was evil.

21. HUGE change from the theatrical release: Cyborg’s father dies!

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

He sacrifices himself to help the team, but in the theatrical version he gets to live. Ray Fisher sells the heck out of these scenes, perfectly playing Victor’s grief despite his very complicated relationship with his dad.

22. Clark and Lois’s scene on Kent Farm has completely different dialogue and a different ending.

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Plotwise, it’s basically the same.

23. The team’s plan for fighting Steppenwolf makes more sense in this version. There are two long planning scenes that weren’t in the theatrical release.

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In practice, the plan is basically the same as it was in Justice League, but I cannot overstate how much easier it is to follow the action in this version, and how satisfying it is to understand why things are happening.

24. Superman goes to the Fortress of Solitude! I’m pretty sure it’s just his old ship, but he hears both of his dads (Pa Kent and Jor-El, aw) and gets his hands on some new clothes...

Pa Kent says, "Fly, son. It's time." and Jor-El says, "You will help them accomplish wonders."
HBO Max

25. ...AND IT’S THE BLACK SUPERMAN SUIT, HELLO THERE.

Superman levitating
HBO Max

This is a really cool scene, and this is where I humbly say that I think Henry Cavill is actually a really good Superman.

26. There really is a lot of blood in this version, thanks, R rating!

A character getting impaled on a stake
HBO Max

It’s more gory when you see it in motion, I promise.

27. The Russian family that we see throughout the theatrical version, who is eventually saved by the Flash during the climax, is not in this version.

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Neither is the scene where Aquaman sits on the Lasso of Truth.

28. Alfred has a lot more interaction with the non-Batman members of the Justice League, including a scene with Superman.

Alfred working on a car as Superman walks up
HBO Max

There’s also a scene where he tries to teach Wonder Woman how to make tea, among others.

29. The Unity (aka the three Mother Boxes) has a totally different design in both versions, and the fight with Steppenwolf plays out differently.

In the theatrical release, the unity look like a ball of aluminum foil while it's more cube-like in the Snyder cut
Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Wonder Woman basically fights him alone (until Superman arrives) in the theatrical version, but not anymore!

30. Superman’s entrance to the final fight is waaay better in this version.

Superman says "Well, I believe in truth. But I'm also a big fan of justice" in the theatrical release. He says, "Not. Impressed" in the Snyder cut
Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Superman is supposed to have a good sense of humor in the comics (especially compared to broody Batman), and it’s nice to see it in a dark, edgy DCEU flick.

31. When Superman and Cyborg separate the three Mother Boxes, there’s no giant explosion like there was in the original.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

But there is one when the Boxes finish converging, and it (momentarily) kills them both.

32. Massive super cool change: THE FLASH TURNS BACK TIME. He’s not able to help Cyborg in time, but he’s able to run fast enough to rewind everything...

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There is an amazing shot of Barry running as the world literally recomposes around him, and there is a very gross shot of Superman and Cyborg’s flesh and blood recomposing after the explosion.

33. ...and as soon as the Flash touches Cyborg with the supercharge, we see Victor inside the Boxes, where he sees himself with his parents, the way he was before his accident.

Victor's father says, "My broken boy, we can make it whole again" to which Cyborg replies "I'm not broken"
HBO Max

It’s meant to tempt Victor with the image of when his life was “whole.” This is an awesome scene, and one of the best things this movie does is give us such a rich Victor/Cyborg arc.

34. Steppenwolf’s death is completely different.

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In the theatrical version, the parademons attack him. The Snyder version has Aquaman impale him with a trident, and Wonder Woman cuts his head off.

35. This shot of Wonder Woman is used in both films, but in the Snyder version she’s cutting off Steppenwolf’s head. In the theatrical version, she was just destroying his ax.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

In the new version, Superman uses his ice breath to destroy the ax.

36. We also see Darkseid and DeSaad discussing how they'll attack Earth in the future, with Darkseid concluding that he’ll “do it the old way.” Very Thanos vibes.

Darkseid and DeSaad standing on platform surrounded by tons of parademons
HBO Max

37. Onto the epilogue! We seemingly get confirmation that Lois is pregnant.

A closeup of a pregnancy test box
HBO Max

She takes a pregnancy test earlier in the movie, and Bruce says, “Congratulations, by the way,” to Clark after buying back the farm. This tracks with what Zack Snyder revealed about his plans for Justice League 2 and 3.

38. The final voiceover monologue was originally delivered by Lois, but in this version it’s by Victor’s father, Silas, who left his son a tape with a voice message.

Warner Bros.

I love Amy Adams, and she’s a great Lois Lane, but this ending is so much more emotional. Joe Morton’s voice is perfection, and hearing from Silas after his sacrifice is a gut punch.

39. Diana’s outfit is an entirely different color in the scene where she, Bruce, and Alfred are looking at potential Justice League HQs.

Warner Bros. / HBO Max

It’s unclear if that’s just because of the color edit of the whole scene or if someone specifically changed the color of the dress.

40. This movie doesn’t have any post- or mid-credits scenes, but it does include the post-credits scene with Lex Luthor and Deathstroke as part of the epilogue.

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The scene where the Flash and Superman race is gone.

OK, now for the scene that will have us all salivating for the future Zack Snyder–led Justice League future we will probably never get...

This scene was in no way, shape, or form in Justice League, but there were subtle hints of it in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was also directed by Snyder.

41. Batman has a nightmare about the future, and it is INTENSE.

Warner Bros.

Buckle up, ’cause here’s what happens:

– The world has been overrun by Darkseid and the parademons, and society is in shambles.

– Batman is with the Flash, Cyborg, Mera, Deathstroke, and the Joker (YEP, HI, JARED LETO), and they’re hiding from someone, someone who Mera wants to kill for “what he did to Arthur.” You can tell some time has passed because Deathstroke has a mohawk and the Flash and Cyborg have new suits.

– Joker and Batman argue, and we learn that Harley Quinn is dead, Joker murdered Robin, and Lois Lane died because of Batman. Joker also blames Batman for “creating this world” and needing alternate timelines to fix it.

– Suddenly, Evil Superman finds them, and they’re about to fight.

– This makes sense with the vision that Cyborg had earlier in the movie. Look, I don’t wanna give everything away, but Zach Snyder gave a pretty spoiler-filled explanation on that ending. Read at your own peril!

42. Just because it’s a big deal, let’s take a look at how different the Joker looks from when we last saw him in Suicide Squad.

The Suicide Squad version of the Joker has bright green hair, face tattoos while the Snyder version is disheveled with longer hair that's a faded green, smudged makeup, and no face tattoos
Warner Bros. / HBO Max

43. Batman wakes up from his nightmare to a visit from Martian Manhunter, who tells him that Darkseid will be back, and that they need to find the Anti-Life Equation before he does.

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I honestly think Snyder added these scenes to give us a little taste of the movies we’re never gonna get.

PHEW. There it is. All (or most, hopefully) of the differences between both versions of Justice League. Did I miss any? Which version of the movie is your favorite? Discuss!

Personally, even though the Snyder version is way too long and not quiiiite perfect, I like it better than the version we saw in 2017. It was more logical, more emotional, and felt more epic. The characters arcs did the whole cast justice (pun intended). It’s incredibly satisfying to see Zack Snyder’s full vision after so long!

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