How Zack Snyder May Doom His Sci-Fi Epic Before It Ever Releases – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

How Zack Snyder May Doom His Sci-Fi Epic Before It Ever Releases

Zack Snyder is a well-known director renowned for his work in the DC universe, having directed films such as Man of Steel and his version of Justice League before James Gunn took over as co-CEO of the franchise. However, Snyder has now moved on from superheroes and is focusing on his own original idea, Rebel Moon, which will be released on Netflix in December 2023. The film, which is already showing signs of Snyder’s signature style, is a science fiction space epic about a colony threatened by a space-born army, with the colony sending a young woman to find warriors on distant planets to help them fight back against Regent Balisarius.

Rebel Moon boasts an impressive cast, including Sofia Boutella, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jena Malone, Djimon Hounsou, and Ray Fisher, who previously worked with Snyder on The Justice League. The film appears to be a unique blend of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and George Lucas’s Star Wars, with Snyder putting his own twist on the two classics.

Snyder’s style is often described as “stylized,” with a preference for dark and gritty themes. He has directed well-received films like 300 and Watchmen, but his work is not without its detractors. His latest film, Army of the Dead, also features his signature ultra-look, with Snyder seemingly more focused on poster design than the film itself. He has been quoted as saying, “I think I just have a natural operatic aesthetic,” which sums up his approach quite succinctly.

Snyder’s involvement in Justice League was controversial, with the director claiming that Warner Bros. destroyed his masterpiece with the studio’s interference. The hashtag #releasethesnydercut eventually led to the director being given millions of dollars to create his own version of the film, which was released to mixed reviews.

Rebel Moon is Snyder’s first collaboration with Netflix, and the streamer is excited to introduce the film to the public. However, there are already signs that Snyder’s style may clash with the platform’s preferences, as the film was originally over three hours long, and Snyder has created two cuts of the film, one for general audiences and another for adults.

Despite the potential for creative clashes, Rebel Moon is shaping up to be an exciting addition to Snyder’s filmography and a unique addition to the sci-fi genre. The first part of the film will be released on Netflix in December 2023, with the second part to follow.

Zack Snyder is well known for the Snyderverse in DC, helming films such as Man of Steel and his version of Justice League before James Gunn was announced as the new co-CEO of the franchise.

However, the director is done with superheroes and has now moved on to his own original idea. Rebel Moon will be hitting Netflix in Dec. 2023, and it is already showing signs of meddling, not from the outside, but from the director himself.


What Is Rebel Moon?

Djimon Hounsou in Rebel Moon

Rebel Moon is based on a story written by Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, and Kurt Johnstad. It is a science fiction space epic about a colony that finds itself threatened by a space-born army. The colony must fight back the hordes of Regent Balisarius. To do this, they send out a young woman to find warriors on distant planets to help the colony as they make their stand.


It will star Sofia Boutella, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jena Malone, Djimon Hounsou, and Snyder’s former cast member of The Justice LeagueRay Fisher, as Blood Axe.

The film seems like a healthy mix of Akira Kurosawa and George Lucas. Snyder is taking the ideas of the Seven Samurai and Star Wars and crushing them together into one big pulp. It certainly looks interesting, but he is doing a few things that seem suspect.

What Does it Mean to Snyder It Up?

First Watchmen Set Photos Leak, Plot Details Teased
Warner Bros.

For many people, Snyder’s work would be considered “stylized.” He likes it dark, and he likes it gritty. Look no further than the ideas he has chosen to take on. 300, Watchmen, Justice League. All three feature manly men doing manly things in a style where the contrast is up to 11, and the scowls are plentiful. Everyone is very serious about their serious job.

Also, look no further than Army of the Dead. Released in 2021, the director gave the same ultra-look to his zombie movie set in the ruins of Las Vegas. He often seems to prepare more for his posters than his actual films.

Related: Zack Snyder Used Watchmen to Inform His Cut of Justice League for HBO Max

This is not to say they aren’t fun. Snyder is having a blast with his green screens and muscled-out staring contests. His movies do well, mainly because audiences think they’re getting something good (Watchmen) or want to see what new take a director has on a previous property (Man of Steel).

He’s also hyper-violent, seems to like women in short skirts or nothing at all (see Sucker Punch), and cannot wait to tell you how great his work is. He is quoted as saying, “I think I just have a natural operatic aesthetic.” This is an observation of someone who holds their own work in high esteem. His work has its fans and its detractors, but creating an action film with multiple actors and your own brand of color balance does not make it operatic.

There is another interesting quote from Snyder. One of his earliest films was a remake of Dawn of the Dead. Released by Universal in 2004, it was met with mixed reviews. Yet, when questioned about the film’s success, Snyder said, “To go back, the mistake that Universal Studios made with ‘Dawn of the Dead‘ was that they didn’t have enough money or cared enough to make a soundtrack.”

This may be one of the Snyderiest quotes of his career. It sums up his “operatic” aesthetic rather neatly. Anyone who saw Watchmen will tell you that the music was overwhelming. He seemed to spend more time buying up the rights to period-specific songs and cool music than he did thinking about how to translate one of the most awarded comics of all time to film. It is something that has dogged him for years, and people are wondering whether his latest film will have the same issues.

Justice League and the Snydering Process

Justice League Snyder Cut
Warner Bros.

Now we get to the meat of Snydering a movie. Justice League was released in 2017 and was meant to be DCs answer to Marvel’s Avengers. Snyder was given leeway to do what he pleased, having already directed Man of Steel (itself a much darker version of people’s favorite flying boy scout) and had a plan. Unfortunately, due to very serious family issues, he took himself away from the project.

In his place, Warner Bros. brought in Joss Whedon, a director with a much lighter take, a brighter aesthetic, and (as it turned out) a real issue when it came to dealing with people. His added scenes, recut the film, and final product wound up a mess of ideas that tanked whatever hope there was of a DCEU.

Snyder was furious and said that his masterpiece had been destroyed by the studio and Whedon. A few months later, someone started posting online about #releasethesnydercut. People aren’t sure who, but eventually, it became such a fervor that Snyder was given millions of dollars, the original footage, and allowed to create his own version. The Snyder Cut was released to tepid reviews and was operatic in the sense that it was four hours long.

That was stage one of Snydering. Then he decided to also release a black and white version because he’s a visionary. No reason for it, and nobody was clamoring for this art-house desaturating, but this was stage two of his Snydering the movie. Stage three is the whispering campaign that Warner Bros. should let him complete his trilogy. But they have made it very clear that they have moved on.

Is Rebel Moon Next?

Rebel Moon Alien

Now on to Rebel Moon. Not only is it an original thought from Snyder, but it is also his first collaboration with Netflix. The streamer knows that Snyder brings his own base with him and has expressed their thrill at being the ones to introduce this new movie to the public.

Stage one started when the movie was clocking in at over three hours (operatic?) which seemed to scare some Netflix execs. So now, he’s cutting it into two parts. He is unable to keep his films under two hours and seems to refuse to do so.

Related: Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon Too Epic to be Just One Movie, Says Producer

Stage two came about when Snyder announced that he created two cuts of Rebel Moon. The first is for “everyone to enjoy,” and the second is more explicit and meant for adults. The director cannot choose where to stash all of his brilliance. He must allow everyone of all ages to bask in his (operatic?) auteurism.

Stage three hasn’t happened yet. It will happen when Netflix sees the numbers and does not allow him to make a sequel. This will be because they have Netflixed it. But that conversation is best saved for another time.

Rebel Moon will be released in two parts. The first will be on Netflix in December 2023.

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