Trailer Trash: What Got Cut From ‘Justice League’

Justice league

There were whole movies that disappeared from trailer to release.

After a personal tragedy, director Zack Snyder stepped down from helming Justice League and handed production off to Joss Whedon. The ensuing co-creation is a perfect case study for understanding directorial vision and working creative needs into films while grappling with the demands of a studio’s tentpole and the expectations of a superhero fanbase.

This meant cuts, reshoots, and a seismic shift in marketing technique. Snyder’s Justice League is not Whedon’s Justice League and neither are the film promised by the trailers. Matthew Vose’s video essay picks apart the trailers, moment by moment, looking for shots and sequences that didn’t make the final product. Figuring out the impetus behind this, and the reasons why they were left in the marketing to begin with, grants insight into a filmmaking phenomenon at the very moment the bubble reaches maximum tension.

The era of too-big-to-fail franchise filmmaking brings out our most cynical analyses, but by looking purely at inclusions of the text itself, we can begin to auteuristically map WHY these moments are being included (whether they belong to the vision of Snyder, Whedon, or a nebulous group of WB and DC executives). This knowledge may seem petty or inconsequential, but when marketing for films becomes a years-long undertaking and the build-up for the movie becomes more excruciating than a feature’s runtime could ever be, learning about the modern relationship between making a movie and selling a movie is important for critics and filmmakers alike.

Jacob Oller: Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).