The COVID-19 pandemic has smashed through the entertainment industry leaving a trail of destroyed plans and delayed projects in its wake. Summer blockbuster season may not happen at all, movie theaters have chained their doors and pretty much every ongoing shoot is now on indefinite hiatus. With that depressing backdrop, the confirmation that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will air in 2021 on HBO Max (which we first reported back in November) came as a ray of sunlight in the gloom.
And yet, according to Deborah Snyder, Coronavirus almost meant the last-minute cancellation of the project. From what we’ve gathered, everything looked pretty rosy back in February. The Snyders hosted a viewing party at their home, inviting Warner Bros., HBO Max and DC executives to watch the incomplete cut of the movie and explain what would be needed to finish it. By all accounts this went swimmingly, though a massive wrench was thrown into the plans when it became apparent that the entertainment industry was about to shut down.
Deborah Snyder explained in an interview with THR that:
“People thought, ‘It won’t be possible to ramp up, and that maybe this should go on the back burner. But we said, ‘No, this is the right time’ because our visual effects houses that rely on so much are running out of work, so now is the time to be doing this.”
It should be at least theoretically possible for the VFX studios working on Justice League back in 2016 and 2017 to restart work quite quickly. After all, the assets are already created and in the archive and we’ve seen various unfinished animatics of scenes from Snyder’s cut. What remains a mystery is just how much the existing cut of the movie is going to be included and what’s going to be either reshot or reworked for the expanded version.
Whatever the case, with effects work currently drying up and the VFX industry sadly notorious for getting rid of their artists at a moment’s notice, anything to keep those rendering farms warm during the COVID-19 pandemic will be welcomed.
And hey, with many months to work on the movie, we hopefully won’t see anything as dreadful as the moustache removal in the Justice League theatrical cut.