The Snyder Cut may not be the only DCEU “alternate” film out there.
Director David Ayer is hopeful that the push for Zack Snyder’s Justice League being made a big event means his original version of 2016’s Suicide Squad can also finally get its due.
It would be a fitting redemption for a movie whose troubled development almost outdoes the Justice League behind-the-scenes drama.
The history of the Ayer Cut
Back in 2015, David Ayer was directing Suicide Squad, based on the DC Comic where the government recruits super-villains for top-secret (and often illegal) missions where they’re not expected to survive.
The film boasted a first-rate cast with Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Squad boss Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as leader Rick Flagg and, most notably, Jared Leto as the Joker.
Reportedly, Ayer’s original cut was a dark action movie, emphasizing these are ruthless criminals and pushing Leto’s wild take on the Joker. But from the start, it was rushed as Ayer wrote the script in just six weeks.
In early 2016, Warner Bros became concerned over the film’s dark take following the lukewarm reception to Batman v Superman and Marvel’s Deadpool’s success. They pushed for not only reshoots but then had the film re-edited by Trailer Park for a lighter tone, closer to the MCU.
Then, after testing both versions with audiences, Warner Bros basically combined the two cuts into one film only weeks before its set August release date.
The result was the film was a mild success at the box office but hampered by the higher costs of reshoots. It was also ravaged by critics and audiences alike.
The director has spoken several times about his original cut of the movie being much better. He related to Entertainment Weekly how frustrated he felt watching the studio ravage it.
“I get it, it’s a business. It’s frustrating because I made a really heartfelt drama and it got ripped to pieces and they tried to turn it into Deadpool, which it just wasn’t supposed to be. And then you take the hit, you’re the captain of the ship, my name was on it. [Laughs] Even though it didn’t represent what I actually made, I would take all the bullets and be a good soldier. I made an amazing movie. It’s an amazing movie, it just scared the s— out of the executives.”
Ayer has discussed several plot points left out. They would have included the Joker teaming with the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne); Katana briefly brainwashed to fight the Squad; a deeper take on the Joker/Harley relationship, and more time for Squad members like Killer Croc and Slipknot.
Could it happen?
Since the Snyder Cut has been shown, fans have pushed Warner Bros to let Ayer finish his Suicide Squad cut. The director has said it would be “easy” to complete his version at a fraction of the $70 million HBO Max spent on the Snyder Cut.
Warner Bros has said they have no plans to do so as James Gunn will be making The Suicide Squad almost a complete reboot of the franchise. But Ayer insists that, like the Snyder Cut, there is room for another version of his movie.
“I think the studios see now that there can be canon, there can be non-canon, the fans just want to touch it. They love the characters, they just want to spend more time with it. And people are way more sophisticated about how movies are made and want to be participants in the journey. There’s room for different things, different versions, different assets being shared with the audience. I think it just helps strengthen the community. But absolute credit to Warner Bros. for supporting Zack and having the courage to explore that.”
While it may seem unlikely, the possibility Ayer follows Snyder in having his true version of Suicide Squad premiere shows the power the “alternate cut” now has with movie fans.
The Suicide Squad debuting in theaters and HBO Max August 6.