Zack Snyder is known for many things, but one of them is a somewhat frequent dissatisfaction with the theatrical cut of his movies. He’s released more than one director’s cut in his career, and has expressed interest in doing even more. One might have thought that the director’s new deal with Netflix might eliminate the need for Director’s Cuts of those films, but in the case of Rebel Moon, which is now set to be two movies quite the opposite is true. The Director’s Cuts have been planned from the beginning.
Speaking at a Rebel Moon trailer event attended by ComicBook.com, Snyder explained why the movie will see a Director’s Cut sometime after the initial release of the movie. It sounds like Snyder just really likes the idea behind Director’s Cuts, and so when discussing the idea with Netflix, they just decided to make it part of the initial plan. He explained…
I can't help myself. The hope is for it to come out down the road. It was cool because I think the one thing with Netflix was coming off Justice League, and look, I've done since Dawn of the Dead, I did a Director's Cut for Dawn... Watchmen. I have two, there's two Director's Cuts, which is crazy. Yeah, BvS, of course, is one of my favorites, of course. And Justice League, that goes without saying. And so, it was just cool in the initial conversation I was having with Netflix about just this concept of them saying like, 'Oh, well, why don't we make it part of the plan?' That makes it a lot easier.
There are multiple reasons why Director’s Cuts might come to exist. A lot of the time it’s because the director may not have final cut privileges for a film, and so the end result released in theatres isn’t actually the movie they wanted to make., But clearly, if Netflix is open to a Director’s Cut this early, they’re not really standing in the way of Zack Snyder’s vision. Other directors have spoken about Netflix providing final-cut privileges to them when other studios likely would not.
Sometimes it may become a simple issue of length. Scenes need to be trimmed to hit a certain runtime that the director might not otherwise want to lose. But again, runtime isn’t really an issue with Netflix. Movies can be any length because viewers can watch at their leisure and there isn’t a theater trying to fit a certain number of screenings into a day.
One wonders why they don’t just release the Rebel Moon Director’s Cut as the final version of the movie. It seems that Zack Snyder still understands that while there is information he might want to include in a movie, not all of it is strictly necessary. So he likes the idea of being able to release the film in two ways, for lack of a better word “theatrical cut” and then the longer version for those people that want to go deeper and get more details. He continued…
There's a great history of director's cuts that are just cool. When I was in film school, I just always thought that was cool that there was this other movie that you could discover. And so, for me, there's a lot of... When you make a movie, you have a lot of voices in your own creative mind telling you what would be narratively just the strongest solution. And then, you have this other tug on you. I do anyway, that is like, 'Well, what if there's rabbit holes that are really amazing to go down and just kind of learn about different aspects of the characters?' For me, those have always been a thing that in the drawing when I draw the scenes or when I am writing the script, I always end up with a lot of that stuff that I feel like really tells the sort of deeper dive story.
Snyder has produced his share of Director's Cuts over the years. His Director's Cut of Watchman is widely seen as the superior version. Zack Snyder's Justice League while maybe not technically a Director's Cut, is still a very similar idea. Snyder is still making noises about wanting to produce a Director's Cut of Sucker Punch one day.
As far as what the differences between the two cuts will be. The first versions of Rebel Moon are designed to be a PG-13 experience, while the Director’s Cuts will also be more violent, likely R-rated affairs. Snyder expects that watching the Director’s Cuts of the two films will probably be about six hours, so the first cuts will clock in somewhere less than that, depending on exactly how much is being added back in. The first part of Rebel Moon will hit Netflix in December, with the second film set for April next year.