Zack Snyder’s fans are now asking Netflix to ‘Restore the SnyderVerse,’ and it could solve all of Warner Bros. Discovery’s biggest problems.
A new fan campaign from those dedicated to Zack Snyder and his vision of the DC Comics universe suggests removing Warner Bros. from the (anti-life) equation entirely. With the money troubles the studio currently faces, “Restoring the SnyderVerse” on Netflix may not be as ridiculous as it might sound.
Since the news that Henry Cavill was (again) out as Superman, a certain group of fans has kept “Fire James Gunn and Peter Safran” trending. Obviously, Warner Bros. Discovery believes in DC Studios’ co-CEOs’ ability to right the ship that is the DC Universe. For all of their pleas to restore the DC Extended Universe, Snyder himself was always missing from the equation, happily over at Netflix working on original stories like Rebel Moon. Yet, in an age where Tom Hardy’s Venom was (ever so briefly) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, never say “never” when it comes to these billion-dollar characters. It’s the longest of long shots, especially given how sensitive Warner Bros. has always been about its marquee characters. Still, if Netflix is willing to spend money for the license, Gunn and Safran should simply wish Snyder luck. He’d need it.
Has Anyone Asked Zack Snyder If He Wants To ‘Restore the SnyderVerse?’
Since releasing Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, the director has been genial in public to Warner Bros. and DC. He’s also never expressed any desire to return to that universe, especially now that he’s neck-deep in zombies and weird aliens. Yet, he remains the only person who could restore the Snyderverse. Warner Bros. Discovery should jump at the chance if the Big Red N offers. Beyond simply making it Netflix and Snyder’s problem to rally the mega-movie-star cast he’d need, it could help the studio recover from previous management teams’ mistakes.
Licensing the characters to Netflix means that Snyder likely gets full creative control, which is what his fans want for him. This means that they would (potentially) subscribe en masse to Netflix, perhaps the entire time he’s making the film. The streamer could earn back the budget and licensing fees before the movie even debuts. Putting this franchise there also takes the target off the backs of the new Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Even disconnection from the larger DCU continuity hasn’t protected Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson from being lambasted in a contest between Snyder and Ben Affleck. Gunn and Safran get their new universe and miles of multiversal distance between their story and the one that began with Snyder.
Warner Bros. Discovery already admitted it wants to go back to an older Hollywood content model. That means producing shows and films that are then licensed to other streamers or studios for distribution. Yet, in just giving Snyder and Netflix the license, actually making the films lands squarely on their shoulders. One has to wonder if the Snyder and Netflix love affair continues when he wants to spend half a billion dollars to bring Darkseid to Earth. Still, for Warner Bros., all that matters is that the Netflix checks clear on time.
Warner Bros. Discovery Could Win an Unwinnable Battle with Snyder Fans
Snyder’s arrival in the DC Universe started under Timer Warner, and then the company became WarnerMedia when AT&T purchased the studio. The new regime lacked any faith in Snyder’s vision, leading to the debacle that was the theatrical Justice League release and the next merger. Not only would this move allow them to give Snyder’s online fandom everything it wants, but Netflix would also be incentivized to host the other DCEU films (at a surely high premium) as well. Until WBD gets its tens of billions of dollars of debt under control, this suggestion feels even more viable than spending $70 million to finish Snyder’s movie at the start of a global pandemic.
Netflix could then earn the loyalty of Snyder’s fans even more by doubling down on his vision, from the narrative tone to the color grading. Their DC movies would stand in clear contrast to the brighter, more aspirational tone Gunn is likely to set for the new DCU. But the parent company? Well, WBD gets to have its bright and shiny shared universe, along with its edgy adults-only one as well. One way David Zaslav could prove he’s not in over his head running a massive media company like WBD is by being the first executive to understand these characters. They’ve persisted for over 80 years because there are so many different takes on them. In today’s divided geek audience, having two movie versions might be the smarter play.
Again, this is almost certainly not going to happen unless Snyder’s fans are privy to some Netflix analytics the rest of the world is not. History says Warner Bros. would be against this, at least at a price point that doesn’t make it a losing proposition for Netflix. Still, if WBD is desperate for revenue, licensing out superheroes and villains for the short term is a tried-and-true way to do it. Just ask Marvel.