The Power of Fans

Menaka Garapaty, Staff Writer

Many fandoms of mass media have helped build on celebrated works with creativity of their own. These large fan bases allow artists to thrive in the competitive entertainment industry. Whether the creators are artistic geniuses or social media influencers, they have the fans to thank for much of their popularity and success. However, directors, singers, writers, etc. rely so much on support from their fans, that oftentimes they lose creative control and give in to what the fans expect of them. It can be argued that the redo of the Justice League movie is an example of this.

On March 18th, Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released on HBO max, three years after the original Justice League movie came out. Many fans began advocating for the release of director Jack Snyder’s version of Justice League ever since the long-awaited 2017 Justice League flopped, disappointing critics and dedicated DC fans. The fandom believed the film was a disaster because Snyder, who was supposed to direct the first film, stepped down to be with his family after his daughter died by suicide. Joss Whedon took on the role of director, and when Justice League hit theaters, fans immediately demanded to see Snyder’s vision of Justice League, or the #SnyderCut.

Push for the Snyder Cut’s release quickly gained momentum. Much of the DC fandom pooled money to have airplanes fly a “Release the Snyder Cut” banner near the Warner Bros studio, as well as the San Diego Comic-Con. Fans took to social media, as it was a way for people to feel connected with fellow fans and makers of the movie. Unfortunately, they were relentless and horrifically toxic. This has become common among all types of fandoms because social media gives them the opportunity to provide input, so when their opinions aren’t heard, fans can get aggressive. 

Considering that the demands for the Snyder Cut came at an overwhelmingly large scale, a few questions must be asked: Was the Jack Snyder Cut a piece of art derived from creative vision or was its purpose to fulfill demands among the fandom? And, is this amount of power toxic or beneficial for the creator of the content?

Senior Branden Blue answers these questions from the perspective of a DC comics fan. 

“I do not think this amount of power is toxic when it is being used to bring something that the fans as a whole would want,” Blue explains. “Sometimes there are only a select handful of people in charge of making the films who honestly may not even care about the fandom that much, and it leads to awful interpretations. With this being said, I think fanbases having power is beneficial since it keeps the filmmakers accountable.”

Just like Blue explained, there is a lot of good that comes out of a big fandom. For example, the Snyder movement contributed half a million dollars to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention by collecting donations and selling merchandise. This demonstrated the amount of kindness that can come from a mass media fandom. Likewise, HBO Max is raising money for suicide prevention programs which could help spare others the grief that Snyder and his family faced

The fans’ dedication persisted, and support for Snyder’s family did as well. Warner Bros saw the free publicity as the perfect opportunity to release Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and after three years since the movement began, the four-hour film was streaming on HBO Max. 

Blue watched the movie and was pleased with Snyder’s take. 

“In the original it was easy to tell that the people who made it [Justice League] wanted it to be like MCU films and that ruined the movie, especially since DC is known for being more mature and slightly darker than Marvel Movies,” Blue said. “The Snyder Cut was worth it, because it is what DC fans wanted to have since before the original film came out.”