Zack Snyder Explains To Joe Rogan That So-Called “Toxic Fans” Helped Save Lives: “Lives Were Saved By That Money”

Zack Snyder
The Joe Rogan Experience

Perhaps the most polarizing large-scale filmmaker going right now just went on the most polarizing large-scale podcast for an interview. A big part of the reason Zack Snyder and The Joe Rogan Experience carry those respective labels is because they have massive legions of fans who consume their content and will passionately defend those men without a second thought.

Whatever you think of Joe Rogan or Snyder, it’s undeniably fascinating that they got together to discuss a wide array of topics. Most interesting to me was how the conversation veered toward their lack of control over how people react to their content. In particular, they dug into the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut fan movement, which led to [HBO] Max releasing Snyder’s epic four-hour version of Justice League.

When it originally released in 2017, Justice League was supposed to be Warner Bros.’ answer to Marvel’s sprawling cinematic universe. Snyder’s vision was compromised well before then, when Batman v Superman hit theaters with 30 solid minutes of the director’s original vision hacked out. Critics slammed the hell out of it, and fan reaction was, well, very polarizing.

Unfortunately, during the production of Justice League, Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, took her own life. He tried to push through and continue working, but ultimately stepped away, as Joss Whedon came in to do reshoots. Rather than touching up Snyder’s work and throwing in a little more humor, Whedon overhauled most of the film, and it was a disaster.

One silver lining that emerged from the turbulent, tragic situation was Snyder’s original vision for Justice League eventually being realized. More importantly, though, the fans who rallied around the Snyder Cut raised $500,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Snyder made the point that the fan base’s collective ability to effect real change outweighed any toxicity generated by a vocal minority, and Rogan made the point that any fans of any pop culture phenomenon will inevitably have a small, toxic segment within such a large community:

Snyder has never been a critical darling for the most part, yet Zack Snyder’s Justice League registered a solid 72% from Rotten Tomatoes critics and a 93% audience score. There are many people around the world who deeply appreciate his style of crafting films. Nobody can deny his ability to create stunning visuals.

I’m not a blind Snyder fanboy who can’t acknowledge flaws in his work. I haven’t seen Rebel Moon yet, partially because I know his inevitably superior director’s cut is on the way. What does seem to be true is that he’s a stand-up guy. For all the crap he put up with at Warner Bros., it was pretty surprising that in their billion-dollar blockbuster Barbie, there was a moment dedicated to throwing shade at the Snyder Cut movement.

The joke was clearly referencing the toxic minority of fans who were a little too invested. Given all that happened around the Justice League production, it did feel like a bit of a low blow. Nevertheless, WB gave Snyder a heads up in advance, and although he previously revealed his reaction in a Men’s Health profile, the interview with Rogan was the first time I’ve seen Snyder actually talk about it:

“I love the movie, and I’m actually lampooned in that film! There’s a line in the movie that says, ‘I feel like I was in a dream where all I cared about was the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League.’ That is a line in that movie.

And I’m like, that’s awesome! My wife, she goes, ‘That’s cool, right?’ That’s cool that they came after you. I was like, that’s 100% cool.”

My main takeaway from the Barbie discourse on the podcast was more to do with just how well Snyder took the joke. If I were him, I’d feel some type of way about it.

Snyder and Rogan have become epic role models for a lot of weird-energy dude bros, and it’s hilarious that they both enjoyed the movie Barbie. Much to the chagrin of that particular demographic. And just in case there’s any doubting Snyder’s genuine appreciation for Barbie as a character/concept/etc., there is this:

We’d be here all day if I really dug into how much Snyder’s larger vision for his planned slate of DC movies got derailed by studio executive interference.

The clip below with Rogan gets into all that a lot more.

If you’re interested in further details, I did a deep dive on Batman v Superman last year. It’s worth checking out what BvS and Justice League screenwriter Chris Terrio said a few years ago in a lengthy Vanity Fair feature story. It’s as refreshingly candid as you’ll ever hear anyone be about the behind the scenes of big-budget movie-making in Hollywood gone wrong.

Henry Cavill’s CGI-removed mustache is the tip of the iceberg:

Here’s the full podcast:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock