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Last week, following years of campaigning and nearly a full year after it was officially announced to be on the way, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a.k.a. the Snyder Cut, finally premiered on HBO Max. The four-hour Justice League tale has earned much better critical reception compared to its theatrical predecessor, and as DC Extended Universe fans know, it’s not the franchise’s only director’s cut that’s built up a following. Alas, for those of you who’ve been wanting to see director David Ayer’s definitive vision for Suicide Squad, a.k.a. the Ayer Cut, some bad news just came in.
During an interview with Variety, WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff was asked if following the arrival of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, will more DCEU director’s cuts be released, with David Ayer’s cut of Suicide Squad specifically being mentioned. Sarnoff responded:
We won’t be developing David Ayer’s cut.
Well, that’s a devastating blow to the #ReleaseTheAyerCut movement, which started gaining in traction back in May 2020 after Zack Snyder’s Justice League was announced. Like the Snyder Cut, there are plenty of differences between what unfolded in David Ayer’s original version of Suicide Squad and what was presented in the theatrical cut, ranging from more scenes featuring Jared Leto’s Joker to a badass fight sequence between Katana and the rest of Task Force X. While the theatrical cut was commercially successful and later won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, its critical reception left a lot to be desired.
David Ayer has been supportive of the efforts to getting the Ayer Cut released to the public, saying last November that his version of Suicide Squad was “ripped to pieces” as a result of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice being “chewed up by the critics” and the success of Deadpool. This resulted in Suicide Squad being changed from a “soulful drama” to a more comedic story. Ayer confirmed on numerous occasions that the director’s cut of Suicide Squad exists, and urged fans to ask AT&T and HBO Max (which you can sign up for with this link) to “let it see the sunlight.”
Unfortunately, this goal will not be accomplished. Now granted, there was a time when there were no plans to release the Snyder Cut, and look how that turned out. So just because Ann Sarnoff and the rest of the WarnerMedia brass aren’t interested in releasing the Ayer Cut now doesn’t necessarily mean that they couldn’t change their minds in the future. It’s hard to imagine the original Suicide Squad not performing well as an HBO Max offering, especially since Ayer said it would be “easy to complete.”
However, it’s possible that WarnerMedia’s unwillingness to release the Ayer Cut boils down to two reasons. One, although the #ReleaseTheAyerCut movement is obviously filled with passionate fans, its ranks haven’t grown as big as the Snyder Cut fanbase. Two, while there are no more Justice League movies planned for the immediate future (although the #RestoreTheSnyderVerseMovement is well underway), Task Force X is sticking around the cinematic realm, with James Gunn having written and directed The Suicide Squad. So perhaps WB isn’t keen on releasing the Ayer Cut to the masses because it doesn’t want to draw attention away from the property ushering in a new era.
Whatever WarnerMedia’s reasoning is, for now, the proverbial Ayer Cut book has been closed, but you can see a new iteration of Task Force X charge into action when The Suicide Squad arrives on August 6. James Gunn is also shooting a Peacemaker spinoff series, which will premiere on HBO Max in early 2022.