Where do I even being? If you thought Zack Snyder could insert symbolism into his films, imagine what he could do with one image. Yesterday, to raise awareness for AFSP, he unveiled a T-shirt design to show his support. In it, was the Mecca of information in regards to his 5-Part saga he was creating for his Superman world. With fans clamoring over what the symbolic messages mean to the obvious ‘Fountainhead’ references, it begins to make sense.
Now, we’ve always known his philosophy on The Man of Steel and the Justice League working in film. First, the Justice League is a top-down affair. In order for them to be fully realized in our world, you need to get Superman right. Secondly, you have to look at the league and how they would work in the world established in Superman’s world. And with the newly released image and confirmation from my source, we finally have that answer.
This Is What We Know
Zack began with Man Of Steel and the intent to have however many films end with a completed story. Think The Dark Knight Trilogy. And that makes sense. Christopher Nolan was wanting to create what he did for Batman, but with Superman. Warner Bros. agreed and allowed Zack to design a story the general audience wasn’t ready for. With 2012 came The Avengers, and the culmination of an event film like no other.
You can imagine that when the studio saw their rivals earn $1 Billion at the box office, they had high hopes for Superman to return to the big screen. After all, Batman in the same year, earned over $1 Billion as well and in 2008. But what they didn’t fully anticipate was how that money was achieved.
The Batman Begins Effect
Taking Batman seriously in the film is how Christopher Nolan earned his $1 Billion box office earning with his next two films. Coming off of Batman & Robin, the character desperately needed an overhaul. But with the reimagining, Nolan stated that no other heroes from DC would exist in his world. That makes sense when it’s 2005 and the only team up films are from the X-Men series.
Nolan wasn’t anticipating to create another film right after Batman Begins. But with the Joker tease at the end, everyone wanted him to. The anticipation began to build and with ample time to generate hype, he released The Dark Knight. It was the perfect setup for a film to earn $1 Billion at the box office. It was a thought-provoking film and a deep dive into the mythos of Batman. We were introduced to Joker, Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent, Maroney and still had Scarecrow return. Oh, and Critics weren’t chastising the film for being long or not having each villain have their own solo film before showing up. That’s how nostalgia should be viewed as.
Man Of Steel
Back in July of 2018, I asked Zack if his intention of the story he originally created was going to be self-contained. Sure, most people knew this, but it was never directly said by the man. So when he simply answered ‘Yes’, I knew that was why Christopher Nolan handpicked Zack to make the film. What none of them could anticipate, however, was how much the studio wanted their own Superhero film.
Creating stories and scripts takes patience and time. And Man of Steel came out AFTER Avengers. So the fact that Zack was then tasked to scrap his Man of Steel sequel in favor of a Justice League film was daunting. Not only did he have the studio begin to question his actions, but the critics acted like this film was the first to show damage to buildings that may or may not contain civilians. So they criticized Zack for the ‘destruction porn’. But Zack was already thinking 6 steps ahead of them. He knew that if the studio wanted a Justice League film, he was going to make it his way.
Batman v Superman
Can you imagine having to create a different version of Batman on film just 2 years after Christopher Nolan? Thinking back on how Christian Bale brought the character to life for 3 films and it’s a wonder we even got this film. But Zack, the clever man he is, knew that as well. So instead of thinking of another young actor to portray the caped crusader, he thought out of the box. How does he get to recreate one of his favorite graphic novels from the ’80s, and turn it into a film? By making Bruce Wayne into a 20-year vet seeing his world crumbling.
Zack knew the films he wanted to create would only have a finite amount of time before characters would be overhauled. In a way, it was the exact opposite of what Marvel was doing. They created film after film that was part of a larger narrative. They would have post-credit scenes to tease their next film so you knew the stakes that you just realized weren’t actually too major. Did they need 19 films before the arrival of Thanos? For me, no. I haven’t watched the majority of their films and I followed the events perfectly fine.
But with Batman v Superman, it was on another level. Yes, it was a continuation of Man of Steel, but you actually can watch both films on their own and still understand it all. In fact, I truly believe Zack was creating something special in regards to NOT having post-credit scenes in his films. The film had so many layers that you could see Zack was building his world with imagery and allegorical symbology. He knew where he was taking HIS story because he wasn’t wanting his world to continue for 40 films over the course of 20 years.
He was brought in to create his own version of the characters and, just like Nolan, was told he would be able to have free reign. Should this film have hit $1 Billion at the box office? Yes. I believe it would have had the critics seen the real version in theaters. The Ultimate Edition was 3 hours long so what did they do? They asked Zack to condense it so they could have more showing during the day. And what did that get them? Pacing and editing issues galore.
This wasn’t the first time the studio didn’t release Zacks true vision in theaters. Watchmen suffered the same critical issues when it was released in 2009. Only this time, it was magnified. When you cut out Superman from his ‘sequel’, in favor of Batman, you lose. Not just with the fans, but the general audience. The reason the v was there instead of ‘Vs’ was because it was a clashing of different ideologies. It was the first indication that Zack was giving us a mind inducing film not seen in the Superhero genre.
With the build-up of having Batman and Superman fight, there needed to be a reason. And that reason, in even the theatrical cut, was evident enough for me. But with others, they just wanted to see them fight. They could care less about the underlying themes both men had. That much is clear when people think they become best friends because their mothers have the same name.
The Set Up
Looking at this film and everything that occurs in it, one begins to wonder how Zack even slipped EVERYTHING he did by the studio. In fact, I truly believe they were so blinded by what Marvel was doing, that they couldn’t see the real film in plain sight. This film was just $130+ Million from cracking the Billion Dollar mark. And that was with attack after attack of critics and bloggers complaining it wasn’t fun enough to enjoy.
And this film wasn’t meant to be fun. It was the 2nd film in an overall arc meant to show how the Justice League could work in the real world. Our world. It’s why Zod getting his neck snapped is justified within the context of the film and not “because Superman doesn’t kill“. Well, in order to have that rule, shouldn’t it be an important value for him? Thus, when Zod happens, the remorse on his face should tell you all you need to know. He doesn’t have comics to fall back on. It was also his first day on the job. Think about that.
Must there be a Superman? There is. And with that statement, you should understand how prolific someone like Superman would be in our world. In one of my top favorite moments for Superman, I mentioned how hearing pundits discuss what Superman means is astonishing. No one knows what he can do, but at the same time, no one has asked what he should do. Does he only help out America? Is there any way to control him?
To answer that question, the simple answer is no. He makes his own decisions. And when he knows that Doomsday needs to be stopped, for the sake of Humanity, he decides. In Man of Steel, he willingly gives himself over to Zod for Earth. Just visit Twitter to see if you would sacrifice yourself for the people there. Then, with all of the rhetoric about the media accusing Superman of a crime he didn’t commit, he still saves us. Everything was there for the payoff.
I shouldn’t have to repeat myself, but I will. The Justice League film we got in theaters, is a farce. That is NOT a Zack Snyder film. And because of that very reason, most of us fans were left in limbo. We had no conclusion to what it was that Snyder was trying to accomplish. All of the little clues and ideas placed throughout both previous films sat in a void. Once you begin to break down EVERYTHING that was mutilated from his original film, it begins to make sense.
The studio attempted to have their cake and eat it too. Had this film been untouched, I’m confident it would have hit $1 Billion. And again, the Studio got in their own way. They literally thought they could change up Zacks vision and it would still work. They were highly mistaken. I could go on for hours about everything that happened to this film but I won’t. Just know that we never saw what was meant to happen. That was, of course, until yesterday.
With the newly released image, we can finally see the ‘Tree of Life’ if you will, of his full saga. The Zack Snyder Conclusion of His Justice League. The way the image is designed, we know it has a specific meaning. What that meaning was, is now confirmed. Taking away the subtext and multi-layered subtleties, and it becomes simple. During production, his ideas were shifted. But had they not, we would have seen the following films look slightly different.
With the image, Superman was the beacon of Hope. And to his right and left, two Meta-Humans with hidden worlds they don’t belong to. With the Flash and Cyborg below them, it begins to take shape. Both of those members had an accident to gain their superpowers. And at the bottom, we have Batman at the foundation of it all.
Looking at the shape, it resembles a cube. But there’s more meaning if you look at how everything is placed. I imagined as much back in October of 2018.
Eric M Blake figured it out first in its entirety. He wrote out a response and Zack gave his response. An emoji clapping. First, when anyone responds with a hand clapping gesture, that typically means ‘good job’. Secondly, we also have to remember that NDA’s prevent Zack from outright clarifying most of Justice League. I’m here to tell you that he has spoken to my source and that’s exactly how it was meant to end. And I’m paraphrasing:
Upon the newly ressurected Superman, he and Lois go to the Farm house. Knowing that Clark asks her about saying ‘Yes’ to the ring, we can assume romantic feelings occur. It’s from this, they concecieve a child. Because we know that Batman would have died battling Darkseid, we learn he actually sacrificed himself to protect Lois and their unborn child. That means in Justice League 2 is when all of this would be taking place. Once Lois gives birth, they have a son. The saga ends with Clark and Lois naming their son ‘Bruce’.
Zack Snyder has confirmed my suspicion that the Globe having an ‘A’ on it was a unique reference. Every time I see something with an A on it, I always think of the Scarlet Letter. And when I broached the subject with Zack, he then continued with what the Globe would symbolize. Knowing Superman and “His World”, one would assume it represents Lois.
Thinking of The Scarlet Letter and the symbolism, maybe the world finds out about Lois and Clark? Maybe the thematic element is the world judging their relationship? Once I get more confirmation, I will update this once again.
The Other Imagery
I haven’t quite figured out every single symbol and word to get to their root meaning. But others have. And because of their hard work, things start to make sense. I’ll be going over some of the meanings I feel it might have on our Podcast next week because there’s too much to explore. The only thing I can touch base on that no one has (unless I just haven’t seen it) is this: The Wheat on the left tower most likely represents Clark and his upbringing. The Building and the moon represent Bruce and his stature in Business and as The Batman.
I feel that the lines pointing at the World almost make the shape everything resides in, look like a cube. Maybe that’s why there are only two cubes on the pages below Cyborg’s symbol. The third represents the Unity of the entire League coming together to defeat Darkseid. Thanks to my friend Korbin down below, I found a Tree of Life image that might offer some clues. See for yourself and then read below for my thoughts.
Looking at the positions of each numerical reference and cross-referencing them with Zacks image, things might become clearer. The crown equals Superman as he is the first and most important of the group, Number 1. Also, notice a sun is above the symbol. Number 2 represents Neptune which, if you can’t tell, is the exact same symbol of a trident for the Roman God. It also represents wisdom which would tie to the thematic elements of Aquaman learning about his heritage.
Number 3 shows understanding which is exactly what Wonder Woman represents. I feel the reason for the tower and building having two lines pointing to the center represent Numbers 4 & 5. That could mean the broken chain would represent the masculine right pillar for mercy, while the DNA strand represents the feminine left power of Judgement.
What you’ll notice in the middle is the dark circle labeled as death. That represents why the Omega symbol is being pierced by the sword. Right above that is the Earth which would represent Number 6, beauty.
Number 7 represents Victory which is exactly what Victor Stone achieved in most of his life. With Splendour being in the Number 8 spot, you can see why Flash would be positioned there. All leading to the Foundation, Number 9, of how they’re able to form the Justice League in the first place, Bruce Wayne. Bruce’s sacrifice, with the coffin above his symbol, then leads to Number 10 and the birth of a new Kingdom.
Other than that, I could guess all day at everything we see. I will, however, leave you with images from what others have deciphered from the image. Happy Hunting.
Thank you to all who may have contributed and helped. The fact that we can have this much imagery and layers from a T-shirt is plenty of reason to understand the Art Zack was creating. What do you think? Would you have enjoyed watching Zack Snyder Conclude his 5-Part Saga of Justice League? Let us know in the comments below.