The success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite astounding. They have set the precedent for what a cinematic universe can be, something not seen before in the movie sphere. Their organic, slow build towards the massive entity that they are today came with time and patience. This is something that wasn't given to DC when Warner Brothers pushed for their own connected universe of DC Comics characters.
If Marvel can translate their comic characters and stories into a vast interwoven canon, there's no saying that DC can't as well. That brings us to today, where the DCEU (the DC Extended Universe) continuity is a mess. Warner Brother's rush to introduce their flagship characters has caused their entire cinematic universe to collapse under the weight of it all.
The biggest failure came with the financial disaster of Joss Whedon's Justice League. Warner Brothers scrambled to find a way to recover, such as trying to shift the focus onto lesser known characters like Shazam, or entirely ignoring their continuity and creating a Joker film set in an entirely different timeline. Even in the mainstay movies that remained, they tried their best to avoid referencing their overall universe continuity at all.
So naturally, when Zack Snyder's Justice League came into existence alongside Whedon's original, one of the first questions that sprang to people's minds was obvious: which is canon?
CANON OR NOT?
During an interview with DC Cinematic Cast podcast, Zack Snyder was asked about the canonicity of Zack Snyder's Justice League within the context of the DCEU.
"It'll be an interesting. It's interesting, sort of in the DCEU, or whatever it's become, that that trilogy (comprised of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Justice League) sort of insulates itself in some ways it becomes, like, it's its own thing now. And it doesn't really rely on, you know... And I said, I famously said, and it's true, this is not saying anything, this isn't controversial... But you know, Warner Bros, is it, that this film, my Justice League, is not canon, right? Canon for Warner Bros. is the Joss Whedon version of Justice League, right? That's, in their mind, that's canon. And what I'm doing is not. Everything is not. So it's just an interesting, that relationship. And I'm fine with it because I feel like the only way that I could have made this film with autonomy was because of that, because of me admitting and agreeing to the fact that it is not canon."
Elaborating, Zack Snyder addressed the fans that he knows will be upset by this piece of information.
"I understand the frustration... If someone was frustrated by that concept, I wouldn't say don't be frustrated by it. It's fine to be frustrated by it, I'm frustrated by it. So I would only say, though, that there is a different... The grander, greater concept for the DCEU is on another road... And there's nothing I can do about that. That is just, it is what it is. It's not my decision."
THE HARD TRUTH
Joss Whedon's version of Justice League infamously did not do well critically, and clearly did not resonate with many fans, especially purely given the existence of The Snyder Cut alone. Current controversy aside, the film was quite simply not good. It was a mess in nearly every aspect and was very clearly a stitched-together attempt at saving what they had. There's no real telling who was truly at fault for how things played out, but those events lead to an identity crisis not only for the Justice League films but also the DCEU as a whole.
While nobody has seen Zack Snyder's Justice League (except for Tom & Jerry fans), that won't keep people from being disappointed in this news. There's no real way to know which may be the better product, but there is already a general lean towards Snyder from the audience, a result which is not surprising in the least. Though to be fair, the prospect of future Justice League films was always going to be more appealing than that of none at all.
It must be asked however, could a huge success for Zack Snyder's Justice League lead to additional films in an Elseworld type of timeline? There's no telling what success for them would look like, but if that was ever the case, it would be one expensive side project. So the odds of that are very low. That said, low odds didn't keep the fans from wishing the Snyder Cut into existence--so who knows what could happen.