Dear Geoff Johns,
I write to you today as a loyal, dedicated and concerned fan of DC Comics and the DC Extended Universe. As I'm sure you are aware, the last 48 hours leading up to this, the day of advance screenings of Suicide Squad in the United States, have been nothing short of chaotic for DC fans in general.
First, there was the lifting of the review embargo and the subsequent free fall levied by the movie critics yet again, who have blasted Suicide Squad critically in a way that seems just as bad if not worse than the critical bashing they gave to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this past March.
This led many DC fans to cry conspiracy, stating that movie critics were intentionally blasting every movie in the DCEU, either out of pure bias or manipulation by Disney/Marvel. This anger culminated in the petition started on Change.org to eliminate the Rotten Tomatoes site that held so many of the horrible reviews of DCEU movies, a petition that reached more than 18,000 signatures before the creator of the petition revoked it, saying he never meant it to become a serious thing. The message had already been sent, though: we as a fanbase were not happy with the critics, not one bit.
As if that weren't enough for us, the startling news reported yesterday from The Hollywood Reporter only made things worse, claiming that Warner Bros. rushed production of Suicide Squad and created two different cuts of the movie, one that was the original cut from director David Ayer, and another that included executive level cuts from WB brass, which is ultimately the cut that is being shown in theaters.
Naturally, you could see after the whole affair with the BvS: Ultimate Edition how some fans could feel pretty insulted by this news, if it is actually true. The general consensus is that Zack Snyder had his original cut of BvS sliced and diced by WB brass into the theatrical version, which was panned by almost every critic who cited editing issues, lack of character development and bad pacing. The Ultimate Edition, which appears to represent Snyder's true cut of the movie, fixes almost all of those issues and is regarded as a much more complete and emotionally epic film, leading many to wonder why it wasn't released in theaters in the first place and who was in charge of the editorial decisions for it.
Now, months later we are confronted with the possibility of the same situation happening with Suicide Squad, which seems to be following an eerily similar path to BvS with critical hatred and now rumblings of an extended cut, this time just days before the movie comes out.
Here's the thing, Geoff: None of us really know if this is what happened with Suicide Squad or not, but we know that the critics hate it just like they did BvS, we know that editing and pacing are some of the issues they have with it, and we know that WB has done this before with BvS. What we also don't know is if this is a result of how things were structured BEFORE you were promoted to be in charge of the DCEU, or if this is happening on your watch. For the record, most believe that this is just a holdover from the previous structure and that this won't happen again under your leadership.
And that's why I'm writing you to today Geoff, because I'm hours away from sitting in an IMAX theater, not far at all from your hometown of Detroit, Michigan, ready to witness the theatrical release of Suicide Squad, and while I am still very excited for the next chapter of the DCEU, these last few days have really been a torture chamber for me as a fan. It sucks when critics hate on what you love as a fan, especially with the amount of pure venom that they have been spouting about this, but the possibility that this is once again the result of WB forcing their edits on your filmmakers is impossible to simply let go and accept.
I pleaded with outraged DC fans all day yesterday to not allow their anger to take away from supporting the movie. We are still hearing from audience goers across the world that the movie is very good and there are some critics who like the movie a lot, so we should give it a fair shot even in the wake of the bad reviews and this news about a possible second cut. The thing is, as convenient as the timing was on this story, we can't unlearn it. It's going to affect us watching the movie and some of us may not even see it now, knowing that there could be another version out there that the critics would actually like that would feature everything that we as fans wanted instead of the WB-ordered cut that we are all about to watch this weekend.
So I sit here at my desk today, typing this to you Geoff as an urging, an imploring plea to you to make certain that if WB did indeed alter and affect this theatrical cut of Suicide Squad, that this be the last time they ever do that with a DCEU movie, and I do mean ever. Seriously. There is a very good chance that I will enjoy Suicide Squad tonight and post a very happy review of it on Friday, but like many other loyal DC fans, I'm going to feel pretty cheated if it turns out the version I saw wasn't the true version from David Ayer because the suits at WB wanted to make changes. I already feel like they owe me money back for paying to see BvS twice in IMAX with my girlfriend at $12.50 a ticket. I spent $50 on a movie that wasn't the real version, only to be staring at $30 later to see the true version of it on blu-ray. To be asked to do that again, or worse not even have the option to see the "true" cut from Ayer, would be a definite slap in the face.
If we are to believe what is being said and reported Geoff, then Warner Bros. is killing the DCEU before it has even truly begun and you have to stop them. Please. It appears that whatever it is they are doing with these edits is exactly why the critics are panning them so badly, and while I still think that it's perfectly bad timing for this story to come out just before the movie's release, I still cannot ignore the possibility that it is true. It wouldn't be the first time, as I'm sure Zack Snyder would confirm.
We trust you as fans Geoff, we really do. You know more about DC Comics than almost anyone on this planet. You've written many a great DC comic over the years like Flashpoint or the recent DC Universe Rebirth one-shot. You know about these characters, you know about this world and you know about this fanbase. We are behind you tooth and nail on this effort to be in charge of the DCEU.
You've got to stop WB, Geoff. We need you, buddy. I'm hoping this letter isn't necessary and I have nothing to worry about with Wonder Woman and Justice League on the horizon for next year, but if you are truly a "filmmaker driven" studio, then you've got to get the executives hands out of the cookie jar and back into their pockets so that the filmmakers can do their job without hesitation or interference. We want this franchise to do well and that simply won't happen if you allow WB executives to alter what you and your filmmakers are doing in the edit room.
I believe you have this under control sir, and I look forward to the rest of the DCEU under your reign. By the way, on a side note DC Rebirth is absolutely amazing. Congratulations on that success.