Warner Media’s decision to release Zack Snyder’s cut of 2018's Justice League—available on HBO Max in 2021, in just four fleet one-hour installments!—has set an interesting potential new precedent for the relationship between big-name directors, studios, and the fans who fuel their franchise dreams. And if you don’t believe that from us, maybe you’ll believe it from our old pal McG, who’s out here suggesting that people might now be very interested in a “darker” director’s cut of his strong contender for the competitive field of “least memorable Terminator movie,” 2009's Terminator Salvation.
Given that McG’s film remains more notable in the public mind for Bale’s rather, uh, vocal critiques of some of the crew’s on-set behavior than it is for anything that actually happened during its plot, it’s interesting to see him suggest in a recent chat with CBR that “the film has started to age better” in the 11 years after its release. Also: “There is a different cut: I have my own cut of that film and there’s people online that talk about wanting to see that cut. And that’s interesting!”
Admittedly, this isn’t an especially new beat for the director, who’s spent the decade since Salvation did fine—but not “Let’s make 5 more of these” fine—at the box office working on smaller-scale projects like the Shadowhunters TV series and last year’s Rim Of The World. He was, in fact, out here talking about the much darker original ending of Salvation (which supposedly saw Bale’s John Connor get killed, only to be imitated and replaced by a Skynet-controlled Sam Worthington) since pretty much right after the film was first released. The new twist is, of course, the changed climate crated by the Snyder Cut movement, which suggests that if enough people beg loudly enough for studios to release the “McG Cut” of Salvation, they might actually get their wish. Or, as McG puts it himself in the 2020 interview: “I don’t know. That’s for the fans to say.”