Ever since Justice League faltered critically and commercially in November 2017, fans have been lobbying to see a different version of the film under the hashtag #releasetheSnydercut. Director Zack Snyder had put together a nearly four-hour version of the movie before a family tragedy pulled him away from the production. Snyder handed over the reins to another director, Joss Whedon, who produced a pop film that dramatically diverged from Snyder’s typically gloomier fare.

A small but loud subset of Snyder’s fans have deployed every trick in the Internet campaign playbook to see this fabled version of the superhero movie: They have spammed Warner Bros.’ social media accounts, bought billboards in Times Square and paid for a plane bearing the hashtag #releasetheSnydercut to fly over San Diego Comic-Con. Some of them have also harassed Whedon and others associated with the DC Extended Universe (DCEU)—accusing them of being “snakes” who worked to undermine Snyder’s vision—and propagated bizarre conspiracy theories about film critics and journalists.

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