Recording a legacy: Speaking with the author of ‘The Snyderverse Saga’

An investigative book explores the story behind the culture-shattering phenomena known as Zack Snyder's DC film universe.

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22 mins read

The tale of the Snyderverse saga is one filled with tragedy, treachery and triumph. It’s a story that’s been impossible to encapsulate, until now.

The writer who took on the endeavor of recording this legendary moment in cinematic history is Daryn Kirscht.

Kirscht is a Minnesotan author, podcaster, library paraprofessional and entertainment journalist known for his work on ReelAnarchy, PopBreak and more. You might also recognize him from the 33.1 Roundtable episodes of the Always Hold On To Smallville podcast.

In “The Snyderverse Saga,” Kirscht goes into full ‘Lois and Clark’ investigative journalist mode as he investigates the truth behind the franchise, chronicling the epic behind-the-scenes true story of Snyder’s DC Comics films, their revolutionary impact on superhero movies and Hollywood, and the power of a fandom in fighting for artistic integrity and creative freedom while raising awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.

“After achieving victory following the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement, a new wave is on the rise with #RestoreTheSnyderVerse to adapt the cinematic landscape to the modern world… a “Knightmare” world,” reads the book’s official description on Amazon.

Daryn Kirscht.

“I’m a big Zack Snyder fan, so I decided to write a book about it,” Kirscht explained. “There have been a lot of people in the fandom who have contributed their unique creative talents to the fandom, honoring Zack [Snyder], his work, his movie universe.”

Kirscht went on to list notable Snyderverse influencers like The Nerd Queens and their impact with Justice Con, commending them for their great work for the fandom, along with the people behind the billboards for the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement at San Diego Comic-Con.

“There’s so many cool and unique things that the fandom has done, and I had always wanted to lend my hand to that and try to do something as well,” Kirscht stated. “I didn’t really know how to do that for a long time. So in early 2020, I looked at my strengths and weaknesses, and I said to myself, ‘Well, I’m a writer.'”

According to Kirscht, he recognized his talent for writing and decided that this would be the way he could lend his skills to the fandom.

“It was more of a dream than a reality back then,” Kirscht explained. “But once Sean O’Connell announced that he was doing the ‘Snyder Cut’ book, I was like, ‘Okay, maybe I am on the right path.'”

Kirscht officially started the book in early 2020 and, as a life-long DC fan, he poured his passion into the book.

“I grew up a pretty big fan of ‘Batman: The Animated Series,’ ‘Superman: The Animated Series’ and still am a really big fan of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies,” Kirscht stated. “I’ve always been a big fan since I was a kid. And, eventually, when I got older, ‘Man of Steel’ came out and blew my world in a different way.”

The new take on Superman took Kirscht’s fandom to new heights.

“I love the way Zack [Snyder] crafted [‘Man of Steel’], it was so different and unique. The way he locked into it… I was sold, immediately. I could resonate with it.”

Daryn Kirscht

Kirscht’s book is over 400 pages and covers a lot, but the author said, “It probably honestly could’ve been even longer than what it is.”

“I go into everything,” Kirscht said. “I don’t go super deep into spoilers on the movies themselves, unless it’s relevant to the bigger conversation.”

Kirsch also elaborated on how the scope of the book evolved.

“The book was a bit different when I first conceived the idea to write a book, because back then, there was no ‘Snyder Cut’ released,” Kirscht said. “There was no announcement of it, it also seemed more like a dream than a reality. Actually, the book was going to be about ‘Batman v Superman’ and the ramifications of that, the ups-and-downs of what happened after that, and how that was technically the end, based on what happened with ‘Justice League’, and I was going to call it ‘BvS’ as the name of the book, but once the ‘Snyder Cut’, Zack’s ‘Justice League’, became a thing, it became clear to me that I needed to cover that too, which is a big part of the book, so it literally covers everything from pre-‘Man Of Steel’, all the way to the present-day.” He says the rougher periods of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) were tough to look back on, such as the theatrical “Justice League” movie, the flaws which became a lot more apparent on rewatch, according to Kirscht.

Each chapter of the book, broken up in five main sections with a prologue and epilogue, starts with an illustration. Kirscht explained that the book cover was designed by Sahidul Islam Tuser, and the chapter illustrations were done by Nirmalya Singha. Kirscht sketched a rough idea of the illustrations himself, packed with symbolism and Easter eggs that eagle-eyed Snyder fans are sure to recognize and appreciate.

“I’ve been a big fan of these characters throughout the years for a long time. The older I get, the more I can appreciate it, looking back, and the more I learn about them and the different takes on them and whatnot. That’s where it all started. It’s had an impact on my life, and I’m really happy it has, so I thought that [writing this book] was a great way to honor it.”

Daryn Kirscht

Kirscht noted that his favorite fictional characters are Batman and Superman.

“Batman and Superman are my top two,” Kirscht said. “I love all the Justice League characters, to be honest. They’re all great characters, and they’re all high on that list. To me, the ones that have always resonated with me the most, the ones that are closest to my heart, are Superman as ‘number one’ and Batman as ‘1B.’ Growing up, I loved the animated series for both characters, even the ‘Justice League’ animated series is cool. I like the Tim Burton / Keaton Batman movies. As a kid, I was in love with ‘Batman Forever’. I’ve been a big fan of these characters throughout the years for a long time. The older I get, the more I can appreciate it, looking back, and the more I learn about them and the different takes on them and whatnot. That’s where it all started. It’s had an impact on my life, and I’m really happy it has, so I thought that [writing this book] was a great way to honor it.”

Kirscht notes that Snyder’s interpretation of DC characters was a big topic of controversy back then, as far as Superman lethally stopping Zod and Batman using guns. “I feel like a lot of people have loosened their stances. They’re not so hardcore against it as they used to be, as times have gone on. I personally did not have a big deal with it like other people did. I knew it was a completely different take.”

Instead of copying the Marvel formula, Kirscht says, “I’m really glad they did something different. Zack’s true to his vision. He obviously based Batman very heavily on ‘The Dark Knight Returns’, the older, brawler version of Batman. ‘Man Of Steel’ is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love the interpretation of it. Him killing Zod, it didn’t bother me, because what else was he supposed to do?”

“One of the chapters covers a movie that was supposed to happen, but didn’t.”

Daryn Kirscht

According to Kirscht, the book dives deep into the facts about the films. “A lot of it is how the movies did financially, how they did critically, how they impacted everything,” Kirscht explained. “One of the chapters covers a movie that was supposed to happen, but didn’t happen.” The chapter Kirscht mentioned is centered around “The Batman”, which he says is one of his favorite chapters of the book about a movie that was originally slated to star Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne. Kirscht said, “[The chapter] covers the whole history of Ben Affleck’s movie and explains what the movie was supposed to be about, and why it never ended up making it to the screen and why it morphed into the Matt Reeves / Robert Pattinson version of Batman that we are getting now.”

Kirscht said that he also covered everything to date regarding Ray Fisher’s call for accountability over entertainment, beginning with when the actor tweeted on June 29, 2020 that he forcefully retracts his statement about Joss Whedon from 2017’s Comic-Con during the promotion for the theatrical version of “Justice League”. The book even explores the #RestoreTheSnyderVerse movement, capping off at “a month or two ago.” Despite the continuing struggles, Kirscht says, “To me, the book is a celebration [of the movement].”

Kirscht says he had fun covering the fan theories and rumors from before the movies came out, such as how Scoot McNairy’s character was suspected as being The Flash and other rumors from Reddit. Kirscht says that a surprising event that he had almost forgotten about was “the Justin Bieber story about him claiming he was Robin in the [‘Batman v Superman’] movie.”

As part of his research, Kirscht interviewed Dan Marcus, a fan who caught the attention of the internet by posting photos and videos of the “Batman v Superman” film’s Chicago set.

“There was one person I talked to for adding content in the book, and that was a guy named Dan Marcus, just because I knew he was on set,” said Kirscht, “and I knew he would have some insight into what that was like, and what he sent me blew away my expectations and far and away exceeded anything I was expecting. It’s so awesome, and I’m so glad that he did that, and I can’t wait for people to read that part of it too. It’s in a couple different sections. I was super, super thankful to him for that.”

Kirscht teased Dan Marcus‘s contributions to the book.

“He talks about his on-set experiences of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ with Christopher Nolan, and how he was blown away by how well that production was run,” Kirscht said. “He was there for the scene when they blew up the football stadium with Pittsburgh Steelers players with Bane. He was there on that day for that scene. He talked about that for a little bit, and applauding Christopher Nolan in general and how he was as a big effect on ‘Man Of Steel’ even happening, that version of it, and he also talks about Batman and his love for Batman and why Batman is such an important character in his life and the role it’s played, and it played a critical part talking about Ben Affleck being cast as Batman. There’s a section in there too [in the book] about how important of a decision [that casting] was and how Zack Snyder and the crew on the movie had their work cut out for them.”

Kirscht also revealed a wild personal experience seeing the theatrical “Justice League.”

“I actually have a cool story for you guys about ‘Justice League,’ the theatrical one,” Kirscht said. “I figured, with everything that had happened with ‘Justice League’ before it even came out, I had a feeling it was going to be the last Zack Snyder DC movie, so I actually, at the time, was going to propose to my then-girlfriend, who is now my wife.”

Kirscht thought they’d watch the movie together and he’d propose after.

“The moment I knew I was going to [propose] was in that one trailer when it had Clark and Lois and he talks about the ring, and I was like, ‘Aha! It’s gonna be in the movie, it’s gonna foreshadow it, it’s gonna be amazing.’ And we get to the movie, and we’re watching it, and [the snippet]’s not in the movie at all, and I was like, ‘What do I do? You know?’ I ended up proposing anyway.”

Daryn Kirscht

Kirscht partly dedicated his book to his wife, Katelyn.

Kirscht says that he found the charity activism of the Snyder fandom to be incredibly moving and awe-inspiring, raising over $750,000 for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in memory of Autumn, the late daughter of the Snyders. Kirscht also has a charity campaign on InkToThePeople with apparel featuring his book’s cover with all proceeds going to AFSP.

When asked about his hopes for the future of the DC film universe, Kirscht responded with his wishlist.

“Well, number one, we need Zack back,” he explained. “We need another [‘Justice League’ movie], we need him to continue. Obviously, I would love for Ben Affleck to make whatever Batman movie he wants to make. I would back the dump truck up full of gold and unload it at his house. ‘Please come back, please make that movie, whatever you wanna do.’ I’d also love to see ‘The Atom’ movie with Ryan Choi. I’d love to see that. Zack had mentioned that that was something he wanted to see happen. That’d be something really cool to expand upon. And of course, a real ‘Man Of Steel 2’, I would love that, and even a ‘Cyborg’ movie.”

The book is supported by documents and articles, all of which are cited at the bottom of each page. Kirscht said he followed the production history of DCEU films over the years.

“A lot of it I already knew about, and [my challenge] was finding the sources and whatnot online and to back that up.”

Presently, the kindle version of Kirscht’s book, “The Snyderverse Saga: The Culture-Shattering Phenomena Behind Zack Snyder’s DC Film Universe” is available on Amazon. Starting October 26, 2021, a digital version of the book will be free to fans for five days. The promotion for the free ebook will end October 30. The physical book is also available as hardcover and paperback on Amazon.

Like “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” Kirscht’s book “The Snyderverse Saga” is divided into multiple parts, each section highlighting different stages.

Part I — Man of Steel: The Birth of a Cinematic Universe

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The first step in building a cinematic universe is to take flight with the centerpiece character as the building block. Zack Snyder brought a new iteration of the Superman mythos to the big-screen, effectively establishing a new take on the ultimate DC Comics superhero for years to come. 

Part II — Dawn of Batman v Superman: The Hype Awakens

Once “Man of Steel” debuted, WB and Zack Snyder expanded the cinematic universe to bring in the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday. The anticipation and excitement was on another level. 

Part III — Gotham Roast, Well-Done

After the fallout of “Batman v Superman,” Warner Bros. decided to go in a different direction with its cinematic universe. This section explores the ever-shifting studio philosophy with the films that failed to make it out of pre-production and the few that managed to survive the process.

Part IV — Legacy: Men Are Still Good

When the dust settled, it looked as if “Batman v Superman” would be the last Zack Snyder DC film to embrace his vision for the DC Comics film universe. This section explores the legacy of “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” and the engaging interaction between the filmmaker and his fans.

Part V — The Snyder Cut of Justice League

Fans were not happy with the handling of “Justice League” after Snyder left the project, which has led to one of the biggest and most impactful online fan movements ever. The last main section covers everything from #ReleaseTheSnyderCut to #RestoreTheSnyderVerse. 

Kirscht is publishing his first book via Paper Raven Books, “The Snyderverse Saga,” this October, and will also be launching a new podcast in early 2022 called “Round II: The Film Sequel.”

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