While it has never quite garnered the volume of #ReleaseTheSnyderCut, there has been a growing momentum from fans for Warner Bros to once again give into public pressure and release David Ayer's cut of his Suicide Squad. Not to add fuel to the fire, but Ayer this weekend took to his Instagram account to stealthily put out some previously unseen stills from what has become affectionately and predictively known as "They Ayer Cut" of the first iteration of the ragtag band of criminals big screen outings. While Ayer has been very supportive of James Gunn's new Suicide Squad movie, it looks like the director hasn't quite given up on having the definite cut of his own take making it to screens at some point.
If Ayer had been allowed to have his own way, it has been reported previously by the movie's star Jared Leto, that the director originally had a lot more Joker backstory in the movie, so much that he reflected in one interview that there would have been enough cut footage to have made a completely separate Joker and Harley Quinn spin-off movie. Both of the images shared by Ayer are linked to this aspect of what his cut would have shown, with one solely featuring Leto's take on the clown prince of Gotham, and the other giving a look at the gang known as the Goat-Head Priest, who were responsible for getting Joker out of Arkham Asylum before the events of the film.
"I put my life into Suicide Squad," Ayer recently wrote about the movie. "I made something amazing. My cut is intricate and emotional journey with some bad people who are shit on and discarded (a theme that resonates in my soul). The studio cut is not my movie. Read that again. And my cut is not the 10-week director's cut - it's a fully mature edit by Lee Smith standing on the incredible work by John Gilroy. It's all Steven Price's brilliant score, with not a single radio song in the whole thing. It has traditional character arcs, amazing performances, a solid third-act resolution. A handful of people have seen it."
All of this makes you feel bad for Ayer, who clearly does love the version of the film that he wanted to release, but with Warner Bros. having already shot down the idea of releasing his alternative cut, is this all just now wishful thinking, or could there be another about-turn change of heart coming in the future. With Zack Snyder's Justice League having been a huge streaming hit, and now also taken the physical sales charts by storm on its disc release, could a release of The Ayer Cut be a surefire money-spinner for the studio?
Back in August, Suicide Squad producer Charles Roven spoke about the director's version of the film, and told The Hollywood Reporter that both versions of the movie were played for test audiences, and they both got the same reaction. "The interesting thing was, when we tested the Ayer version - to be honest, I can't sit here and remember how we got to that edited version, who was editing that edited version - but it wasn't Lee. It was somebody else that came in. The studio version was also different editors as well. We tested both versions. They tested exactly the same." He continued to say, "Because they tested exactly the same, David and the studio and ourselves, meaning Rich and I and the heads of DC at that time - Jon Berg and Geoff Johns - we all sat in a room and tried to come up with what would be the best of both versions. Obviously, the movie made a really nice piece of change. Audiences liked it enough for us to want to do a sequel. But it definitely wasn't the exact vision of David, and it definitely wasn't the exact vision of the studio."
However, as has been seen with a number of "lost cuts" over the years, if you keep these fabled versions hidden away from fans, when they are eventually seen in some form, they can revitalise a whole franchise and, as Roven put it, make a really nice piece of change in the process. James Gunn's The Suicide Squad is currently available to buy and rent on digital, with physical versions expected on October 26th.