Just a few more months until the release of Warner Bros.’ next DC film Justice League, an unexpected report came up earlier today that shocked not just every DC fan, but probably every comic book fan in general: Zack Snyder is stepping away from the much-awaited superhero mega-movie. Together with his wife, Deborah Snyder, who is also producing the film, the two decided to step down from Justice League to recuperate from the sudden death of their daughter.
Autumn Snyder, 20, died by suicide last March. Her death has been kept under wraps from the press, with only those who are close to the family are aware of what happened. At that time, Justice League was put on hold for two weeks in order for the Snyders to mourn and deal with the devastating effects of the tragedy.
Speaking to THR, Snyder initially wanted to return to the film as soon as possible, thinking that burying himself with work might be the best way to regain his strength:
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was the way through it. The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all-consuming. And in the last two months, I’ve come to the realization … I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me. They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time.”
The studio once offered to push back the release date of the movie, but the Snyders brushed the idea aside, deciding instead to let The Avengers director Joss Whedon – who also signed on to write, produce, and direct a Batgirl movie for DC – oversee the upcoming DC superhero tentpole as it goes through post-production and some additional re-shoots.
Whedon was already involved with Justice League prior to this report. The Man of Steel director brought him in to write some additional scenes that he wanted to throw in the movie after Snyder screened a rough cut of the film. Now that he’s decided to step down, it only makes sense that he’d pass the baton to the only other director in the room.
Warner Bros. president Toby Emmerich also spoke to THR and pointed out how Whedon is going to play behind the scenes:
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set. We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing a baton to Joss but the course has really been set by Zack. I still believe that despite this tragedy, we’ll still end up with a great movie.”
We may all have some strong opinions sometimes about the quality of films that Snyder has established, but our love and prayers are with him and his family right now on this very difficult time.
Justice League is still scheduled for release on November 17th.