Justice League director Zack Snyder has stepped away from finishing the film to spend time with his family following the death of his daughter, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Joss Whedon will put the finishing touches on the movie.
Justice League, the latest entry in Warner Bros. DC Expanded Universe, was already in postproduction when Snyder’s daughter died. His wife, Deborah Snyder, is a producer on the film and will also step away.
Autumn Snyder died by suicide in March. She was 20. The event was kept private, though Justice League was put on a short two-week hiatus to allow the family to deal with the initial shock and fallout of the tragedy. Snyder told THR that he was initially eager to get back to work.
“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,” Snyder said. “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.”
Justice League has wrapped principal shooting, but the movie still needs to be edited and Snyder had planned to add additional scenes after screening a rough cut of the film for friends and filmmakers. Warner Bros. initially offered to push the movie’s release back from it’s currently planned Nov. 17 opening, but both Snyders decided against that.
In his place, Avengers director Joss Whedon will step in to film the additional scenes and shepherd the movie through post-production, which should keep Justice League on track for its holiday release; he had previously been announced to join the DCEU stable as director of the upcoming Batgirl solo film. The studio emphasized that, despite Whedon’s involvement, this is still Zack Snyder’s movie.
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” says Emmerich. “We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing the 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.”
Snyder has been expected to direct the currently untitled Justice League sequel, but at this point its unknown if he’ll stay on.
Snyder’s particular style has left him with many fans – as well as vocal detractors (a quick Twitter search will show you just how cruel and flippant some people can be when someone they don’t like is making a movie about their favorite characters). But a tragedy like this transcends things like that – this is an unimaginable loss that no family should ever have to suffer, and the thoughts and condolences of everyone on the Flixist staff go out to the Snyders in this difficult time.
Justice League stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa. It’s slated to open in theaters on November 17.
If you or someone you know are harboring thoughts of suicide and you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.