In a surprising turn of events, we have breaking news this afternoon that director Zack Snyder has stepped down from this year’s Justice League following the suicide of his daughter in March, and Joss Whedon will now step in to complete the highly anticipated ensemble.
Snyder tells The Hollywood Reporter he is stepping away from Justice League in order to deal with the sudden death of his daughter. Snyder’s wife, Deborah Snyder, who is a producer on Justice League, also is taking a break to focus on the healing of their family.
Stepping in to shepherd the movie through post and the shooting of some additional scenes will be Joss Whedon, the Avengers filmmaker and creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who was recently announced as the director of an upcoming Batgirl movie to be part of the DC Extended Universe.
Snyder’s daughter, Autumn Snyder, died by suicide in March at age 20. Her death has been kept private, with only a small inner circle aware of what happened, even as the movie was put on a two-week break for the Snyders to deal with the immediate effects of the tragedy. .
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was way through it,” says Snyder. “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.”
Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich adds, “What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart — our hearts — go out to them,”
Snyder, after screening a rough cut of Justice League for fellow filmmakers and friends, wanted to add additional scenes, so he brought Whedon on board to write them. But as he prepared to shoot the scenes in England, Snyder realized it was not the right time to leave home.
“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 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.”
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” he says. “I thought it would just be in the family, a private matter, our private sorrow that we would deal with. When it became obvious that I need to take break, I knew there would be narratives created on the internet. They’ll do what they do. The truth is…I’m past caring about that kind of thing now.”
The death of Autumn, Zack’s daughter from his first marriage (in addition to Autumn, he and Deborah have been raising seven kids and step-kids) has brought a new perspective and a new focus for him.
“I want the movie to be amazing and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison,” he says. “I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie but there are seven other kids that need me. In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.”
Following the events of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squd, and this June’s Wonder Woman, the new film continues to expand the DCEU (DC Extended Universe).
The official synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Amber Heard as Mera, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, and Henry Cavill as Superman , directed by Zack Snyder.
Justice League arrives in theaters on November 17, 2017.
Watch the trailer and check out the new character posters below, and give us your thoughts in the comments!
(Click image to enlarge.)
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