Zack Snyder has stepped down from ‘Justice League’. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter,  the director confirmed that both he and his wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder are stepping away from the film in the wake of a personal tragedy.

Though the family has kept this private until now, Snyder explained that his daughter Autumn died as the result of suicide in March. As you can no doubt imagine, beyond the obvious family concerns, this also carried implications for the ongoing production of ‘Justice League’, which the studio paused for two weeks to allow the Snyders to deal with the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. Zack Snyder elaborates:

Snyder elaborates:

“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 director’s chair will be filled for the remainder of the production process, which includes some pickup filming and reshoots, by Joss Whedon. Whedon had previously been approached by Snyder to assist with the writing of some of these additional scenes. Regarding the change of directors, Warner Bros. Pictures President Toby Emmerich had this to say:

Regarding the change of directors, Warner Bros. Pictures President Toby Emmerich had this to say:

“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set. We’re not introducing 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.”

Adds an emotional Snyder:

“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public. 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 a 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… I want the movie to be amazing and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison. 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.”

To be clear, this is not Joss Whedon taking over the project and making a Justice League film from first principles. Nor is it even necessarily comparable to ‘Superman II’, which featured noticeable tonal and stylistic shifts between the footage shot by Richard Donner and his successor, Richard Lester. Based on the information available, the lion’s share of ‘Justice League’ has been completed and Whedon is stepping in to shepherd the project through post production and the previously planned reshoots. Based on Emmerich’s comments, Whedon will be keeping his footage as consistent with Snyder’s style as possible.

All of us at extend our sympathies to Zack and Deborah Snyder as they cope with the unthinkable.

Directed by Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon, ‘Justice League’ will serve as the flagship entry in DC’s burgeoning cinematic universe. The film will feature returning stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams and Jesse Eisenberg alongside a slate of newcomers that includes Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amber Heard, Ciaran Hinds, and J.K. Simmons. The film will arrive in theaters on November 17, 2017.