By now, most people are aware that Zack Snyder is exiting post-production work on Justice League due to the recent suicide of his 20-year old daughter, Autumn. His wife, producer Deborah Snyder, will be joining him as well. Joss Whedon (who will be helming the Batgirl solo film) has been brought in to finish reshoots as well as oversee the remainder of the film’s post-production in order to keep the film on track for its November 17 release date. He had originally been involved with writing the new scenes for the upcoming reshoots, but will now step in as director.
The death of Snyder’s daughter was kept extremely private so that the family could grieve and deal with their tragic loss. Snyder had intended to finish post-production on Justice League himself, but revealed in an emotional interview this past Monday in his office on the Warner Bros. lot that the best way for him to do that would be to step away from the film:
“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.”
Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich made a recent statement to Empire Online where he broke down what Whedon’s involvement would be:
“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.”
Whedon has more than enough superhero experience, in film as well as in comics. He helped mold the Marvel Cinematic Universe and wrote/directed The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and the pilot for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s written Astonishing X-Men and Runaways for Marvel Comics as well as Fray, Angel: After the Fall, Serenity and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Vertigo, so he’s obviously more than qualified for the job. So, while the DCEU is in good hands for the interim, Snyder’s departure will undoubtedly have reverberations across the entire franchise which he laid the initial groundwork for; having directed Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, helping craft the story for Wonder Woman, and being a producer or executive producer on all DCEU films through the year 2020.
It’s currently unknown when Snyder will return to the franchise or in what capacity, but when it is announced we will let you know. Until then, our hearts go out to him and his family as they deal with this difficult event.