Zack Snyder, the director who has shepherded Warner Bros’ DC Comics universe since the beginning, is stepping down from Justice League due to a family tragedy. Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon – who was brought in to take on Batgirl – will step in to complete the rest of post-production before the film’s release on November 17.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Snyder admitted that his daughter’s suicide in March at the age of 20 was the reason for his departure. Production stopped for two weeks initially, with both husband and wife Deborah heavily involved as director and producer, respectively. Though he was eager to return, he miscalculated the ripples on his other kids, and his own feelings.
“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 told THR. “The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all-consuming. And in the last two months, I’ve come to the realisation… 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. had first offered to push back release date, but the Snyders declined. The Batman v Superman director wanted to shoot additional scenes in England after screening a rough cut, but during the preparation, he realised he was more needed at home. Now, Whedon will shoot these scenes and finish post-production in accordance with Snyder’s style, a major departure from what he provided on Avengers.
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” said Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby 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.”