Following a personal tragedy, Zack Snyder has stepped down as director of the upcoming Justice League film. Avengers director Joss Whedon will finish the film, which is still on track for its November 2017 release, as per The Hollywood Reporter.
On Monday (May 22), Snyder and wife Deborah, a producer on Justice League, announced that they would be taking time off following the March suicide of Snyder's 20-year-old daughter Autumn, who was attending Sarah Lawrence College. The filmmaker originally thought it would be good to keep working, shepherding the superhero film through post-production and scheduled reshoots, but he has since decided to spend more time with his seven other children and step-children. "They are all having a hard time," Snyder told THR. "I'm having a hard time."
After a private screening for friends and fellow filmmakers, Snyder tapped Buffy the Vampire Slayer boss Whedon to pen additional scenes for the film and direct them in England. Whedon will also write and direct a solo Batgirl film for the DC Extended Universe.
"The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set," Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich told THR. "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."
Several members of the DC family and Snyder's Hollywood colleagues have offered their heartfelt condolences in the wake of the news.
For those fans wondering how Snyder's exit will affect the long-awaited Justice League film, Snyder said, "In the end, it's just a movie. It's a great movie. But it's just a movie."