LOS ANGELES, June 2, 2017 – Director Zack Snyder has left the helm of his latest superhero effort, Warner Brothers’ upcoming “Justice League” film in order to deal full time with the tragic March suicide of his 20-year old daughter, Autumn. Snyder announced that former Marvel Studios director Joss Whedon would be stepping in to replace him to complete the remaining work on the film.
Writing for comic book news site batman-news.com, Chris Begley quoted the new film’s producer, Charles Roven, who “explained how that all went down in an interview with Variety at the Wonder Woman premiere.”
“[Whedon] was already working with us on some of the scenes for the additional photography that we’re going to be doing shortly,” Roven explained. “It was fortunate that Zack convinced him, and he agreed, to step in and finish the movie and help Zack finish his vision. We’re excited about that.”
Whedon is not expected to change much in the film, most of which has already been shot. But he is seen as a man who could create better team chemistry among the film’s characters, something that came across as notably stiff in “Batman vs. Superman,” according to most critics.
Whedon has previously worked with DC executives writing additional scenes for “Man of Steel” and “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” The Justice League film was originally announced last October 14 with Snyder to direct and Chris Terrio to pen the story and dialogue.
Starring Ben Affleck, Connie Nielsen, Ray Fisher, Henry Cavill, Jeremy Irons, Ciaran Hinds, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, J. K. Simmons and Diana Lane, the new film is scheduled for release on November 17, 2017, in IMAX and DVD formats.
Following Snyder’s surprise departure from the film, fans have offered their condolences to both he and his family via social media. Snyder’s wife Deborah who is a co-producer for “Justice League” is also leaving the set to take a break to mourn their daughter’s loss and “heal together as a family,” notes an article in The Hollywood Reporter.
Interviewed by the online tabloid after the tragedy, Zack Snyder told reporters “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.” But, his position soon changed. “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. reportedly attempted to push back the release date of the film, but the Snyders argued against it. This is not the first time Warner Bros. has had to deal with a sudden tragedy that affected a DC superhero film. In 2008, Heath Ledger died suddenly from complications of a drug overdose after filming wrapped for “The Dark Knight.”