Hollywood Reporter has just announced that Zack Snyder is to step down from directing duties for Justice League, and handing over the remaining scenes to Joss Whedon.
It comes after the tragic death of his daughter Autumn Snyder in March. She committed suicide at 20.
This has been a closely guarded secret since March and has only now decided to step down from the highly charged and stressful role of directing.
He said to Hollywood Reporter:
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was 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.”
It’s a shame as due to the fervent nature of the comic book and movie industry, if Snyder was to step down before the release of Justice League it would have fueled the flames of something wrong with the film. He has acknowledged that this is the reason he has announced the death and says:
“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 it…I’m past caring about that kind of thing now.”
He goes on to say:
“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.”
Joss Whedon, who is said to be writing and directing a Batgirl solo film has written some additional scenes and will take over following Snyder’s departure. The filming is to take place in London over the summer and Snyder has said he doesn’t want to leave his family.
Toby Emmerich says the new schedule is minimal and will adhere to Snyder’s vision and world building. He said:
“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.”
Nothing more can be said, and in my opinion it is a loss for the franchise. My thoughts and I’m sure my reader’s thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.