Yesterday evening, The Hollywood Reporter broke a legitimately shocking - and sad - story: in the wake of a terrible family tragedy, Zack Snyder has officially stepped down as director on Justice League and handed the film over to Joss Whedon, who will be overseeing post-production and shooting new material to finish the film off.
According to Snyder - who spoke on the record with THR - the move follows the death of Snyder's 20-year-old daughter, who took her own life back in March. Though the matter was kept private and Snyder attempted to return to set after take several weeks off, it soon became apparent that he needed more time with his family.
“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.”
“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 is… I’m past caring about that kind of thing now.”
So, how much of Justice League will be overhauled or added to now that Joss Whedon's at the helm? To hear Warner Bros. president Toby Emmerich tell it, not that much:
“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 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.”
This entire situation is very, very sad - the Birth.Movies.Death. team offers our sincere condolences to Snyder and his family during this time - but if there's any upside here, it's that all involved are in agreement on how to move forward, and to do what's best for Snyder, his family, and the film itself. You can read more details on the situation in The Hollywood Reporter's post, if you are so inclined.
Justice League is still on track for a November 17th release.