In an incredibly tragic situation, a change is being made behind the scenes on Warner Bros.’ next DC film Justice League. Currently in post-production, the film was scheduled to undergo some reshoots this summer (which is par for the course in the blockbuster world, not a sign of issues with the film), but due to a personal tragedy, Zack Snyder is now stepping away from the film. Sadly, the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s daughter committed suicide this past March, and while Snyder initially planned to dig back into the work, he’s now decided to spend the time healing with his family.
Per THR, The Avengers filmmaker Joss Whedon—who recently signed on to write and direct a Batgirl movie in the DCEU—is now stepping in to help oversee the completion of post-production on Justice League and to direct the reshoots. Snyder and his wife Deborah Snyder, a producer on the DCEU movies, are both stepping away, as Zack explained to THR:
“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,” says an emotional Snyder in an interview Monday in his office on the Warner Bros. lot with Deborah sitting by his side. “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.”
Warner Bros. offered to push back the release date of the film, but the Snyders both declined, opting instead to let another filmmaker come in and help bring this thing home. Warner Bros. has also extended Snyder’s first-look deal to give him more time to work on other planned projects when he decides to return to work.
Whedon was actually involved in the Justice League reshoots regardless, as he was brought in to write the additional scenes after Snyder screened a rough cut of the movie. Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich stressed to THR that Whedon isn’t exactly coming in and changing up the whole movie, and will be working to maintain Snyder’s vision:
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” says Emmerich. “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.”
Zack Snyder echoed this optimism while also stressing that, although he does care about the fans, tending to his family is his priority at the moment:
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” he says. “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 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… 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.”
This is an impossible situation with a heartbreaking tragedy at its center, and it’s nice to see Warner Bros. and Whedon pulling together to support the Snyders as they step away from a film they’ve been developing and working on for years now. Our thoughts our with their family and friends during this very difficult time.
Justice League is still on track for release on November 17th.