With the November 17 release of Justice League on the horizon, Joss Whedon, who directed The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, has been brought on to help finish the superhero epic. Whedon has apparently written additional scenes, but otherwise his involvement will largely be in post-production.
The Hollywood Reporter says director Zack Snyder and wife Deborah Snyder, who is producing Justice League, have stepped away from the project due to the tragic death of their daughter, Autumn Snyder. According to the report, her death happened back in March, and is just now being made public.
Originally, Warner Bros. wanted to delay the film in order to give the Snyders time to mourn. But the two rebuffed the studio and instead wanted to finish the project following a short break. However, the emotional toll became too much.
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was a way through it,” Snyder said this week in response to his and his wife’s decision to step away from the project. “The demand 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.”
The news is heartbreaking, there’s no other way to put it. Even if you’re not a fan of Snyder’s work, hearing about a family tragedy is a reminder that people who dedicated their lives to the arts are human beings just like you and I. It certainly brings a new perspective to the film, which Snyder told THR “pales pretty quickly in comparison” when his family is concerned.
According to Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich, Snyder is stepping away from an already terrific movie, so Whedon’s involvement will be minimal.
“He’s handing a baton to Joss but the course has really been set by Zack,” Emmerich said. “I still believe that despite this tragedy, we’ll still end up with a great movie.”