Zack Snyder steps down from Justice League after daughter’s tragic death

Joss Whedon will take over post-production.

Justice League is about six months away from release but a tragedy has caused some behind the scenes changes. Zack Snyder, director of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Watchmen, and now partially Justice League, will be stepping away from the project to spend time with his family.

Snyder's 20-year-old daughter tragically committed suicide in March and while he intended to keep the matter private and hoped that he would be able to finish the film, he has decided to take time off.

“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,” Snyder said as his wife Deborah sat beside him. “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.”

Toby Emmerich, president of Warner Bros. Pictures, told press that the studio fully supports Snyder's decision to walk away from the project.

"What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart — our hearts — go out to them," he said.

Justice League wrapped principal photography last October but there's still work to be done. The film still needs to be edited, have special effects added, and reshoots have officially been confirmed for the film (the previous rumor was false and no reshoots have happened yet). To take over these daunting tasks, The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon will step in for Snyder to make sure the film hits its November 17th release date. Whedon is also set to direct the upcoming solo Batgirl film.

Zack Snyder went on to say he understands why some fans might be concerned with the film now but he has other priorities.

“I want the movie to be amazing and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison," he says. “I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie but there are seven other kids that need me,” Snyder admitted. “ In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.

“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” he continued. “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.”

No matter how you feel about Zack Snyder's movies, it's important to respect Snyder's decision to move away from the film. Personally, I respect that he stayed on the project for an additional two months even with all of that emotional baggage. The man is clearly dedicated to his craft and loves his work and fans.

Our thoughts go out the Snyder family as they deal with this difficult time in their life.

[The Hollywood Reporter]