Joss Whedon Replaces Zack Snyder On ‘Justice League’ After Family Tragedy

Zack Snyder is stepping down from his directorial duties onJustice League in the wake of a family tragedy.

During an interview on the Warner Bros. lot where a rough cut of the film was screened, Snyder revealed that his 20-year-old daughter, Autumn Snyder, died by suicide in March. He is taking time off to take care of his family and deal with her death, while Avengers director Joss Whedon will help bring the film across the finish line.

Snyder had already completed the majority of filming on the highly anticipated DC superhero tentpole, which is still slated to be released on Nov. 17, but will hand the reins over to Whedon for shooting additional scenes and post-production.

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, Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter in an emotional interview with his wife and Justice League producer Deborah Snyder.

Jamie McCarthy via Getty Images
Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder attend the “Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice” premiere.

The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all-consuming. And in the last two months, Ive come to the realization, he continued. Ive 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. Im having a hard time.

Autumn, the directors daughter from his first marriage to Denise Snyder, was attending Sarah Lawrence college at the time of her death. According to his wife, Deborah, Autumn loved to write, to write, to write and had recently completed a sci-fi novel, which they hope will one day be published.

Snyder, who is also father to seven other children and step-kids, never intended on sharing the news of his daughters death, but due to the high-profile nature of his job, he had no choice.

Heres the thing, I never planned to make this public, he said. 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. Theyll do what they do. The truth is Im past caring about that kind of thing now.

Mike Windle via Getty Images
Joss Whedon will replace Zack Snyder on “Justice League.”

Warner Bros., which is also behind Whedons upcoming Batgirl solo film, is fully supportive of Snyders decision and assured fans of the franchise that the directors vision will still be intact.

What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart our hearts go out to them, Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich said.Were not introducing any new characters. Its the same characters in some new scenes. Hes handing the baton to Joss, but the course has really been set by Zack. I still believe that despite this tragedy, well still end up with a great movie.

Snyder has been collaborating with Whedon in the last month to ensure a smooth transition from one director to another.Although he initially intended to stay on and finish the film,his perspective about movie-making and life changed after Autumns death.

I want the movie to be amazing, and Im a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison, he said. I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie, but there are seven other kids that need me. In the end, its just a movie. Its a great movie. But its just a movie.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

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