In what has to be one of the strangest turn of events in cinema history, Zack Snyder has announced that he is leaving the director's chair on the upcoming Justice League film. In March, Snyder's daughter Autumn committed suicide and though Snyder and his producer/wife Deborah had thought that going back to work on Justice League would be the distraction they needed from this personal drama, it turns out that their overwhelming grief has brought them to this tremendously difficult decision.
As Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter...
“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. The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all consuming… 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.”
While principal photography was complete on the film, there were still some planned reshoots and a ton of editing and post production work left to do on the film before its November 17 release date. So where does this leave the film? In quite possibly the best hands imaginable.
In a surreal turn of events, WB & DC announced that Avengers director Joss Whedon—who recently signed on to write and direct a Batgirl movie for the studio—will step in and help finish the film. Apparently Whedon had been brought on to do some ghost rewrites on the film's script, and given his pedigree and proximity to the production, he turned out to be the right man for the job.
I'm sure that the DC fanbase is having all manner of conflicted feelings over this news, and while this is definitely the best case scenario given the circumstances, it's still a terribly tragic situation.