Following the suicide of his 20-year-old daughter Autumn, director Zack Snyder and his wife/producer, Deborah, are pulling away from Justice League to be together with their seven children. Joss Whedon, whose experience making Marvel's first two Avengers led him to an intriguing gig on DC's upcoming Batgirl, will step in to take the reins. The Nov. 17–dated posse movie is already in postproduction, and Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich tells The Hollywood Reporter not to expect a drastic new X factor in the equation:
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set. We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing the 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.”
The death of Autumn, one of Snyder's four children with his first wife, Denise, occurred in March and was intended to remain a private matter. “When it became obvious that I need to take a break, I knew there would be narratives created on the internet," Snyder told THR. "They’ll do what they do. The truth is...I’m past caring about that kind of thing now."
Snyder, whose credits include DC's Man of Steel and Batman v Superman as well as Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen and 300, rejected the idea of delaying Justice League's release. He was in fact initially looking forward to resuming the "all consuming" work, "to just bury myself and see if that was the way through it." After a recent rough cut screening, he brought Whedon on board to script a few scenes he, Snyder, would shoot in England. Now he will cede that responsibility.
"I want the movie to be amazing, and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison," Snyder 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, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie."
Autumn Snyder was a Sarah Lawrence College student and a passionate writer. She recently completed a first-person fantasy/sci-fi novel about "a character who was an outsider and who had trouble fitting in." Her family is considering publishing it, with the proceeds given to charity.
Watch artists tell Fuse who they think is tougher, Batman or Superman: