This isn't a story that I believe requires a lengthy introduction, so I'll just cut right to the chase. Yesterday in The Hollywood Reporter, Justice League director Zack Snyder revealed that he is stepping down from his directorial duties on the film to deal with a family tragedy. Snyder's daughter committed suicide in March at the age of 20, and while Snyder initially wanted to return to the film, he has decided to leave Justice League and spend time with his family. Here are Snyder's full statements on the matter:
"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. The demands of the 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.
"Here's the thing, I never planned to make this public. 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. They'll do what they do. The truth is...I'm past that kind of thing now.
"I want this movie to be amazing, and I'm a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison. I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie, but there are seven other kids who need me. In the end, it's just a movie. It's a great movie. But it's just a movie."
Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers and the upcoming Batgirl, will step in to direct the reshoots and complete the film in post-production. Warner Bros. initially offered to push back the release of the film, but Snyder and his wife, producer Deborah Snyder, decided against that. Warner Bros. President Toby Emmerich had this to say: "What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart- our hearts- go out to them." Emmerich also ensured that the new scenes filmed by Whedon would adhere to the style and tone set by Snyder, and would not be a radical departure from the current cut of the film.
This is a monumental tragedy, and I am heartbroken for Snyder and his entire family. Regardless of what you think of his films or whether or not you were excited for Justice League, Zack Snyder seems like a genuinely good human being and a passionate filmmaker, and I'm deeply saddened to see something so horrible happen. At this point, discussing the film or the future of the DC Universe feels unnecessary. The important thing is making sure that Snyder heals and works through this terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to him.