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Zack Snyder steps back from Justice League after family tragedy

Joss Whedon to finish the film, which is in post-production

Warner Bros.

Zack Snyder has stepped back from putting the finishing touches on Justice League following the death of his daughter to focus on family, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Justice League was already in post-production when Snyder’s daughter died in March, but the director told the magazine he was having trouble coming to terms with her death and needed to step back from the movie. Snyder’s daughter, Autumn Snyder, died by suicide in March. She was 20.

Joss Whedon, who will also direct the Batgirl movie for Warner Bros., is stepping in to finish off the final touches.

“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 told the magazine. “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.”

Warner Bros. originally offered Snyder the option to push back the release date on the movie, but he and his wife, Deborah Snyder — who is an executive producer on all the DC Universe films — opted not to do that. Snyder wanted to add a couple of scenes to Justice League after screening a rough cut of the movie and brought Whedon on board to write them. By the time shoots were scheduled to begin, Snyder decided it wasn’t time to head back to work. Whedon agreed to shoot those particular scenes and edit them into the film.

“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” said Warner Bros. president Tony Emmerich. “We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing a 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.”

Justice League will be released on Nov. 17.