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Zack Snyder has decided to step away from directing duties on Justice League following a family tragedy, prompting Warner Bros. to hand the reins over to Joss Whedon. Snyder has been with the DC Extended Universe before it was even designated that name, delivering Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which were divisive films that split audiences. In fact, his track record has even made some worried about how he would bring Justice League to life.

However, he is no longer set to serve as the director. Despite the fact that filming wrapped months ago and the editing process is underway — ahead of the upcoming reshoots — Snyder has decided to step away. Unfortunately, the events that lead to this decision are extremely tragic.

THR revealed the news that Snyder has stepped down from Justice League to deal with the loss of his daughter. Snyder’s daughter committed suicide back in March. The family kept the news quiet to mourn in private. While Warners reportedly offered to push the film back to give the director more time to deal with the loss, Snyder opted to leave the project altogether, opening the door for Whedon to step in. Snyder issued the following official statement.

“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. 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.”

This is very difficult news for Snyder and his family. The director planned to push forward and continue working on the film, but it is far more important for him to take this step back and focus on healing not only himself, but also with the rest of his family. Even though he will miss the reshoots, it is still possible that Snyder can rejoin the production team during post and work with his editors, producers, and Whedon to deliver the best Justice League film imaginable.

If that is not the case — and it would be understandable for him to distance himself completely from this project- – DC has found someone with a proven track record to finish Snyder’s vision. The reshoots that Whedon will be in-charge of were already written by him upon request from Snyder, so the two should be on the same page at this point. With Whedon serving as the director on the MCU’s two biggest films, it will certainly not hurt Justice League to have his input as well. For now, Snyder will be allowed to take as much time as needed as he deals with this heartbreaking event.

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