Yesterday it was announced that Zack Snyder is leaving Justice League and Joss Whedon will be taking over, shooting the additional photography this summer and ushering the film through post-production. Far from a juicy nerd scoop, though, this is the result of a tragedy: Snyder’s 20 year old daughter, Autumn, died by suicide in March, and Snyder and his wife Deborah, also a producer on Justice League, are leaving the film to be with their children. Snyder says: “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. […] 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 an unimaginable situation and my heart goes out to him and his family. Warner Brothers apparently offered to push back the film to give Snyder some time away—which would be a huge expense at this point, given all the November 2017 branding out there—which to me says Snyder really believes this is the right step for himself and his family and the movie just isn’t that important anymore. And I truly hope it is, I hope the Snyders get all the support they need right now.
Cinematically, the only thing worth talking about is that Whedon was brought in earlier to write the new scenes for additional photography, which does signal a tone shift in the movie. Tony Gilroy did a similar job for Rogue One, and that movie turned out fine (although I must repeat it still shows evidence of post-production twiddling and this kind of tampering will probably never result in an unqualified good movie). But you can get a FINE movie out of it, so Justice League can still turn out fine.
Between this and Chris Cornell and so many others, by now it should be clear—no one is exempt from depression. Even if you don’t think of yourself as depressed, you can still experience it (earlier this year I went through a funk of not wanting to do anything except sleep, and only after I found myself actively wishing no one would ask me to do something did it occur to me that maybe I needed to talk to someone, and I have been and it’s helping—there is NO shame in talking to someone or admitting you need help). Please, if you or anyone you know is struggling, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, and you can find international resources here.