According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Zack Snyder is stepping away from the post-production process for this November’s Justice League for personal reasons. The filmmaker’s daughter committed suicide this past March, which was kept secret because it was none of our business. The filmmaker has understandably chosen to depart the big-budget superhero movie to spend time with his family. His wife, producer Deborah Snyder, will also be stepping away. The film has completed principal photography with plenty of post-production along with whatever reshoots or pick-ups are deemed necessary. And the person taking over for the DC Comics superhero movie is none other than Joss Whedon, director of Marvel’s The Avengers.
This certainly puts a new light on those “The movie is doomed, it has been reshot twice out of desperation!” rumors that have been going around over the last few weeks, which makes me glad that I didn’t bother to comment on them in any explicit capacity. Whedon was (officially) brought into the Warner Bros./DC Comics camp in late March after selling them on a Batgirl movie, so he is arguably the right guy to get the movie to the finish line in time for the Nov. 17 release date. The initial story, and I’m sure the overriding narrative over the next six months, is that it remains Snyder’s movie and that Whedon will have no interest in turning it into something different than it was intended to be. For better or worse, that’s how it should be under the circumstances.
Obvious sympathies are extended to the Snyder clan. With the caveat that it’s absolutely movie news from a movie business perspective, I honestly don’t think (in case you’re asking) it will make much of a difference in terms of the film’s eventual reception. This isn’t Health Ledger dying months before The Dark Knight or James Wan and Universal trying to finish Furious 7 without Paul Walker and the resulting movie being taken as a sort of coronation of the actor and the franchise. The circumstances of Whedon stepping up for Snyder will come up on the press tour and I’m sure we’ll find out about bits and pieces that were made different in the post-production process without Snyder’s involvement, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Come what may, we now have a Justice League movie that will have the input of the guy who directed Batman v Superman and the guy who directed Avengers: Age of Ultron. Under different circumstances, this would be kinda neat or at least weirdly appropriate. But no, this isn’t Whedon taking over the movie or related to any kind of DC vs. Marvel fandom feud or anything to do with the reception of the last few DCEU movies. It’s one filmmaker helping out another get his current picture to the finish line under truly unfortunate circumstances. It’s horrible, but it’s also pretty straightforward. And that’s all that needs to be said about that at the moment.
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