With post-production well underway, Justice League is on schedule to hit theaters in November, but the DC superhero epic will have to enter the homestretch without Zack Snyder. The director is officially stepping away from the film to tend to a deeply personal family tragedy, as Snyder, along with wife and creative partner Deborah, cope with the sudden loss of their daughter.

As Snyder revealed to THR, the director and producer is exiting Justice League along with wife and fellow producer Deborah following the tragic loss of their 20-year-old daughter, Autumn, who took her life in March. The Snyder family has our utmost sympathy and sincerest condolences in this unimaginably difficult time.

With Justice League currently in post-production, Joss Whedon will take over for Snyder and oversee the movie’s completion, including the filming of additional scenes, to meet its November 17 release. Whedon is also set to write and direct a Batgirl movie for Warner Bros.’ DC film universe.

When Snyder’s daughter passed away in March, production on Justice League was quietly put on hold for two weeks. In an emotional statement, the director tells THR he initially thought getting back to work right away would be the best thing to do:

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

Snyder ultimately made the call to step down before heading to England to shoot additional scenes, which were scripted by Whedon. WB president Toby Emmerich had this to say about the transition:

The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set. 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.

Our hearts go out to Zack and Deborah Snyder and their family.

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