– by David Kozlowski

When Joss Whedon came aboard Justice League a few months ago, a lot of speculation swirled around how much or how little he would be involved. Whedon was initially engaged to conduct a few weeks of previously scheduled additional photography and some minor script doctoring (this seemed a bit suspect at the time). You’ll recall that the original director, Zack Snyder, stepped away from the project late into production to deal with a serious family matter. It was unclear, however, whether or not Snyder would return during post-production to help craft the final cut.

According to Wired, who interviewed Snyder about a short film project he created using only his iPhone, the former Justice League director won’t be coming back to the project AT ALL.

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Apparently, Justice League was in such a poor state that Whedon had to conduct extensive reshoots, and he also revised the script to such an extent that he eventually earned a writing credit — that’s not trivial, Whedon’s changes could materially alter Snyder’s vision. Given the degree of these changes, it’s hard to imagine Snyder’s continued involvement at any level.

Snyder told Wired that it would be “unfair” of him to return to the film after stepping away:

“I’m at a place where I feel excited about it and I’m happy for my guys and I love these people that are working on it, and they’re my family and I think they’re doing an amazing job. But I’ve kind of just let them do their thing.”

The impact of Snyder’s complete divorce from Justice League is that the film is really Whedon’s show now. Snyder won’t be present at all during the critical editing and post-production phase, so the music, pacing, tone, and ending will all be driven by Whedon (with help from Geoff Johns, presumably). The remarkable subplot here is that Whedon is poised to own two of the most-anticipated superhero films of all-time: The Avengers (2012) and Justice League. What a career this guy’s having, right?

Given that Snyder’s strength’s are action and visuals, while Whedon’s are character and humor, it always felt like this could be a really effective marriage. Unfortunately, the Justice League is now the product of a broken home, and one of the parents has abandoned their visitation rights altogether — breakups are always awkward. I still have a lot of hope for Justice League, but damn, does the DCEU ever catch a break?

The other question we have is whether Snyder will be involved in the DCEU going forward. The Wired article indicates that Snyder is developing two other projects while also planning to teach filmmaking classes at his alma matter. Sure seems like Snyder’s superhero run has come to a sudden and final end.

Are you surprised that Zack Snyder has bailed on Justice League entirely? Let us know in the comments down below!

Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017.

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David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.