Zack Snyder, the director behind the first two Superman movies in DC’s Extended Universe, is stepping down from directing the upcoming Justice League. Snyder will take time off to be with his family, The Hollywood Reporter writes, in the wake of his daughter Autumn Snyder’s suicide.

News broke on Monday afternoon that the 51-year-old director is taking a break from the film, which is set to premiere on November 17, to deal with the family tragedy. THR reports that his 20-year-old daughter, Autumn Snyder, took her own life in March, though the death was kept very private. Production on Justice League was initially put on hold for two weeks in the immediate aftermath of the loss.

“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,” Snyder told THR in an interview alongside his wife (and fellow Justice League producer) Deborah Synder. “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.”

Justice League is already pretty far along — Synder reportedly screened a rough cut for some colleagues and friends, but he wanted to add a couple additional scenes. Joss Whedon, the director behind The Avengers and the upcoming Batgirl movie, was brought on to write them. Now, he’ll be directing the remaining parts of the movie.

“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich told THR. “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.”


Justice League is still set to premiere in theaters on November 17.

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Photos via Getty Images / Andrew H. Walker