Zack and Deborah Snyder, director and producer respectively on DC’s Justice League film, have stepped down from production on the film after a family tragedy.

In March this year, Zack Snyder’s daughter from his first marriage, Autumn, took her own life. Snyder only recently took the decision to take leave from work, and has handed the reigns over to Marvel alum, Joss Whedon.

Fernando Leon/Getty Images Entertainment

Snyder opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about the tragedy, and his decision.

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.

Toby Emmerich, president of Warner Bros. Pictures, told The Hollywood Reporter:

What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart – our hearts – go out to them.

And on Joss Whedon (who was recently announced to be helming DC’s Batgirl movie), Emmerich said:

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 thoughts go out to the Snyder family at this time.

YouTube: Justice League Trailer #1 (2017) | Movieclips Trailers

Read more from Huw Downs