After hearing the news that Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder has had to step down as director of Justice League due to personal circumstances, we learned that Buffy creator and Avengers director Joss Whedon has agreed to step in and take over as director for the final stretch of the film’s post-production.
It’s not surprising that Whedon has taken the helm as it recently surfaced at the Wonder Woman premiere that he was already working on the project. In fact he was brought in to work on directing and photography as well as polishing the script for reshoots.
We are sad to hear that Snyder has stepped down, but we now find ourselves asking what could Whedon’s directorial takeover mean for Justice League – which is still scheduled for its original release date of the 17th November. Here’s what we think.
1. Justice League is still Snyder's movie
The film was still directed and co-written by Snyder and, with initial filming complete, it’s now well into the final parts of the post-production stage. This means Whedon will be taking more of an editorial role, ensuring that the film is as good as it can be for us to enjoy when it’s released later this year.
Sometimes after working on the same project for so long, we get tunnel vision and consequently miss minor flaws that only a fresh pair of eyes can spot. When said eyes belong to Joss Whedon, we can be assured that Snyder’s creation will be as polished as it can possibly be and we cannot wait to see the final result.
That said, it has just been confirmed that the movie will be entering three months of 'significant' reshoots, so perhaps there will be more Whedon in the project than initially thought...
2. It stands Whedon in good stead
Justice League will be the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe when it’s released and it will be the first time that Whedon has worked with Warner Bros. on a DC project.
However it won't be his last. It has just been announced that Whedon is set to write and direct a future Batgirl project (stay tuned for more on that). We’ve been wanting a Batgirl film for years and knowing that Whedon will be in charge has made us even more excited to see what he has in store.
Working on Justice League, then, will be great practice for Whedon working within the DC universe where he will learn the ins and outs of the production process and get a feel for the overall tone and direction that the series is heading. We’re sure that Whedon already knows exactly what he’s doing but a bit of practice never hurt anyone, right?
3. Whedon can (hopefully) add more humour
Whedon is famed for his zippy, witty, lighthearted scripts. Whether it's The Avengers, Buffy, online musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog or genius horror-comedy Cabin in the Woods, we're well aware of the magic touch he can bring.
DC films tend to be less light-hearted than their Marvel counterparts but with the more humorous Wonder Woman garnering box office gold, it looks as if DC are starting to lighten up a little and embrace some more comedic elements.
When you have a comedy pro like Whedon in charge of tweaking your script, then you know that every joke is going to land right on the bullseye every time.
4. It'll still be the DC style we love
When DC films aren’t cracking jokes, they can be pretty macabre with dark, noirish tones that fill every frame and psychotic villains whose menace makes forthrilling rivalries. Snyder has shown that his cinematic style was perfect for DC, proving that he could bring the comics to life in both Man of Steel and BvS with real flair and there’s no doubt that Justice League will be full of his signature style.
Whedon has a hard job ahead of him to match Snyder’s style for the reshoots but, if anyone can do it, it’s Whedon. Avengers may be the opposite of what a DC film looks like but let’s not forget that Whedon is well-versed in darker themes too: Cabin in the Woods was genuinely unsettling despite being a comedy, and who could forget the Buffy episode “Hush” which saw nightmarish monsters The Gentlemen silently terrorise town?
Whedon’s Avengers may have been vibrant and colourful, but he’s also shown that he has the versatility and talent to re-create the DC aesthetic that Snyder established.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.