The DC Extended Universe will likely move forward without two of its chief engineers for the foreseeable future. Zack Snyder, director of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman and the first director of Justice League, and his wife Deborah Snyder, producer on all three films as well as Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman (Zack is also credited as a producer on the latter two), are reportedly reducing their connection to the future of DC Films to a non-creative role.
The report, in which Mashable cites "multiple sources with knowledge of Warner Bros.' plans," says the Snyders' reduced role won't remove the couple as producers, but post-Justice League will see them no longer involved in making creative decisions (or discussions therein) about the upcoming slate of movies, which numbers as high as 14 depending on what level you consider "in development."
Of course, the report also includes an immediate denial from Warner Bros.
"The Snyders remain an important part of the Warner Bros. family and are actively involved in several upcoming DC pictures, including their continued creative input on Justice League. We are excited about our partnership and look forward to our continued collaboration," reads a statement from WB president and chief content officer Toby Emmerich.
Zack Snyder stepped out of the director's chair for Justice League when virtually only planned reshoots and final edits were left, needing time away from filmmaking to grieve the loss of their 20-year-old daughter, whose suicide two months before he stepped down in May had been kept private. Wanting to spend time with their family, the couple received nothing but support from DC Films, Warner Bros., and even a fanbase divided on his films in this universe thus far. Joss Whedon has been finishing the directorial duties on the film, before he continues his own DCEU story with a Batgirl movie he'll write and direct.
The couple's input on the other films was notably high, with Zack Snyder even getting a shared story credit on Wonder Woman, the first DCEU film to receive great critical acclaim, while at the same time connecting with audiences.
Of course, producer Charles Roven has also reportedly stepped out of the creative role he held for this initial burst of movies, mostly a result of Geoff Johns and Jon Berg stepping in to co-head DC Films. Johns, already also chief creative officer and president at DC Entertainment and a DC Comics mainstay for the last decade and a half, stepped into the role with a desire for the films to better reflect what he believes are the tenets of DC Comics, namely hope and legacy.
Still, Snyder's eye for action is well respected in the industry, and he's well-liked by his actors; Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in Justice League, wore a t-shirt that said "I <3 ZS" to the San Diego Comic-Con panel last weekend. New footage from the film, taken entirely from Snyder's work as Whedon has only just begun active production, was shown at the convention and extremely well-received by the crowd of thousands, as well as fans online after it was released worldwide.
For the immediate future, the Snyders will continue to mourn and heal, which results naturally in a reduced role. Time will tell what happens beyond that.