Joss Whedon Exits HBO's The Nevers, Justice League Actor Ray Fisher Points To Investigation
Joss Whedon is stepping away from his latest project, and actor Ray Fisher is taking indirect credit for the move.
Joss Whedon has stepped down from his latest project, the upcoming HBO series The Nevers, effective immediately. Justice League actor Ray Fisher, however, is claiming a more sinister reason.
Whedon was writing, directing, and executive producing The Nevers. HBO describes the show as "an epic science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world." So it's about the Joss Whedon-est thing you could imagine. Despite Whedon's exit, HBO said through a spokesperson that the studio remains "excited about the future of The Nevers," and that it look forward to the summer 2021 premiere.
Why Whedon left the series is where things get interesting, though. Whedon himself cites exhaustion in an official statement on his departure. Actor Ray Fisher, whom Whedon directed in 2017's Justice League, says the departure is a direct result of WarnerMedia's investigation into misconduct during the filming of Justice League's original theatrical release.
"This year of unprecedented challenges has impacted my life and perspective in ways I could never have imagined, and while developing and producing the Nevers has been a joyful experience, I realize that the level of commitment required moving forward, combined with the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic, is more than I can handle without the work beginning to suffer," Whedon said in a statement (via Variety). "I am genuinely exhausted and am stepping back to martial my energy towards my own life, which is also at the brink of exciting change. I am deeply proud of the work we have done; I’m grateful to all my extraordinary cast and collaborators, and to HBO for the opportunity to shape yet another strange world. The Nevers is a true labor of love, but after two plus years of labor, love is about all I have to offer. It will never fade."
Fisher tweeted out the following statement, following Whedon's:
I have no intention of allowing Joss Whedon to use the old Hollywood tactic of “exiting”, “stepping down”, or “walking away” to cover for his terrible behavior.— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) November 26, 2020
WarnerMedia’s JL investigation has been in full swing for over 3 weeks now.
This is undoubtedly a result of it.
Justice League might be the most drama-packed project to come out of Warner Bros. in decades. The film, originally directed by Zack Snyder, was set to be Warner Bros.' own Avengers film. During filming, Snyder suffered a loss in his family and stepped away from the film. Warner Bros. moved ahead with the film, allegedly with Snyder's blessing, with director Joss Whedon at the helm. This move felt like pure studio meddling at the time; Snyder's DC movies had suffered critically, and they weren't measuring up to Marvel's projects even if they were profitable. And so it looked like Warner Bros. took its opportunity to put the director of Marvel's Avengers in the captain's chair in hopes of saving it.
The movie failed critically and financially, leading fans of Snyder's work to cry foul, beginning a social media campaign to "release the Snyder cut." Cut to 2020, where Warner Bros. has greenlit a reported $70 million budget for Snyder to re-cut and reshoot Justice League into a four-part miniseries for HBO Max.
While the actors in the film have generally been supportive of Snyder's work on the film, Fisher has been his greatest cheerleader and has continually gone to bat to not just paint Snyder in a better light but to push back at anyone involved with the film that isn't Zack Snyder. Fisher accused Warner Bros. executives of racist behavior this fall, a move backed by Justice League co-star Jason Momoa. More directly, though, Fisher also directly called out Whedon, calling his treatment of the cast and crew "abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable," while naming producers Jon Berg and DC executive Geoff Johns as his enablers. Fisher has reiterated and doubled-down on these accusations in later statements.