Zack Snyder stepped away from filming 2017's Justice League after the death of his daughter
Zack Snyder, Autumn Snyder
Zack Snyder, Autumn Snyder
| Credit: Michael Stewart/Getty; Zack Snyder/Twitter

Zack Snyder's return to the DC Universe, with the upcoming Zack Snyder's Justice League on HBO Max, comes with an ode to his daughter Autumn.

The director, 54, stepped away from the 2017 film after the death of his daughter by suicide at age 20. Joss Whedon took over the film to mixed reviews. But now, Snyder has a chance to deliver what he had originally intended for the superhero mashup in a four-hour-long film set to debut on HBO Max on March 18. 

That debut will come with several personal elements integrated throughout the film, including Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," Autumn's favorite song, performed by Allison Crowe, a friend who sang it at her funeral. Snyder revealed the song's inclusion in his new interview with Vanity Fair.

"When you think about the catharsis of it, if I was a potter, I would've made some pottery to look for some way through this," Snyder says. "But I'm a filmmaker, so you get this giant movie." 

"At the end of the movie, it says 'For Autumn,'" he revealed. "Without her, this absolutely would not have happened." 

Autumn's death was "such a lightning strike in the center of this whole saga," Snyder adds. "And in a lot of ways, it has informed everything we've done since." 

The first trailer for the four-hour-long film debuted earlier this month and teased a confrontation between Ben Affleck's Batman and Jared Leto's Joker.

After the 2017 movie was released to mixed reviews, fans began a relentless campaign for the "Snyder cut" of the film. Their bid paid off three years later when Snyder confirmed he was working on his own cut of the film for HBO Max.

"I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality," said Snyder at the time.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

The movie features the epic team-up of DC superheroes: Ben Affleck's Batman, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill's Superman, Jason Momoa's Aquaman, Ezra Miller's the Flash and Ray Fisher's Cyborg, including Jared Leto's Joker from Suicide Squad.

Zack Snyder's Justice League debuts on HBO Max on March 18.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to