THE BATMAN to Get “Fresh Start,” Matt Reeves Frontrunner to Direct
Late last month, Ben Affleck revealed he wouldn’t be directing The Batman after all, noting that it “has become clear” he cannot “do both jobs to the level they require.” Affleck, who is set to star in the film as Bruce Wayne / Batman as well as serve as the film’s producer, co-wrote the script with Geoff Johns, co-head of DC Films. Per Affleck’s official statement, he remains “extremely committed” to The Batman, and is involved in Warner Brothers’ search for the new director — who, per a new report from Forbes, could be Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves, who “seems to be the frontrunner” to helm The Batman.
“The project will essentially get a fresh start once a new creative team has been put together,” reports Forbes, who mention “continued script problems” and “the possible need for the new creative team to go back to the drawing board” among rumors that Affleck is possibly slowly stepping away from the project altogether. Warner Bros. recently ordered a page-one rewrite on The Flash after losing two directors in a row, news that broke after rumors pointed to the upcoming Wonder Woman as “disjointed” and carrying the “same problems” that have made every DC Cinematic Universe feature — Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad — all critical failures. (In spite of their “rotten” consensus, all films were financially successful at the box office).
Per Forbes — whose lengthy write-up mentions, more than once, the possibility of Affleck’s washing his hands of The Batman altogether — Affleck’s story for the film originally included Deathstroke as a central villain, with “a few other likely villainous appearances by characters including the Joker.” Joe Manganiello was announced as Deathstroke in August, and the Joker made his DC Cinematic Universe debut in last year’s Suicide Squad, where he was played by Jared Leto. (Leto has been extremely vocal about how much of his performance was removed from the finalized film, calling into question his desire to reprise the role in future DC Films productions such as the Suicide Squad sequel and its pending spinoff, Gotham City Sirens, starring Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and other female Batman villains.
The author of the piece, Mark Hughes, reports sources have given him word of “major rewrites” to “a completely new script,” including starting over on the story completely if need be. While that sounds disheartening, if true, it’s best to remember that we’ll be better off with Warner Bros. taking their time, getting it right, and then moving forward — and not a minute before. (Suicide Squad director/writer David Ayer had just six weeks to write the script, which — regardless of how you feel about the film — made for a rushed production with an unclear direction).
“Assuming things get on track now and there aren’t further major delays,” says Hughes, “we’re likely looking at a release date in 2019” for The Batman. Affleck reprises his role as Bruce Wayne / Batman for the third time later this year in Justice League, out November 17th.