Ben may still be up to bat for the next Bat-film.
We’ve found ourselves in a bit of a bat-astrophe. After his turn as one of the better Batmen in cinematic history in one of the worst blockbusters in the past few years, Ben Affleck’s commitment to the role is on ever-shaking ground.
Almost immediately after leaving the theaters, crushed dreams in hand, Bat-fans such as myself clung to the hope that Affleck, a very successful director in his own right, would head up and star in a Bat-film of his own. In a few years’ time, we would be able to rid ourselves of the horrible nightmare of Batman v. Superman and enjoy what would surely be a perfect representation of the character we know and love. A few of us took that a little too close to heart and began pestering Ben at every turn, effectively sabotaging press junkets for other, unrelated projects in attempts to learn as much as possible about the still-tentative movie. After confirmation that Affleck was writing with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns, the question of the director was still very much up in the air. Warner Bros. execs and people close to the project were initially positive that Affleck would take up duties both in front of and behind the camera. Despite this, Affleck always seemed a bit wishy-washy on the topic, himself. Emotions on his part began to run high as pestering from the press continued, and after the abysmal failure of his pet project, Live By Night, Ben and co. announced that he would not be directing the future film after all. The official line was that ‘he wanted to focus on writing and acting duties’ and ‘give the due effort to the role without distraction’. I’ll choose to find the positives here and believe Mr. Affleck. The performance as Batman is incredibly important and the strain of maintaining several hats at once weighed down considerably on his shoulders throughout Live By Night. I can easily believe he would rather focus on the more crucial aspect as it pertains to him and hand off duties to someone capable, someone he trusts in. But who might that be? Who shall take up the not-at-all-enviable role of director for the next Batman picture?
Several names have been percolating throughout news sites, message boards, and the like. George Miller, director of the Mad Max films and one-time candidate for a Justice League project, was the most notable, but the most likely seems to be Mr. Matt Reeves. Reeves, director of Cloverfield and the pair of Planet of the Apes sequels, has been all but confirmed as replacement director. I am quite excited for the potential here, as he has demonstrated incredible vision for his films in the past: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a favorite of 2014 for me. He certainly has the chops to excel and his style is a perfect fit for the Bat-film I envision. As far as I’m concerned, nothing but positive news here.
Alas, this is not the end of the rumored changes to the Bat-landscape. Many sites and reliable outlets have reported that Ben has been very unhappy with the current DC Universe predicament – and I can’t say that I blame him. It seems that he will be moving away from any future obligations, finishing his contracted work on Justice League, and saying farewell to the cape and cowl. Though it would be sad to see my favorite Batman take off so soon, the embarrassing level of quality in the DC films released in the past five-or-so years is only worth canning as soon as possible. The hot rumor at the moment is a new Bat-trilogy with a hard reset, and, in all honesty, I say let’s do it. Can’t be worse than the dynamic duo of BvS and Suicide Squad