With a new year upon us, Warner Brothers surely hopes this will be the year the DC Extended Universe finds its groove. Their immediate fortunes rest in the hands of Wonder Woman and Justice League, but the distant promise of Ben Affleck’s tentatively titled The Batman has many the most excited. Affleck’s depiction of the Dark Knight was one of the most universally supported elements of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, leading to audiences wonder how great a Batman solo film could be from the Academy Award winning filmmaker.
Despite the film’s loose confirmation for a 2018 release, Affleck says he is not going to direct a “mediocre” film no matter what the studio has planned. He has previously stated that the film is on the right track, though a recent quote suggests he may not be 100 percent confident.
Affleck was interviewed by The Guardian to discuss his career and newest film Live By Night. Talk eventually turned to the progress of The Batman, but Affleck does not appear to be sold on the exact role he will play. While he is currently set to star and direct, he says that’s far from inevitable:
“It’s not a set thing and there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it.”
While it’s uncertain how recently this interview took place, this is certainly not the news that fans want to hear, especially after all signs pointed towards the film beginning production this spring. Affleck being uncommitted to directing the film and meeting a specified date is alarming. Should things not proceed to his standards, WB would be a difficult position figuring out where to take the property moving forward.
It’s possible that things just haven’t clicked quite yet (or have since the Guardian interview). Some of the general beats are clearly lined out with Deathstroke set as the main villain, but that is one of the only details that has come out so far. The inclusion of supporting characters both new and returning have not been confirmed (outside of J.K. Simmons as Jim Gordon), which again raises concerns over how well Affleck and the new creative team involved with the DCEU are working together.
Hopefully, this is Affleck just expressing minor concerns he has and everything will turn out to be fine, but this statement is concerning. For now, Affleck will have to focus on trying to finish the script, bring on more cast members, and decide if he’ll sit in the director’s chair for The Batman over the next few months. If he opts not too? Well, then The Batman could be in trouble.