To say it has been a trying time for Warner Bros. and its upcoming solo film The Batman would be an understatement. The last few weeks have seen Ben Affleck take a step back from the demands of being writer, director, producer, and star of the movie, only to have more rumors pop up that he’s actually looking to leave the role altogether. It’s another troubling sign for the studio as it continues to have trouble keeping talent involved in its expanding DC Extended Universe plans, as Affleck is just the latest director to back out, following Rick Famuyia’s departure from The Flash solo film that is now in rewrites.
The one bright spot in the news swirling around The Batman has been that War of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves has been in talks with Warner Bros. to take on directorial duties for the latest Caped Crusader joint. The news was met with optimism by fans, as Reeves has an impressive track record with big budget blockbusters that are not only crowd pleasers, but score high with critics as well. For the last few days, it has seemed as though Reeves was a lock for the job, with a new rumor suggesting the studio was courting him to helm even more films in the DCEU.
All signs were pointing toward a done deal, until today. As reported by THR, it seems that negotiations between Warner Bros. and Reeves have broken down. No reason for the seeming abrupt end to the discussions was mentioned, though it was made clear that Reeves has exited the talks. The source did say that while negotiations have halted for the time being, the door remains open for them to resume, should both parties wish.
The termination of negotiations between the studio and Reeves isn’t just a bad sign for The Batman, but for the DCEU brand as well. Warners’ shared universe has gotten off to a rocky start, with the first few releases garnering less-than favorable reviews, despite making a strong run at the box office. The studio is looking to retool the tone of the Extended Universe, reportedly starting with this summer’s Wonder Woman and continuing on with Zack Snyder’s Justice League in the fall, but despite the creative course correction two major solo films have struggled to keep a director on board.
Still, there are bright spots for Warners and the DCEU, as James Wan is still preparing to get Aquaman swimming along, and discussions with Mel Gibson to direct Suicide Squad 2 are reportedly still underway, while David Ayer is presumably set to helm Gotham City Sirens. For whatever reason, it seems The Batman will remain in a tough spot at Warner Bros. for the time being. Either until talks resume with Reeves or a replacement for the replacement director is found.