News surrounding the production of Warner Bros.’ The Batman has been a roller coaster of late. While it was originally to be written and directed by Ben Affleck, doubt was cast on his commitment to the director’s chair during the press tour for Live by Night. Affleck eventually stepped down as director, saying, “It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film.”
While Affleck is still voicing a commitment to acting in the movie, the script has already seen a rewrite by Batman V Superman writer Chris Terrio. While this news may seem to further alienate Affleck from the project, it should be noted that Terrio is a frequent Affleck collaborator. News that he had Terrio reworked the script shouldn’t be a huge surprise; however, a new report by Mark Hughes from Forbes suggests The Batman is headed for a “fresh start” once a new director is named. According to Hughes:
“…the project will undergo substantial changes and possible/probably another full rewrite. Warner Bros. is already speaking to several filmmakers about taking over in the director’s chair — including one of my personal longtime favorites to direct a Batman movie, Matt Reeves, who seems to be the frontrunner — and word is the project will essentially get a fresh start once a new creative team has been put together.”
The loss of Affleck as the film’s director appears to have opened up The Batman for plenty of retooling, which will likely be an effort to refocus the movie to better fit with the creative ambitions of whoever steps in to direct. Hughes mentions that Matt Reeves is still a frontrunner for the job, and given his experience with big-budget, effects-heavy blockbusters, like the last two Planet of the Apes films, it stands to reason that Reeves would want and deserve to be given a chance at a “fresh start” on the project, should he land the job.
It will be interesting to see how the various behind-the-scenes maneuverings impact the film’s upcoming production schedule and potential release date. With a new script likely in the works, it’s a good bet The Batman will find itself pushed back. At that point, the question will become: How will this affect Warner Bros.’ plans for the DCEU and its expansion moving forward?