It doesn’t take a long memory to recall when Ben Affleck being cast as Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was arguably the most controversial topic concerning superhero casting this side of Michael B. Jordan landing the Johnny Storm role in Fantastic Four. The fervor surrounding “Batfleck” was loud and long, which of course makes it a bit amusing that Affleck’s portrayal of the Caped Crusader went on to be one of the only unanimously praised aspects of the film. With that positive wind at his back, Affleck is currently preparing to write, direct, and star in the next Batman solo film, a challenge the Oscar-winner seems to be tackling with relish.
Fans have been openly wondering just what classic Batman comic book storylines Affleck might draw from for his solo script, but the answer to that question may apparently be none of them, at least not verbatim. Affleck was asked about his plans for the still untitled Batman project during a recent interview with Spanish-language news outlet Cines Argentinos, and offered the following response:
“I think what I would do is, I would probably do in some ways what Zack [Snyder] did with this movie, which is to borrow great stories from the great comic books but create an original story around it. I wouldn’t want fans to already know the story, but I would borrow — steal — great things that have been done before in the comics.”
While Batman V Superman’s various detractors might be a bit nonplussed to see Affleck referencing Snyder’s creative approach as a building block, BVS did indeed feature a mix of plot elements from the classic Frank Miller-penned Batman tale The Dark Knight Returns, while also incorporating original ideas. Whether that film’s plot successfully worked is a matter of opinion, but Affleck seems intent on expanding that blueprint by not drawing from one particular story and instead siphoning off elements from various classic Batman adventures.
On one level, Affleck’s notion makes a lot of sense. After all, comic book fans are some of the most passionate on the planet, and tend to not enjoy when their favorite printed arcs undergo massive changes on the journey from page to screen. By not directly adapting any one well-known Batman story, Affleck could try and avoid the baggage involved therein, and hopefully not suffer the wrath of folks upset because their favorite aspect of the plot was drastically altered during the jump to theaters.
That said, an argument could be made that taking a bunch of disparate elements and working them into one script might lead to an overstuffed movie with too much going on. Thankfully, Affleck is coming into this gig with awards on his mantle for both directing and writing, suggesting that he’ll likely be able to handle the balancing act.
Suicide Squad will hit theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.