Director Zack Snyder’s decision to cast Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was certainly one of the most controversial superhero movie casting decisions made in recent memory. However, Affleck’s performance as a middle-aged (and respectively hardened) Bruce Wayne wound up being one of the more universally-praised elements of Snyder’s film, inspiring many fans to call for a Ben Affleck-starring Batman solo movie to be fast-tracked – which, it would seem, it has been (with Affleck co-writing and directing the film too).
Affleck won’t only be playing a more active creative role in the future of the DC Extended Universe when it comes to the Batman solo film, either. It’s now being reported that Affleck will be lending Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio (who co-penned Batman V Superman) a helping hand behind the camera on the in-production Justice League Part One (in addition to reprising his role as the Caped Crusader), by serving in an executive producer capacity.
Deadline is reporting that Affleck has signed a deal that will see him receive executive producer credit on Snyder’s Justice League movie, in exchange for him lending a hand “to make the film the best it can be.” Meanwhile, THR‘s report on the matter states that Affleck will both fine-tune Terrio’s Justice League script and assist during the film’s post-production process. Affleck, as noted in Deadline‘s article, reportedly developed a good working relationship with Snyder during filming on Batman V Superman and also worked alongside Terrio on the Best Picture Oscar-winning historical drama/thriller Argo (which Terrio won an Oscar for writing and Affleck both headlined and directed).
Sites such as Batman-News have recently reported that there have been tensions between Snyder and Warner Bros. Pictures executives over the creative direction on Justice League (following the overall polarizing reception for Batman V Superman), which may explain Affleck being recruited to help out on the film behind the camera. Other sites previously reported that WB studio heads were planning to be more hands-on with development of not only Justice League but the rest of the DCEU film slate moving forward – something which may be to blame for Seth Grahame-Smith stepping down as director on The Flash and the rumors that director James Wan has considered stepping away from Aquaman (a rumor that Wan has since denied).
These reports of shake-ups and changes being made behind the scenes on the DCEU are not unexpected, truth be told. Batman V Superman was not a commercial failure, but it also wasn’t the billion dollar-grossing superhero tentpole hit that WB no doubt was hoping for. Hence, the decision to have Affleck serve a larger creative role on Justice League Part One reads as being a good compromise solution to the problem of how to respond to the criticisms of Snyder’s DCEU films (Man of Steel and Batman V Superman) without simply kicking Snyder out of the Justice League director’s chair.
Snyder should also be more receptive to receiving input from Affleck on his first Justice League movie than he would someone else as producer, as the two have already established a seemingly-good work dynamic. Moreover, it’s hard to see a big downside to having an Oscar-winning storyteller like Affleck being more involved with the development of the DCEU as a whole, not least of all because his involvement will help ensure that the franchise will be better able to stick to its self-proclaimed “filmmaker-driven” philosophy moving forward after Batman V Superman.
Who knows – if David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is as well-received by critics and moviegoers alike as its trailers have been (when it hits theaters later this year) and Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman movie makes a splash when it arrives in 2017, it is plausible that the general outlook towards the DCEU will improve significantly over the next year. If so, that would set the stage for Snyder, Affleck, and their many collaborators to deliver a Justice League movie that does become the audience-approved, billion dollar hit superhero flick that WB wanted in the first place.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive 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 June 19, 2020.