The news that Ben Affleck would step down as director of The Batman may have come as a surprise to some, but it wasn’t exactly without warning. Over the past several weeks, the Academy Award-winner had offered up a few quotes that left some questioning whether or not he would actually wind up helming the solo superhero adventure, or if he might pass those responsibilities off to someone else. As it turns out, the latter was true, proving those who parsed Affleck’s comments right.

The question now is: Who will step in to fill Affleck’s shoes as director? The task may be daunting, but naturally there are several popular choices who will no doubt be fan favorites to direct this current DCEU incarnation of the Dark Knight. As it turns out, though, Warner Bros. may already have a short list of potential candidates lined-up, with a familiar name reportedly high on that list.

According to Variety, Matt Reeves, director of War For the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Cloverfield is a top candidate to take the reins on the upcoming film and help steer the DCEU toward critical and commercial success.

Reeves is a solid choice for the studio, as he has demonstrated a knack for delivering character-driven genre films since the aforementioned Cloverfield in 2008. Since then, Reeves has tackled increasingly ambitious projects with the budgets and special effects to match. His 2010 follow-up was Let Me In, a remake of the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, which was well-received with critics. More importantly, though, the film demonstrated the director’s ability to craft an engrossing tale within the confines of not only a U.S. remake but also the sometimes stifling limitations of the horror genre as well.

Reeves’ most recent efforts — the last two installments of the new Planet of the Apes franchise — offer further proof that he’s a solid choice to step in as Affleck takes a step back. The success of Dawn and the anticipation surrounding this summer’s War of the Planet of the Apes are a good indication of Reeves’ ability to run with the baton once it’s been passed his way, as he did when taking over for then-departing director Rupert Wyatt.

The success Reeves has had delivering big-budget crowd-pleasers that also turn a tidy profit makes him attractive to from a studio standpoint. Perhaps more importantly, though, Reeves has signaled an ability to collaborate not only a director but also as a writer — which he did by helping Mark Bomback script the most recent Apes film — making him an appealing partner for both Ben Affleck and Warner Bros.

Next: Ben Affleck Will Not Direct The Batman Solo Movie

Source: Variety