2016 has been a mixed bag for Warner Bros, DC Films, and the DC Extended Universe. Both Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were met with less than favorable reviews, but proceeded to perform great financially. The stories of both films have been divisive, but in each audiences have come out almost universally praising a few aspects. Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn was one of them, and just got her spinoff movie Gotham City Sirens announced - but it was Ben Affleck as Batman that really captured the attention of viewers.
It was Affleck's performance in Batman V Superman on top of the fact that he will write and direct his solo film, The Batman, that has gotten people excited to see more of Affleck's Caped Crusader in the DCEU. Despite all this interest, various reports have pointed to different filming dates, release dates, and plot points. This shouldn't be a reason to worry right now, as Affleck insists that the movie is on the right track.
Variety had the chance to talk to Affleck to promote his next directorial outing in Live By Night, but eventually they also asked him about his solo film. Affleck echoed his villainous counterpart Joe Manganiello's (Deathstroke) comments about spring of 2017 being the targeted start of filming for The Batman, saying that the script is also in the finishing stages.
We’re on the right track with that and everything is coming together. We’re still finishing up a script. I’m very excited.
Affleck's involvement is a big reason why there is so much interest in another standalone Batman franchise, but he has his work cut out for him to carve out his own take. Instead of looking at the previous iterations as competition, he is doing his best to focus on his ideas alone and not worry about mirroring the previous Batman movies that he respects. As he told Variety:
I respect all of those [Batman] movies. Christopher Nolan did an incredible job, Christian Bale did an incredible job, Tim Burton did an incredible job. At a certain point you have to look forward and try to believe in your own vision for it and not be looking over your shoulder the whole time. I go into that movie with a tremendous amount of respect for the people who came before me.
If filming does in fact begin at the beginning of next year, The Batman should be on track to meet an early to mid 2018 release date. Throughout all the developments of the movie however, there has yet to be any clear indications as to when the movie will hit theaters. Recently it was reported that The Batman's importance has pushed back Justice League 2. This pointed to the solo film taking a June 2019 release date instead, but there should not be any good reason as to why the movie could take two years to film and edit.
Speculating about the potential release date appears to be useless at this point with Affleck saying that he is not worried about meeting a predetermined date. Instead, he seems more than okay with taking his time to get the movie right. This could mean a long production and post-production, but what it will hopefully mean when everything is said and done is a Batman movie hitting theaters sometime in 2018.
Depending on when The Flash begins filming, The Batman could be the next DCEU film to enter production. WB had previously hoped to release three DC films in 2018, so it will be interesting to see how both films fit into the 2018 calendar - as only Aquaman has a confirmed 2018 release right now. Regardless of when it comes out, Affleck does not seem worried about the process so far, so neither should fans. If he can make a 2018 release work, that'd be welcomed by all; but if not, it'll be better to wait a little while longer for a great solo Batman film instead of rushing to make a mediocre-to-poor version.