Warner Bros. has several DC Extended Universe projects in development, and one of the more anticipated is The Batman, set to be Ben Affleck's first solo film as the Caped Crusader. For a while, the belief was the Oscar winning filmmaker would make it his next directorial effort, but that is no longer the case. Affleck recently stepped down from the director's chair on The Batman, citing his desire to fully commit himself to his performance as Bruce Wayne. Conversation has now turned to who will call the shots. There are plenty of options available at this juncture, but Affleck's frequent collaborator Kevin Smith won't take the job.
As disappointing as it is Affleck won't direct The Batman, fans can take solace in the fact that he remains heavily involved in other regards, co-writing the script with Geoff Johns and playing the lead character. His performance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was widely seen as one of that film's positives, so at the very least Affleck would be able to deliver another (hopefully) captivating turn as the Dark Knight. Now, however, some doubt has been cast on the actor's future with the franchise in front of the camera.
While analyzing the situation, Mark Hughes of Forbes mentioned the information he's received about The Batman's progress has him worried Affleck could depart the Bruce Wayne role, and instead serve as only producer and writer. Check out the relevant passage below:
Unfortunately, among the things I heard about his departure as director, I heard a few specifics that — if true — lead me to worry there is at least a chance Affleck could also walk away from starring in the picture. I don’t feel those concerns are as likely to bear fruit, and I still expect Affleck will finish the screenplay as planned and then start prepping for the role by getting into “Batman shape” to ensure he’s physically and mentally prepared for the role. That said, I do believe there’s a chance now that Affleck could depart the project as an actor, winding up merely serving as cowriter and producer.
Hughes does not mention who his sources are, so it's important for moviegoers to take this with a grain of salt for the time being. In Affleck's official statement, he certainly seemed committed to the film, saying it was his intention to "find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film." Affleck's primary concern was that pulling double duty as director and star would spread himself too thin, and The Batman would then not be up to his standards. There's been nothing to indicate he is considering dropping out entirely, though it is interesting there are small amounts of buzz there. If the DCEU lost Affleck, it would be a major setback, causing WB to recast after multiple appearances. As stated above, Affleck's Batman is a rare bright spot in the series, and the process to find a new Wayne would be long and grueling - causing several delays on in-development projects.
As Hughes says, however, there's a better chance Affleck stays than not, so in the long run, this is most likely nothing to worry about. Though Affleck has grown tired of the plethora of Batman-related questions he hears in interviews nowadays, he remains excited about the opportunity to bring a beloved character to life and work with such rich source material. His biggest priority for the past several months is ensuring the script is good enough to make a compelling Batman film, since he understands how iconic the lore is. If he feels the movie can be better if he is not the one calling the shots, then audiences should trust his judgment. Since he was first cast back in 2013, Affleck has dedicated much time and effort into the DCEU, and he's not one to just give up when the going gets tough. Fans are understandably worried about the DCEU's future, but there are no real reasons to fret just yet.
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