Ever since it was announced that Ben Affleck would be writing, directing and starring in the next Batman standalone, the film has been one of the most anticipated upcoming superhero movies. The DC Extended Universe may have had a rough 2016 - both Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were poorly reviewed - but with Affleck (being the widely-regarded best thing from both of those films) leading the way, it looked like DC and Warner Bros. may be able to turn that perception around.
Of course, DC films are always the subject of massive speculation and controversy, so it was never going to be as plain sailing as that. The recent release of Affleck's Live By Night has provided a lot of interview time for the star that's led to The Batman (if it is indeed called that) being put under the microscope. Following his comments that "it's not a set thing and there’s no script", there was a lot of chatter that the film was in dire trouble and Affleck might even drop out as director. Affleck has been quick to hit back on that, decrying the coverage and explaining his hectic schedule.
Following up on the whole affair, Affleck has spoken to Entertainment Tonight Canada (via DCEU Fans) about the stress of the whole thing and given some vague but promising insight into the film's ideological goals:
"Oh my God, it's such a pain in the ass. It's like every time I mention Batman it gets this huge clickbait. When I was doing this movie it took me two years to get it together, but nobody ever asked me 'where's Live By Night?' You know? They ask me 'Batman, Batman, Batman.' Batman's coming along, it's going to be great. We're going to make something really special. We're going to take the time to make it right. We're going to do it good. We're going to do it the right way. And the fans are going to love it."
It's hard to not feel Affleck's frustration. Putting aside the inevitable stress of Live By Night's release not going all that well, the publicity push has been dogged by questions about his next movie and his honest answers being twisted into inferred production troubles. Taking the quotes at face value, yes, there's clearly some delays, but putting it in the context of a filmmaker juggling the releases of several directing and acting projects and an emerging franchise trying to balance a heavy slate it makes perfect sense - Affleck is simply taking his time. DCEU movies have been plagued by rumours of production issues before, so Affleck's approach is to be commended here.
This is all really a result of the sped-up production cycles that we've grown accustomed to; superhero franchises are delivering multiple movies a year, so any perceived delay could have a major knock-on effect and is taken as cause for panic. However, there's never been a set release date (or even an official announcement from the studio) for The Batman and it's not like we're light on Caped Crusader action in the meantime; Affleck's Batman was in two 2016 movies (one that was out less than six months ago) and will be a leading player in Justice League this year too.
In other words: it sounds like things are still slowly coming together on Affleck's Batman solo outing. If Affleck taking more time to refine the script leads to a better film, then everyone wins.
Source: Entertainment Tonight Canada (via DCEU Fans)
- Wonder Woman (2017) release date: Jun 02, 2017
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Cyborg (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020