Forbes contributor Mark Hughes dropped a huge bomb as he is claiming WB is sending the highly anticipated and much talked about The Batman movie back to the Batcave for a complete overhaul. What does that mean exactly? In the article Hughes claims that due to Ben Affleck’s departure from the director’s chair and the likely hood that Warner Bros. will be bringing in another big name to helm the film, the studio is likely going to throw out any work they have done on the movie thus far. This includes a script written by Geoff Johns, Ben Affleck and Chris Terrio, which was said to feature Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke as the main villain along with appearances from other notable Batman villains including his arch nemesis The Joker.
The article goes on a long winded explanation about WB’s reasoning behind the major shake up, and why Affleck likely left the directing chair, feel free to read the entire thing HERE but I will try and break down its main points.
Like many of us the article speculates that Affleck decided not to direct the project due to an increasing heck work schedule and pressure from the studio to keep the Batman train moving. It’s been obvious from interviews during his Live By Night press tour that Affleck was becoming increasingly frustrated with the project and the constant siege of questions about the films progress. Couple this with the fact the his pet project Live By Night, another movie of which he stars and directs, was not as well received as he had hoped, thus maybe souring him on the fact that taking on multiple duties on a film may lessen the product as opposed to strengthen it. And I think we can all get behind that, obviously we as fans want The Batman to be the best movie it can be and if Affleck doesn’t think he can create that while spinning so many plates, I admire his decision to step down and let another director take the lead.
So here is the good news, it appears that Warner Bros. also realizes that rushing a Batman movie may not be in their best interest especially considering the pour reception the DCEU has received overall thus far, and maybe the right move is to concentrate on the plethora of other movies (Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman, Gotham City Sirens, Cyborg) they have already announced and are in production before tackling The Bat. Personally I can definitely get behind that and support their decision to put The Batman on the back burner, find a new director and allow them to develop their vision from the ground up, including a new script. Rumor is WB is eyeing Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) to rake the reigns and steer the Batmobile back in the right direction.
I actually really love an idea brought up on a recent Fatman on Batman with Kevin Smith and Mark Bernardin in which they pitch an idea for a 35 million dollar small, grounded, gritty Batman film that in all honestly would be a home run no matter what for WB. I mean image an indie level Batman movie, directed by Matt Reeves, in which our hero is one on one vs. the mean streets of Gotham and its villains. Batman has always been about the street level threat and doesn’t need some giant world ending story line to captivate an audience. Give Reeves a small budget and let him go nuts, WB literally has nothing to lose as its entirely possible to create a small, engaging Batman film and there is no way in hell they won’t make their money back.
Now the bad news. While you can look at the bright side of all this juggling at DC, it is obviously a sign that they have no clue what they are doing. We all thought, myself included that Geoff Johns would come in and implant some grand vision and start building a DCEU that fans and the general public would grow to love and admire. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case yet, and instead directors are departing, scripts are being thrown out and early buzz on Wonder Woman and Justice League have been everything but positive. Affleck’s departure from the directors chair of could be another omen for the DCEU as it could be a sign that he is moving away from the project all together and doesn’t like what he has seen of Justice League or the future of the DCEU. Granted this is a stretch but none the less its telling that Affleck’s excitement for the project has slowly degraded as time goes on.
If I were a Warner Bros. executive I would be panicking. Outside of a faction of fans, Snyder’s Batman v Superman and Ayer’s Suicide Squad were not well received films or at least as not well received as they should have been and while Wonder Woman and Justice League still have hope, Aquaman, Cyborg and Gotham City Sirens don’t feel like films the general public are dying to see or even know exist and while Marvel made their C list characters into mega stars, I don’t know if DC has the know how or time to do the same. No one wants the DCEU to succeed more than I do, I have been reading DC Comics sense I first picked up The Death of Superman in a Costco mega bundle, but nothing about what is going on behind close doors is instilling in confidence in me that WB and DC Comics can right this ship and give Marvel a run for their money. Rumors and speculation aside only time will tell and here is hoping someone over their is listening and we get the DC movies we deserve and not the ones we need.