Forbes’ Mark Hughes has an extensive report on what is going on with The Batman which could see not only a new director but possibly a page-one complete rewrite tossing out the script that is said to be behind Affleck stepping down as director.
Also, mentioning that Matt Reeves (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes, War For The Planet of The Apes) is looking like the frontrunner to replace Ben Affleck as the solo film’s director. We recently pointed out that Reeves recently started following Batman co-writer and DC Entertainment head Geoff Johns on Twitter.
As this week’s announcement that Ben Affleck would step down as director of his solo superhero movie The Batman continues to reverberate through Hollywood and fandom, sources confirm the script originally penned by Affleck and Geoff Johns was rewritten by scribe Chris Terrio (whose Argo screenplay won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and who did a page-one rewrite on Batman v Superman), but the project will undergo substantial changes and possible/probably another full rewrite. Warner Bros. is already speaking to several filmmakers about taking over in the director’s chair — including one of my personal longtime favorites to direct a Batman movie, Matt Reeves, who seems to be the frontrunner — and word is the project will essentially get a fresh start once a new creative team has been put together.
That the script would need more rewrites, particularly with a new director joining the picture, was a given. How extensive the process will be — I’m hearing anything from “major rewrites” to “a completely new script,” including starting from scratch on the story if that’s what it takes — is unclear, not just to us but probably to those involved as well, since the new filmmaker might look at the story and script and decide there’s plenty to salvage that appeals to them. Once the director is in place, more will become clear, but for now Warner Bros. is suffering far more negative perceptions than they need to, simply because of the attempt to slow and control the spread of information.
Batman is, of course, a billion dollar franchise and the studio could be nervous that like Batman v Superman it could be a couple hundred million dollars shy of expectations and also earn unwanted critical backlash. Warner Bros. being more cautious and not rushing into production might be a good thing creatively in the long run.
Hiring Reeves would be an extremely smart move on the part of the studio. Due to his contribution to the Planet of The Apes franchise for 20th Century Fox which should ease concerns of Batman fans. If Matt does board the project we expect to see him creatively involved with this potential new script.
Mark also reveals that Jared Leto‘s Joker would indeed have had a role in the film along with reaffirming that Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke was going to be a lead villain.
The story for The Batman originally included the assassin Deathstroke as a main villain, with Joe Manganiello cast in the role, as well as a few other likely villainous appearances by characters including the Joker, according to sources familiar with the project. Jared Leto, who portrayed the Joker in Suicide Squad, has for months expressed his displeasure about the removal of substantial portions of his performance from the final cut of the film, raising questions about whether he would return to the role in future movies. He seems to have softened his stance lately and appears interested in a possible return, but whether he will ultimately be part of The Batman or Gotham City Sirens remains to be seen.
Because of the script issues and director search, we can’t predict when the film will begin shooting as it looks like the script could start from scratch.