Fans were left crushed when Ben Affleck dropped out of the DCEU’s version of The Batman, which would have seen the two-time Academy Award winner co-write, direct, star and executive produce in a standalone superhero blockbuster. Affleck may be setting a live-action record when he makes his fourth appearance as the Dark Knight in The Flash next year, but it’s a sense of bitter regret that none of them include a solo movie.
Once the actor had temporarily retired from the cape and cowl, the rumor mill shot into overdrive over his potential replacement behind the camera. While the Planet of the Apes trilogy’s Matt Reeves was always viewed as being at the head of the pack, several other interesting candidates were mentioned at various points as Warner Bros. whittled down the shortlist.
Captain Fantastic‘s Matt Ross, Warrior‘s Gavin O’Connor, The Evil Dead remake’s Fede Álvarez, Mad Max creator George Miller, Ridley Scott and Blade Runner 2049‘s Denis Villenueve all found themselves as part of the speculation before Reeves ultimately landed the gig.
In a recent interview with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Villenueve was asked if he was approached to direct The Batman, and he artfully dodged the question.
“To be honest with you, I sometimes have a very bad memory, but I don’t remember being approached for Batman. I think that I probably knew I’d still be busy doing Dune.”
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A fan of the character would surely remember whether they’d been asked to direct a reboot, but Villenueve persevered with Dune and Reeves nabbed The Batman, which hopefully works out for both them and us in the long run.