At long last, we’re now just a couple of weeks away from The Batman opening in theaters, delivering Robert Pattinson’s debut as DC’s Dark Knight. But the project didn’t start out with the former Twilight actor in the lead. The original iteration of The Batman was set to feature Ben Affleck in a triple-threat role of writer, actor, and director, before the Justice League star elected to step away from the DCEU and hand his cowl to Pattinson.
Affleck’s The Batman is destined to go down as one of those legendary unmade superhero movies, with fans ever curious about what it would’ve been like. Well, director Matt Reeves has now shed some fascinating light on Affleck’s vision and how it differed from his own. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly as part of its extensive cover story coverage on the upcoming movie, Reeves recalled how he came to take over the director’s chair from Affleck.
When he hopped aboard, Reeves inherited a script from Affleck, Geoff Johns (Wonder Woman), and Chris Terrio (Batman v Superman). The filmmaker described it as an “action-based James Bondian” film which would’ve been “intimately” connected to the DCEU via cameos from “other big superheroes.” Reeves, however, elected to start from scratch and provide his own screenplay.
As he explained:
“It was a totally valid take on the story. I just felt that I was not going to be their guy because having read it, I thought, ‘Wow, I don’t know if I can find my emotional way into this version.’ Not to say it wasn’t good, but I wouldn’t have known where to put the camera, what to tell the actors because I have to find some way to make it personal to me.”
Luckily for Reeves, Warner Bros. had faith in his creative instincts and allowed him to completely retool it as he saw fit, which included cutting all ties to the wider franchise. Ultimately, that ended up working out for the best as Reeves is now planning for The Batman to be the first chapter in what he calls his “Batverse”, a whole new cross-media subfranchise.
Still, a lot of Batfleck fans out there lament the loss of the original version of the movie, which could’ve been a true extension of the Snyderverse. At least The Batman we’re about to get looks like a must-see in its own way. Don’t miss it in cinemas from March 4.