It was the ‘will he, won’t he?’ debate that raged online for months, but last night Ben Affleck brought an end to The Batman saga once and for all by announcing that he’s no longer attached to direct.
Citing a desire to deliver “the very best performance [he] can give,” the fact that Affleck has officially vacated the director’s chair has opened up the field for other filmmakers to take his place. Warner Bros. is surely beginning to send the proverbial feelers out already, but according to Forbes, that so-called race has already boiled down to five potential candidates: Matt Reeves, Gavin O’Connor, Denis Villeneuve, Matt Ross and George Miller, who so famously dabbled with the DC universe back in ’09 before his Justice League movie was inevitably canned. Is Miller poised to stage a comeback in the realm of gods and costumed crusaders? Time will tell.
Perhaps the one director most likely to land the gig is Matt Reeves, who was linked with The Batman early on in pre-production. On the other end of the scale, the inclusion of Denis Villeneuve is little more than wishful thinking, considering the Oscar-nominated director has both Blade Runner 2049 and the long-in-development Dune reboot simmering on the back-burner. One filmmaker that’s definitely not in contention though is Kevin Smith, who took to Twitter to rule himself out of proceedings earlier this morning.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) January 31, 2017
In case you missed it, here’s Ben Affleck’s frank statement in full. It’s important to note that he’ll remain on board as producer and lead star of The Batman, but that his decision to step down comes only a few days after Live By Night – another WB project that Affleck wrote, directed and starred in – resulting in a $75 million write-down is surely not coincidental.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”
Originally set to lens sometime this year, the loss of Ben Affleck at the helm will surely push The Batman back further still. Warner never actually announced release plans for the Caped Crusader’s next solo outing, so this isn’t strictly speaking a delay, but fans will no doubt be disappointed by the creative setback nonetheless. Even still, of the alleged candidates in the running, who would you like to see take a crack at Gotham’s Dark Knight? Let us know your thoughts below.