One of these days I’ll write an article about only good things happening in the DCEU, but it is not this day. Recently, Ben Affleck stepped down as director of the first DCEU Batman solo film, simply titled The Batman. I thought it was a sound idea, because directing a nine-figure action movie, plus acting in it, is probably too much for any actor/director.
At least his screenplay was still in play, even though Chris Terrio was brought on to do a pass on it. That’s alright, I thought, as the screenwriter worked both on Affleck’s Argo as well as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. No problem. They’ve collaborated before, and he knows the material.
Forbes, however, is reporting that Terrio may not be polishing the screenplay at all. He may have been hired to do a page-one rewrite. Here’s what the outlet reported:
“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.”
Warner Bros. has three financially successful DCEU films out (Man of Steel, Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad), but all of them have mixed reviews at best. All the news and rumors behind the scenes continue to indicate that the whole shared universe idea was rushed and not properly thought out.
Forbes has even speculated that Ben Affleck is quietly trying to exit from his role as Batman. He was one of the bright spots in Batman v Superman, and Warners has cast the DCEU really well, so it would be a big blow to see him go. My knee-jerk reaction is that Affleck isn’t going anywhere on the acting side, but considering how much this project is falling apart, I can’t rule that out anymore. He is, however, starring in Justice League, along with executive producing it.
The outlet also reported a few possible details for what was in Affleck’s script. According to Forbes’ Mark Hughes, the main antagonist would have been Deathstroke, but there would be other villains in the film, including Jared Leto’s Joker. I do wonder if that was based on a previous rumor that pegged Will Smith’s Deadshot and Leto’s Joker as the main villains, in a Batman film inspired by Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I still like that idea, to be honest.
So can I find any silver lining in here? Sure, I can. It is possible Warner Bros. is really trying to right their DC universe ship, and Affleck’s screenplay wasn’t good enough. They learned their lessons about rushing. Warners is in definite damage control at the moment from the mess Zack Snyder has made out of the DCEU (and his Justice League doesn’t open until November). The studio really needs a small group of people steering this universe in order to really compete with the likes of Marvel.