Warner Bros. Has Found Their New ‘The Batman’ Director

There’s a new Batman director in town, and his name isn’t Ben Affleck.

The actor who currently dons the cape and cowl was courted early on by Warner Bros. to direct a solo Batman movie, reportedly called The Batman. It was a project that seemed to fit Affleck’s directorial style, since he has built his career behind the camera on stories about crime and intrigue, in films like Gone Baby GoneThe Town and Argo. Fans were excited, and understandably so.

Then last year hit like a ton of bricks. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice made money but wasn’t the blockbuster sensation that Warner Bros. expected it to be. The film that would serve as the basis for the studio’s “DC Extended Universe” (DCEU) was widely criticized for its aggravated take on the characters, and many fans became worried about the tone that was being set for the franchise. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck’s ambitious crime epic Live By Night failed to meet expectations as well, and The Batman was being fast-tracked.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

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It was a perfect storm that led, unsurprisingly, to Ben Affleck backing away from the project. He’s still playing the caped crusader in The Batman (at least, as far as we know), but he backed away from the director’s chair. And since the timeline for these movies appeared to be a big part of the reason why Ben Affleck couldn’t commit to both gigs simultaneously, it only makes sense that Warner Bros. would rush to fill that void. And they did.

Just two weeks after Ben Affleck’s announcement, Variety reports that Warner Bros. is in talks with Matt Reeves to replace him as the director of The Batman. Matt Reeves has a successful history of taking over pre-existing hit franchises, having directed the acclaimed blockbuster sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and its highly-anticipated follow-up, War of the Planet of the Apes, due out in theaters this summer.

 

Warner Bros. seems to be looking for a team player at this point, since Matt Reeves will probably have relatively limited creative control over the project. He won’t be creating his own version of the character, since Zack Snyder already did that in Batman v Superman, and it seems for now that he’ll be working with the screenplay that Ben Affleck was co-writing with Geoff Johns.

The studio’s plans for their superhero movies have shifted somewhat, with various filmmakers leaving various projects, and ambitious two-part movies like Justice League getting chopped down to more manageable single-part installments. We’ll see if more changes are coming down the road for the DCEU. Right now, at least, it seems as though anything could happen. For better or worse.

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Top Photo: Warner Bros.

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.