Matt Reeves Ditches Ben Affleck’s ‘Batman’ Script
If you’re excited for another Batman movie, you might have mixed feelings today. Matt Reeves, whose latest sci-fi epic War for the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters this weekend, has revealed that he will make the upcoming superhero movie his own… by throwing out the current screenplay, which doesn’t make it sound like the movie will come out any sooner.
Speaking to MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, Matt Reeves was very direct about his plans to throw out the current draft of the screenplay, co-written by Ben Affleck and DC’s Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns.
“It’s a new story,“ he explains, when asked whether he will use Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns’ screenplay. “It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool.”
A new Batman solo movie is, understandably, a priority for Warner Bros., who have been producing popular and lucrative films about The Dark Knight for decades. Ben Affleck, who currently plays Batman in the DC Extended Universe movies, was also set to direct and produce the feature, but he vacated that position in January. Warner Bros. was quick to find a replacement, with Matt Reeves taking over the position just two weeks later.
Ben Affleck’s version of the screenplay would have featured Batman going up against the DC supervillain Deathstroke, who would have been played by Joe Manganiello (True Blood). But with Reeves starting over completely from scratch, there’s no guarantee that Deathstroke will still be featured in the screenplay. Indeed, there’s no guarantee that Ben Affleck will even return as Batman at all, since his contract doesn’t extend forever, and he’s already set to appear in the next two Justice League movies.
Time will tell whether Matt Reeves will have the creative freedom to introduce his own version of Batman, or whether – even with his own, new screenplay – he will be hamstrung by fealty to the version of the character that already exists in the DC Extended Universe. In any case, the filmmaker has a great track record of joining pre-existing franchises, adapting to the house style and directing acclaimed follow-ups. That’s what he’s been doing with the Planet of the Apes movies, anyway.
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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.