The DC Extended Universe Batman solo film (tentatively known as The Batman), has been through a pretty turbulent year, with star Ben Affleck dropping out of the director's chair, amidst rumors of development troubles with Warner Bros.
War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves is stepping in to helm The Batman, and he has made it abundantly clear in recent days that he will be making his version of a Batman movie, and that his vision will be a totally fresh take from what Affleck and DC Films head Geoff Johns had conceived with their initial version of The Batman script.
However, many elements of The Batman were already put in place before Reeves came along, including some new characters that would be introduced, and some connections to the larger DC Extended Universe that Johns and Affleck had envisioned. So, the question now is: How Will Matt Reeves New Batman Script Affect The DCEU?
With all the turmoil surrounding The Batman earlier this year, rumors began to swirl that star Ben Affleck was becoming frustrated with his role in the DCEU.
It was said that Affleck was tired of everything from creative struggles with Warner Bros. to the never ending flood of questions, rumors, and speculation surrounding his Batman role and directorial choices. When Affleck dropped out of the director's chair, even more rumor began to swirl: was this simply the first step to Affleck eventually dropping out of the Batman role altogether?
Of course, rumors are just that: rumors. Affleck always maintained that he's still playing Batman, and Reeves recently confirmed the same, saying: "Right now, that’s what is going on. For sure."
One of the most anticipated elements of The Batman's storyline was seeing The Dark Knight take on a rumored lineup of villains from his rogues gallery - especially the new addition of True Blood star Joe Manganiello, as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke.
However, with this new 'start from scratch' approach Matt Reeves is taking, it's become very unclear whether Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke is still a part of The Batman's story. Back in the spring, the actor actually went on record to express his uncertainty about where things stand, saying, "Umm. Maybe. We’ll see,” when asked if he'd still be in The Batman. He has since joined Dwayne Johnson's Rampage movie, leading many to believe he's moving on from his hopes of joining the DCEU.
Deathstroke has long been a fan-favorite anti-hero/villain of the DC Universe, and he gained a lot of prominence and exposure in recent years, thanks to things like DC Comics reboots, and DC TV universe series like Arrow. Manganiello was also one bit of DCEU casting that fans were overwhelmingly happy about, so losing him would be a major letdown.
One reason that many fans were excited to see Ben Affleck taking charge both in front of and behind the camera was because the actor/writer/director had carved out a lane for himself as both a critically acclaimed and financially successful director, who specialized in telling gritty crime thriller stories (The Town, Argo), which featured some pulse-pounding action.
Since Reeves has come onboard, fans have been wondering how the War for the Planet of the Apes director would approach The Batman from a tonal standpoint. Reeves himself has steadily affirming his planned approach to the film in press interviews, stating that he sees The Batman as a potential Noir detective story, which keeps things focused on the perspective of the main character. As he said in a recent interview:
“What I see in Batman that I find so interesting is that, in a way, he reminds me of Caesar, in that he is a character with a really troubled past who is grappling within himself to try to do the right thing in a really imperfect world, in a corrupt world,” Reeves said. “That provides an opportunity, again, if you want to take that point-of-view storytelling — and I can imagine the story as being like a noir. The originals from the golden age were detective stories. I think if you can marry that with the personal, there’s a chance to do something very exciting.”
Reeves has also made reference to influences like Alfred Hitchcock shaping his vision of The Batman; all in all, his take has been generally well-regarded by fans, who remember that the director's experience on films like Let Me In and the latter two chapters of the current Apes trilogy have all been darkly lavish and visually stunning character studies that would work well in a Batman context.
One big question that must be asked at this point is this: with his desire to do a more personalized and character-focused Batman story, just how deeply is Reeves willing to connect The Batman to the larger DCEU universe?
Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck were deeply woven into the fabric of the DCEU, as Johns has been heading up development of the cinematic universe from the start - and much more actively after the difficulties of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad - while Affleck is on the ground level of it, as an actor as well as an architect.
Reeves is coming from an outside position, and its unclear what the push-pull will be with Warner Bros. and DC Films regarding the obligation to include characters and potential setups that benefit the DCEU as a whole. Fans are hoping The Batman doesn't end up too isolated (like Nolan's films), or too weighed down with awkward and extraneous DCEU obligations (like Batman V Superman). There are definitely ways to balance larger connections with a more self-contained and focused storyline - see Marvel's Spider-Man: Homecoming for a great example.
As stated, it was originally rumored that The Batman script that Affleck and Johns came up with would feature multiple iconic villains, including Deathstroke, The Joker, and The Scarecrow. With Reeves now starting from scratch, no one knows what villain - or villains he may have in mind for the film.
Actor Josh Gad has been steadily teasing that he could be playing the DCEU version of The Penguin - so is there any truth to that? According to Reeves: "No, no, no."
Even Gad himself has admitted that, "...there’s no there there. The Internet just goes wild. I’m just having some fun putting things out there.”
No matter which villains Reeves includes in his script - or who plays them - there are plenty of Batman storylines that keep things personal and focused on the Caped Crusader, while still including a nice colorful lineup of villains. "Hush" is one such storyline that hits all the marks being laid out by Reeves, in that it is, at once, a detective Noir story; a very personal story focused on both the Batman and Bruce Wayne sides of the cowl; and features an extensive lineup of Batman villains, DC Comics superheroes - as well as a compelling new villain (Hush) who is personally connected to Bruce Wayne.
Whether Reeves is interested in a "Hush" adaptation or not, the point remains the same: we can get great Batman movie with multiple villains, without sacrificing quality.
More Batman News
- The Batman Is Getting a New Script
- New Batman Director Has A New Idea for the Movie
- Ben Affleck Is Still Playing Batman
- There Will Be 3 - 4 DCEU Movies Every Year
- New DCEU Characters Revealed
- Dark New Batman Fan Poster
- Bloody New Joker Fan Poster
- Will Batman Get His Classic Costume in the Next Movie?
You can next catch Ben Affleck's Batman in the Justice League movie, which hits theaters on November 17, 2017. Justice League currently has a 4.16 out of 5 on ComicBook.com's anticipation rankings. The full synopsis can be found below.
In Justice League, fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired bySuperman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder, from a screenplay by Chris Terrio, and features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck (Batman), Henry Cavill(Superman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ezra Miller (The Flash), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Ciarán Hinds (Steppenwolf), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth), J.K. Simmons (Commissioner Gordon), Amber Heard (Mera), Kiersey Clemons (Iris West) and Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor).