Whether or not Ben Affleck is Batman, the character's titular film The Batman may not be reliant on the rest of the DC Extended Universe.
Despite Warner Bros. launching a connected cinematic universe for its Justice League characters to co-exist and intersect, it appears a new direction for those heroes will be one which offers standalone universes and stories where the continuity of each may not affect the others. In a recent interview, The Batman director Matt Reeves revealed he was pitched on the standalone film as it being an isolated approach to Gotham's Dark Knight.
"When they approached me, what they said was, 'Look, it’s a standalone. This isn’t part of the Extended Universe,'" Reeves said on The Business podcast in July.
For Reeves, it's all about being able to tell his own story with the film. "I am also totally fine not doing Batman. It's not like I want to do any version of Batman. I want to do my version of Batman and if that's exciting to them, which so far everything we've talked about is, then that's incredibly exciting because it means, 'Wow! We're gonna do something we're all excited about!'"
"If they're not, that's completely their perogative," Reeves said. "This is their franchise. They own the characters. They're going to spend a tremendous amount of money. I'm not asking anyone to do what they don't want to do."
Reeves is looking to take a personal approach to the film which, he is making clear, will require complete creative control and won't be forced to become a piece of the greater DC Extended Universe puzzle.
"Look, I'm just starting Batman because literally, [War for the Planet of the Apes], as I just said, we finished about a week ago and now we're publicizing it," Reeves told ComicBook.com in June. "So, we haven't even begun on Batman. For me, what's always important is to try and find a personal way in. In that way, I do feel like I relate to actors. It's about understanding emotionally, the way something is. I see this parallel between Caesar and Batman, really, which is this idea of these characters who are grappling with their own struggle and trying to do the right thing in an imperfect world and, so, I do really relate it to that kind of idea."
On Tuesday, the ground nearly shook when Deadline revealed a standalone Joker origin story film was on the way. It was the first news of DC Films and Warner Bros. introducing stories which exist in their own worlds outside of the DC Extended Universe, coming complete with a new actor in the titular Batman nemesis role who is not Jared Leto.
According to Deadline's initial report about the Joker origin movie, "This will be the first film under a new banner that has yet to be named in which WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters."
Speculation looking back on Reeves' comments paired with the Joker film in separate universe points to The Batman film existing in a similar, isolated world. However, based on Ben Affleck's comments regarding his continued role in the film as recently as San Diego Comic Con in July, it appears Reeves' storytelling choices merely won't be restricted to fitting in and the isolation won't be as drastic.
Though there is a hefty amount of question marks regarding Affleck's future as Batman following his debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as it stands most recently -- Affleck will be the caped crusader in Reeves' film which follows his third appearance in the part coming in November's Justice League.
At San Diego Comic-Con in July, Affleck took the stage in Hall H to completely shoot down any doubt.
"Batman is the coolest f*cking part in any universe - DC, Marvel - it's incredible, and I'm so thrilled to do it," Affleck said. "I know there's this misconception that because I didn't direct it I wasn't enthusiastic about it; it's f*cking amazing... and with Matt Reeves doing it, it's like I'd be a f*cking ape on the ground for Matt Reeves - nevermind being Batman! It's incredible! So I'm really blown away and excited and it's a great time in the DC Universe. You're going to see some stuff from Justice League that we're really really proud of, and I'll think you'll see why I'm really excited to be Batman."