Following his debut as the Caped Crusader in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck is looking to extend his role in the DC cinematic universe. Warner Bros. has confirmed that it’s moving forward with the actor’s long-rumored standalone Batman movie. Here’s what we know about the upcoming solo hero flick so far.
1. It’s a collaboration between Affleck and Geoff Johns
In early March, Affleck himself confirmed that he’s working on another project with DC’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. “He and I are working together on something and I really am excited about it,” he told DC All Access.
Though Affleck didn’t elaborate further at the time, most have presumed that the project with Johns is indeed a new Batman film. Affleck and Warner Bros. then officially confirmed the news at this year’s CinemaCon in April.
[Update 10/3/16:] Per The Wrap, Ben Affleck stated that the title of the upcoming movie will likely be ‘The Batman’. However, he also noted that he “might change it.”
2. A script is already written
In late March, it was revealed that an initial script for the solo hero film had already been completed. “There’s a script that he’s written that is a really cool [Batman] idea, so that’s out there as an option,” Patrick Whitesell, co-CEO of Affleck’s talent agency William Morris Endeavor, told The Hollywood Reporter at the time.
Details about what the “really cool idea” might be are still unknown (although there’s already been speculation that Jared Leto’s Joker will be involved).
[Update 5/2/16:] According to a new rumor from Birth. Movies. Death., the upcoming movie won’t feature just one classic Batman villain — it’ll feature many. The report reads, “Many, if not most, members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery will be making appearances in the film. It’s going to be crammed with Bat villains, which means that just about every major bad guy you’ve ever wanted to see in a movie will be in this movie.” Apparently Affleck and Geoff Johns are employing this strategy because they “want to make the definitive Batman film. They want to tell the ultimate Batman story, and to do so they’re going to bring in all the big guns. They’re going to have a big, sprawling Bat universe already in place.” As of now, this is only speculation, so we’ll have to stay tuned to see if the rumor comes to fruition.
[Update 6/3/16:] Affleck has confirmed that his new Batman movie will be mainly an original story, with certain elements borrowed from the comic books. “I think what I would do is, I would probably do in some ways what Zack [Snyder] did with this movie, which is to borrow certain things from great comic books but create an original story around it,” he said in a recent interview with Argentine publication Cines Argentinos. “Because I wouldn’t want fans to already know the story and be familiar, but I would borrow and steal great things that have been done before in the comics.”
[Update 2/9/17:] Per Forbes, the original script is set to undergo major rewrites as the studio looks to fill the director’s chair vacated by Affleck. As the report states, “Word is the project will essentially get a fresh start once a new creative team has been put together.”
will direct [updated]
As suspected, Affleck will direct the standalone movie, in addition to starring. The actor has earned critical acclaim with all of his previous directorial efforts, including Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo (the last of which earned an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Screenplay), so rumors that he could helm his own superhero flick have long been circulating.
Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara made it official at CinemaCon in April, saying that Affleck will direct the movie.
[Update 1/31/17:] Affleck has just announced that he is no longer directing the upcoming solo Batman movie, although he is still attached to star and produce. Affleck released the following statement about his decision, suggesting that he and Warner Bros. agreed this is the best path forward and are now looking for a replacement:
There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.
[Update 2/13/17:] Per Deadline, Matt Reeves has been formally offered the director’s chair for The Batman. Reeves is known for helming Cloverfield, Let Me In and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. [Update 2/23/17:] Warner Bros. has announced that Reeves will be helming the upcoming film.
4. The new villain
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) August 29, 2016
Affleck is teasing fans with footage of the major DC Comics villain, Deathstroke the Terminator. In a tweet sent out in late August, the actor-director revealed a look at the villainous character who is reportedly set to appear in his upcoming solo hero flick. Created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Deathstroke is a mercenary and assassin who first appeared in “The New Teen Titans” #2 back in 1980.
[Update 9/8/16:] In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Johns has confirmed that Joe Manganiello will be playing Deathstroke, as several fans had already guessed after seeing the above footage. He also confirmed that Deathstroke will go head-to-head with Batman in the upcoming solo film, although he declined to reveal whether the villain will also be appearing in DC’s Justice League.
[Update 11/9/16:] Manganiello recently opened up about the tone of the movie, telling the Super Genius podcast:
I think the audience is going to be surprised, because it’s a road that no one’s really gone down that’s completely integral to who Batman is. I think it’s gonna be refreshing, but at the same time completely familiar. But it’s going to take this franchise in a direction that I think a lot of people are going to be really happy about.
It’s going to be gritty and action-packed and cerebral and all of those elements that people love about Batman. Ben’s a great director, man. I mean the last movie that man directed won Best Picture. He’s got an Oscar for writing. Like, this is all the components to go down as a… everything is lined up for a really really really great movie. Not only a superhero movie but just a great, great movie. Which is why, you know, I told him in the room man, when I met him. ‘I should be so lucky, I’d be in great hands to work with you, I love your movies, let’s do this.’
5. When it will premiere
Though the developing Batman movie has yet to be given an official release date, it’s clear that Warner Bros. is making it a high priority. The studio recently reserved the dates of October 5, 2018 and November 1, 2019 for two still unannounced movie, so there’s a possibility the project could nab one of those slots.
For now, Affleck is next set to reprise his role as The Caped Crusader Justice League: Part One, due November 17, 2017.
[Update 10/18/16:] Manganiello recently told Entertainment Tonight that production on the the film is expected to begin in spring of 2017. If that’s the cause, that means audiences can likely expect the movie to open late 2018 or early-to-mid 2019.
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