There are a few uncertainties facing the future of the DC Extended Universe at Warner Bros. One thing we can be certain of though is that Ben Affleck and his take on Bruce Wayne/Batman is here to stay. Now, all eyes are on the next solo Batman movie, which was once riding entirely on the shoulders of Ben Affleck, but know has a new director and creative direction in place
When it was initially announced that Ben Affleck would be taking on the role of Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice more than three years ago, to say that fans were less than open to the idea would be a dramatic understatement. While the movie wasn't what many fans and critics wanted it to be, it is still the highest grossing movie of Ben Affleck's career according to Box Office Mojo, but more importantly, people loved him as Batman.
Given the positive response to Batfleck, Warner Bros. is doubling down and resting a lot of the fate of the DCEU on his back. His version of the character will next be seen in Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon's Justice League, but what really has fans excited is the solo Batman movie that Ben Affleck is going to be starring in at some point in the near future. It has been four years since we last saw a Batman solo adventure in the form of The Dark Knight Rises and there is an eagerness to see what Ben Affleck can do with the character in a movie not being directed by Zack Snyder.
While Warner Bros. struck gold with Wonder Woman, they still harbor high hopes for The Flash and another Man of Steel movie in addition to the very profitable Suicide Squad. There is no doubt that the most bankable hero they have to work with is Batman. To date, movies featuring Batman have brought in $4.59 billion at the box office and the character has had a presence in every single era of comic book movies. At the moment, the definitive take on Batman came in the form of Christopher Nolan's trilogy, which had its crowning moment with The Dark Knight in 2008. With a little help, Ben Affleck and new director Matt Reeves will hopefully carve out a unique place in the cinematic history of Batman.
Even though the movie was only recently officially announced by Warner Bros., we actually know more than you may think about what Ben Affleck and Matt Reeves is planning. Can Affleck's first solo adventure as The Dark Knight be exactly what the DCEU needs moving forward? It very well could be. Here is what we know about Ben Affleck and Matt Reeves' upcoming The Batman.
The Title is The Batman
Sometimes simple is better. Why overcomplicate something if there is no need (like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice for example) when there is a simple answer or solution. That seems to be what Ben Affleck was thinking when he announced that the title for his solo Batman movie will simply be The Batman. While some may think that is lame, it actually makes quite a bit of sense as we often hear criminals, like in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, refer to the character as The Batman. It fits. Ben Affleck had this to say about it in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
"The movie I think is going to be called The Batman. At least that's what we're going with right now. I might change it. That's about all I got right now. We're working on the script, the script is going well, I'm really excited about it. I assure you that when anything develops, you'll hear about it."
We saw an old, seasoned veteran version of Batman in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, so there is no reason to think we won't be seeing the same thing in The Batman. That is why the title makes sense. The idea of what Batman is will have already been formed within the universe. Granted, Ben Affleck did leave some room in there to change it down the line, but for right now, this is the title we should be expecting.
Matt Reeves is Directing
When this stand-alone movie was initially announced, Ben Affleck was supposed to star in, co-write and direct The Batman. That idea had fans very excited, but eventually it clearly became too much and Affleck, in part possibly because of some personal issues, decided to take a step back and leave the director's chair. There was initially some cause for concern, but those concerns were all but extinguished when it was announced that Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes, Cloverfield) is the one taking over directing duties on the first solo Batman movie in the DCEU. Despite the drama that surrounded the movie prior, the idea of a Matt Reeves directed Batman movie is truly an exciting prospect and it could work for the better. Affleck will be able to focus on his performance and won't be stretching himself too thin. Matt Reeves can do what he does best and direct this thing.
Deathstroke is the Main Villain...Maybe?
Say what you will about the movies in the DCEU so far, but Warner Bros. and the creative teams working on these movies have quite the knack for a cool reveal. Such was the case with Ben Affleck revealing Deathstroke to the world. He posted a video to his Twitter of the character in full costume on set walking around very imposingly. At the time it was unclear exactly what that meant, but we now know that Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke is intended be the main villain in The Batman.
After it came to light that Batman was going to be squaring off with the legendary mercenary known as Deathstroke in the movie, it was revealed that True Blood star Joe Manganiello had been tapped to play the character. It was once highly suspected that Deathstroke would first appear in Justice League before going toe-to-toe with Batfleck in The Batman, but that has yet to be confirmed. Joe Manganiello once posted a massive stack of Deathstroke comic books to his Twitter account to show that he was doing his research and taking the role quite seriously. We have never seen a live-action version of Deathstroke before on the big screen, so this is something that could be potentially very cool and exciting for DC Comics fans. Deathstroke did appear in several episodes of the hit CW series Arrow, played by Manu Bennett. He's also been seen on the small screen in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as well as Smallville.
Even though all of this still holds true, once Matt Reeves took over as director, it became a little less clear what direction the movie is going in. Joe Manganiello originally believed he'd be shooting The Batman in the early half of 2017. That didn't come to pass, as Reeves' finished his War for the Planet of the Apes duties. While Joe Manganiello is still attached as Deathstroke, the actor himself has cast doubt if this will still happen. And in the months since, Josh Gad has heavily teased that he may show up as The Penguin. Though, there is nothing that says Deathstroke and Penguin can't team up together.
Geoff Johns & Ben Affleck co-wrote the story, with multiple rewrites happening since.
Comic book writer turned movie executive Geoff Johns was recently put in charge of the DC Extended Universe for Warner Bros. and he has taken a very hands-on approach to the job so far. That being the case, he appears to be very involved in the development of The Batman alongside Ben Affleck. The pair had been working on the script for the movie together for quite some time, which is another thing that should inspire confidence in fans. Ben Affleck won his first Oscar for screenwriting and has had a hand in writing all of his other movies (with the exception of Argo). As for Geoff Johns? He has a deep understanding of the character from his days writing for DC Comics and he has written tons of beloved storylines, including the recent Rebirth line. So, with the pair working together, it feels like the script at least is in very good hands and that Geoff Johns seems to understand how important this project is for the DCEU. But their take on the material won't be the completed draft going in front of cameras.
It is pretty standard practice for big movies to have several drafts and various writers do work on them, but The Batman has been through the ringer. As mentioned, Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns co-wrote the initial draft. Warner Bros. and everyone involved at the time weren't totally satisfied, so Argo writer Chris Terrio, who has worked with Affleck several times in the past, was brought in to do a pass on it. The studio was reportedly very happy with that take at the time, but we are going to get some more changes. With Matt Reeves coming on board, he is going to get his say and things are going to change. What those changes will be have yet to be revealed, but expect the Chris Terrio version of The Batman to shift a bit. This could mean that Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke will play a smaller role than initially anticipated, but that has yet to be confirmed.
The Batman Will be Influenced by Alfred Hitchcock
For as much as people love Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, there are still some things that could be improved upon. Namely, we didn't see Batman get to do a whole lot of detective work. Given that he is the "world's greatest detective," it would be nice to see more of that on screen. Luckily, Matt Reeves wants to do just that. He has said that he wants to do "noir driven, detective version of Batman that is point-of-view driven." He also name-dropped Alfred Hitchcock as a major influence, which is a pretty interesting thing to infuse a Batman movie with. So expect this to be a pretty different take on Batman.
J.K. Simmons is Commissioner Gordon
For the most part, despite quite a few other perceived problems with the DCEU thus far, the creatives behind the projects have largely nailed it when it comes to casting. Granted, there are some exceptions, like perhaps Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and depending on your perspective, Jared Leto as The Joker. Given that they have largely got things right with respect to casting, J.K. Simmons being cast as Commissioner Gordon seems pretty perfect. We haven't seen our new Jim Gordon in action yet, but we have seen a picture of him in Justice League, which looked pretty great. Not only that, but J.K. Simmons as an actor is pretty hard to argue with. He won an Oscar for his work in Whiplash, not to mention his portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy being about as perfect as it gets. You can't do a Batman movie without Jim Gordon, and having J.K. Simmons play him in The Batman should help elevate the movie.
Jeremy Irons is Alfred
Fans and critics had a great many problems with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but for the most part, Jeremy Irons as Alfred was not one of them. Much in the way that it would be seemingly impossible to do a Batman movie without Commissioner Gordon, it would seem baffling to do The Batman without Alfred. So, we can safely assume that Jeremy Irons will be returning to the movie, though it hasn't been officially confirmed just yet. After Christopher Nolan cast Michael Caine in his Batman trilogy, it was pretty difficult to imagine anyone else taking on the role. However, Jeremy Irons very much made it his own and wound up being one of the highlights of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Having him assisting Ben Affleck as Batman in the movie and getting to see them interact some more is something we should definitely look forward to. Hopefully, without having to deal with Superman and the Martha situation, Alfred in The Batman can be even better than what we have already seen.
It is at least partially set inside Arkham Asylum
Thanks in part to the popular video game series, Arkham Asylum has become one of the most iconic locations in all of Batman lore. However, it's been a while since we saw the famed home for Gotham City criminals and crazies in a live-action Batman movie. It did show up on screen in Batman Begins, where it played a key role. The institute was also seen in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. While we don't know for sure if it will be the main location in The Batman, there have been very persistent rumors and reports that Arkham Asylum will indeed be a fixture of the movie. No doubt, this is a very exciting possibility and something that could wind up being unreasonably cool for Batman fans. As for how Arkham Asylum will actually factor into The Batman? We don't totally know yet, but just the fact that it will be in the movie at all is pretty great.
Expect More Than One Iconic Batman Villain
We know that Deathstroke is going to be the main villain (probably) in The Batman, but that doesn't mean he will be the only villain featured in the movie. Multiple reports have teased that Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck intend to include multiple villains from Batman's rogues gallery, which would actually make sense given that Arkham Asylum will be featured in the movie . While we don't know how many, or exactly which bad guys will be included or how much screen time they will have, we can bet Deathstroke won't be the only famous Gotham bad guy (or girl) in The Batman. The most obvious inclusion would be Jared Leto as The Joker, given that he only had a few minutes of screentime in Suicide Squad and that he is easily the most iconic Batman villain of all-time. In any case be ready for a whole lot of villainy in this movie.
When Will a Trailer for The Batman arrive?
Since The Batman hasn't even started shooting yet, any footage is going to be a ways off. At best, the movie will begin shooting at the end of this year, but probably in early 2018. However, that does put us in position to possibly see the first teaser trailer for The Batman to arrive during San Diego Comic-Con 2018. Since Warner Bros. will only be releasing Aquaman, as far as the DCEU is concerned, in 2018, they will want to do everything they can to make an impression. Showing some Batman footage would be a good way to do that, but just don't expect to see a lick of footage until next year.
The Release Date
At the moment, we don't have a specific release date, but once Matt Reeves came on as director, the process slowed down quite a bit. Warner Bros. CEO Jeff Bewkes said in an interview that Ben Affleck}'s Batman movie was about a year and a half away. Assuming that was true, The Batman would hit in the Spring of 2018. While that might have been possible at one time, that seems highly unlikely now, as Reeves, Affleck and the team won't even be ready to shoot until the end of 2017 or the early months of 2018. Still, Warner Bros. wants this movie to happen sooner rather than later. In all likelihood, The Batman will hit theaters in the summer of 2019, all fingers crossed.
While the DCEU has had some problems, there is almost no doubt the talent involved with The Batman is encouraging. We will have to see if Ben Affleck can pull it off, or if he will get overwhelmed with so much to do. We will be sure to keep you up to date as more details on The Batman become available.