Variety dropped a bombshell on the nerd community yesterday with the news that Ben Affleck will no longer be directing The Batman film. The statement in the article from Variety makes it sound like everything is great with Affleck and the studio. Affleck states in the article that he wants to just focus more acting in the movie. This doesn’t really make sense, since Affleck has turned in two fantastic performances in two great movies which he directed. Argo and The Town are two wonderful movies and he did everything for those films. Affleck can direct and act in the same film with no issues, and him backing out, regardless of what the article in Variety states, sends up warning flairs.
To start off, maybe Affleck really does just want to focus on acting and producing the film, or maybe he has something going on personally which makes him not want to direct. This could be the case, but to this sounds like WB is trying to mettle in what Affleck wants to do with the film. With the news of the The Flash getting a page one rewrite and so many other off shoot films being announced or canceled coming from WB, the studio feels rudderless when it comes to their cinematic universe. This scenario is more than likely the case and Affleck just doesn’t want to direct something which is being meddled with by studio executives.
A more alarming narrative could be that Ben Affleck has seen an early cut of The Justice League and isn’t happy with the result. He is an Executive Producer on Justice League and this gave me hope that he could reign in Snyder on narratives issues. This is highly speculative, but since filming is done he could be worried about how poor the movie has turned out. If he knows the movie is bad and more than likely going to bomb critically he knows there may never even be a Batman film starring him. If Wonder Woman isn’t a hit, and then Justice League isn’t good DC would probably just bite the bullet and start completely over.
This is of course a worst case scenario, but with all of the news about The Flash, and other issues from DC, it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. I hope this isn’t the case, but I can’t help but wonder with how things have been handled at the studio. The rocky start for the DC cinematic universe is strange. WB is a great studio and makes great films, just a few years before Christopher Nolan completed a fantastic Batman trilogy. This also left them falling behind Marvel in having a connected universe, which may have been their first mistake. They shouldn’t have felt the need to catch up. Man of Steel isn’t universally loved, but it is still the best of any DC connected film, and after its release WB seems to be chasing and reacting to issues instead of just making good films. They are trying to play catch up instead of just letting their films be good movies first and then connect them.
I hope if The Batman does happen it gets a great director and has a fantastic story. Hopefully Wonder Woman is great along with Justice League and this becomes a non-story as time goes on. I hope for this, but as it stands right now this doesn’t seem realistic with the news coming out of the studio. Let me know what you think about Ben Affleck not being the director of The Batman. Also do you think this might mean there are issues with Justice League?