There are plenty of compelling Batman storylines that can be found these days in DC Comics. But one of the greatest mysteries currently involving the Dark Knight concerns the next time we’ll see him on the big screen.
This week, however, some details were finally revealed regarding Matt Reeves’s new Batman film. Reeves, best known for directing two of the rebooted Planet of the Apes movies, has been working on a script for the project and filming reportedly wasn’t going to begin until he and Warner Brothers believed they had it right.
Apparently, it’s just about there. WB announced on Wednesday (Jan. 30) that The Batman, which was supposedly the working title when Ben Affleck was writing and directing the film, is set for a June 25, 2021 release. (The studio also announced an Aug. 6, 2021 date for a Suicide Squad sequel, and TheWrap is reporting that James Gunn is set to direct.)
But Affleck won’t be playing Batman in this movie. According to Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro, Reeves’s story involves a younger Bruce Wayne, which means the role will be recast. Other outlets, such as Entertainment Tonight, have confirmed that Affleck isn’t wearing the cowl in this one.
Affleck gave his thumbs-up to the project on Twitter, and essentially confirmed the report by not denying that he won’t be returning to the Batman role.
Rumors of recasting Batman have been prevalent for nearly two years, ever since Reeves took over the project. Initially, The Batman was envisioned as an all-Affleck endeavor. He was set to write (with DC’s Geoff Johns), direct and star in the film. While that excited many fans, eager to see the director of Best Picture winner Argo (2012) helm a Batman movie, taking all of those roles on was surely over-ambitious. No one has ever tried to write, direct and be the lead actor of a blockbuster superhero movie before.
Affleck insisted that he and Johns needed to get the script right before production began. But for a variety of personal and professional reasons, he eventually stepped aside as director. Once Reeves was tapped as a replacement, he took over the script as well and set to rewrite it. Soon thereafter, rumors persisted that Affleck was done playing Batman. Whether that was because of the critical beating Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice suffered, the financial failure of Justice League, a growing disinterest in being chained to a franchise superhero role, or all of the above, it seemed like a matter of time before WB announced that a change would be made.
Reeves told The Hollywood Reporter that he has a “noir” detective-style story in mind for his depiction of the Caped Crusader. He also said here will be a Rogues Gallery,” which will open up plenty of guessing as to how many villains Batman will face. (Previous rumors have said that The Penguin will be the main bad guy.)
Until we learn more, the speculation will immediately begin as to who will play Batman next. It’ll be one of the hottest rumors in Hollywood. Let the fun begin. And remember the reaction when Affleck was cast as Batman? The next choice better be ready.