In Gotham City, every time Batman defeats a bad guy, another one appears. Then another, and another. In Gossip City — the sphere of speculation surrounding superhero films and their production, of which this article is admittedly a part of — every time a new rumor arises, another one appears, and another.
Perhaps a symptom of the never fully-quenchable thirst for more of the Caped Crusader, the production of The Batman has been awash with contradicting reports on the state of affairs. Since Ben Affleck announced he wouldn't direct the solo feature, a veil of uncertainty has draped over reports on the future of the film.
Only yesterday, it was reported that drastic changes to the film's script were required. Forbes reporter Mark Hughes explained that sources told him that involved anything from "major rewrites" to "starting from scratch" — an ominous message that logically makes sense following Affleck's departure.
However, when asked on Twitter whether the report of major changes was true, Variety reporter Justin Kroll responded with more "positive" news (depending on how you view a new director picking up the Affleck-penned script):
For all those concerned (or excited) at the prospect of Roland Emmerich taking over as the new director, fear not (or, don't get excited), Kroll is referring to Toby Emmerich, who was appointed President and Chief Content Officer of Warner Bros Pictures Group in December. He'll be working closely with #BenAffleck and the newly appointed director to try and keep #TheBatman on track.
What's Up With 'The Batman'?
Wherever the truth lies, Affleck's half-exit was undoubtedly a blow to the film's production, increasing the heavy weight on Bruce Wayne's shoulders — especially with the #DCEU's fragile history. Although Affleck said it'll free him up to give the "very best performance" he can give, his talent behind the camera will be missed, and his u-turn after months of reassuring fans he was staying put is far from reassuring.
- Shock, Horror! Ben Affleck Is Not Now Directing 'The Batman' — Here Are 6 Directors Who Could
- Holy Smokes! DC Insider Suggests Ben Affleck May Quit Playing Batman, Too
- Original Script For Ben Affleck's 'The Batman' Featured The Joker & Many More Villains — Was It 'Hush'?
Of course, there are plenty of directors who will be happy to step up — at present Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) is linked — but the DCEU's turbulent journey to date, and the restrictions of the wider shared universe, may deter directors of Affleck's ilk. Glass-half-full types could argue the reason Affleck left was because he didn't want the extra responsibility (and marred reputation) if things don't go to plan.
If that is the case, it would also explain worrying reports that the 44-year-old is also thinking about leaving the role of Bruce Wayne behind. #Batman was the highlight of Batman v Superman (2016), and if there are elements of truth in these rumors, Affleck's departure could be a jaw-breaking blow to a franchise currently on the ropes.
Non-Stop Speculation: The Result Of Disappointment
The DCEU has made a disappointing start. Man of Steel (2013) was underwhelming, Batman v Superman overstuffed, and Suicide Squad (2016) was... Suicide Squad. Held up against the shining example of their comic book rival's live-action competition, the MCU, and the gulf in quality and structure is evident.
Looking ahead, it's clear that Warner Bros. desperately need a defining hit, and the pressure will continue to mount until that comes. Although there are glimmers of hope on the horizon, even the most promising films on the DCEU slate are plagued with news of jumbled, uncertain or hurried productions.
Wonder Woman, due for release this summer, is a shining example. Back in August, a leaked document allegedly sent to Warner Bros. from a disgruntled employee claimed the film was "a mess." In the similar manner of the conflicting news surrounding The Batman, director Patty Jenkins then took to Twitter to reject the claim, referring to it as "made up bs" that was "entirely false."
All that can be deduced at the current moment are the facts. For now, we know Affleck has left as director of The Batman, and that another someone else will need to come in and take control of murky, crime-ridden streets of Gotham City. Until then, Gossip City will continue to speculate on what's to come.
Should The Batman script be rewritten now a new director will take over?