Yesterday, with the some strokes on a keyboard, actor and director Ben Affleck turned the geek world on its head. After a long pre-production for The Batman, the Academy Award winner prepared a statement in which he would step down as director on the project, in an effort to focus on his dual performance as Batman and Bruce Wayne.
Affleck had been connected to the project as a director for awhile. His participation culminated last summer at DC Films’ presentation at San Diego Comic Con, where Affleck joined his fellow directors on stage, including Zack Snyder (Justice League), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), Rick Famiyuwa (The Flash), and James Wan (Aquaman). His announcement made him the second director on that stage to drop out of his project, which has left Warner Bros scrambling to find replacements and solid alternative plans for the respective franchises. Here is Affleck’s statement:
“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.”
Since the moment that Affleck announced that he would stay on as the producer and star of The Batman, the speculation has turned to who could take over the directing reigns. Fortunately, the PoG specializes in speculation and we have assembled a list of strong contenders for the next director of The Batman.
There are several factors that went into our list including the given director’s resume, past comments, connections to Affleck and the studio, and if the project would make sense as the next step in their career. Plus, we tried to aim high. Zack Snyder and James Wan are the most high-profile directors working on DC movies, which isn’t too impressive when you look at the available options. Perhaps they will try something that even Marvel hasn’t attempted, by getting an established name to direct. Affleck said he is looking for a “partner,” so hopefully he is aiming high as well. So, let’s dig in.
The visionary director of Se7en has flirted with the comic book genre for a years. He and Affleck combined for one of the most successful romantic thrillers in recent memory with Gone Girl, so it’s easy to imagine them pairing again.
However at this point in his career, it’s hard to imagine that Fincher would want to fold his vision into Affleck and Geoff John’s. This is actually the least likely scenario on this list of unlikely scenarios, but it sure is fun to think about.
The Cloverfield director is rumored to be WB’s number one pick to pick up the reigns and helm the Caped Crusader’s future adventure. He did an amazing job balancing special effects and grounded heart in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and his follow-up, War for Planet of the Apes looks to be equally as epic. It makes logistical sense, since the director has a long relationship with the studio and has been profitable for WB. It will be interesting to see if there really is fire where the smoke has be pillowing from. We will find out soon.
The director responsible for bringing the Golden Globe nominated Deadpool to the big-screen after almost a decade of false starts is a solid choice for more than one reason. Miller already has extensive experience directing Batman in commercials and video games. Such as the opening movie for DC Universe Online that sent the internet aflame a few years ago, as well as commercials for the Batman Arkham Origins video game, which depicted the most visceral fighting between Batman and Deathstroke ever committed to film. Don’t take my word for it, check this out…
Miller is in high demand after his fallout with Ryan Reynolds and is already reportedly linked to multiple projects, including teaming up with James Cameron for a reboot of The Terminator in a few years. However its hard to imagine that he would pass up on the chance to reinvigorate the Batman franchise. It seems that, like Affleck, the character seems embedded in the director’s personality. Plus the film is rumored to take a lot of inspiration from the video game series itself, so it makes sense on a few levels.
Yup, it’s been said. Snyder has had a rough couple of years and if Justice League isn’t the best film that he has ever made, he may not ever be able to fully rebound in the comic book movie genre. The director is known for style over substance, however whether you are looking at Man of Steel or Batman v Superman, it’s clear that his movies require more than one viewing.
It has been recently been revealed that the BvS Ultimate Cut, was actually the director’s original cut of the film, that he wanted released in theaters. By most accounts it is a superior version of the movie. However, it’s hard to argue that the scenes involving Bruce Wayne and Batman, were the strongest part of last year’s superhero team-up. Judging from the way that he staged the Martha Rescue scene, he would be an unpopular, but steady choice. Just kidding, forget everything that I said…it would be an apocalyptic choice.
Mad Max director George Miller has been a long time fan of DC Comics. In fact, the director was mere weeks away from shooting his own Justice League movie for WB It fell apart due to financial concerns and director Christopher Nolan, who was in the midst of shooting The Dark Knight Rises, didn’t want competing Batmen on the big screen.
The rumor is that The Batman will be staged like The Raid or Judge Dredd, where the entire movie is set in mostly one location. In those films, the protagonist was forced to battle hordes of enemies from the bottom floor to the top, in a non-stop action brawl. The action of The Batman is rumored to take place mostly in Arkham Asylum, as the crime fighter may be trapped or may have to fight his way out during the course of the movie.
Miller proved with 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, that he is more than capable of making a straight forward action film, that is both visually stimulating and still able to garner the attention of the award circuit. It’s hard to imagine that Miller won’t end up either on this project or the Man of Steel sequel that is coming down the road.
O’Connor isn’t a name that will necessarily set the internet on fire, however the director has steadily built an impressive resume. While he has a variety of films under his belt, he has seemingly found his groove with adult dramas that feature leads that are capable of brutal violence.
Warrior was an award-worthy film about mixed martial artists, which proved his ability to film close quarters combat and high stakes drama. While he teamed up with Ben Affleck himself, with last year’s The Accountant, where he also played a man with a secret identity who has considerable fighting skills.
From the sounds of rumors, The Batman will be action heavy and O’Connor is effective at dropping emotional twists. So, at the end of his films he tends to make a reveal that gives the entire movie new meaning. Affleck and him just found recent success, which makes this one of the most realistic options.
It’s probable that Affleck and WB already have their prime candidate in mind. Ultimately, despite Affleck being an outstanding director, getting a fresh set of eyes on the project may prove to be mutually beneficial. Affleck still came up with the story, will produce, and star, so his thumbprints will be all over the film.
DC Films is at a crossroads. Between The Flash losing its director and getting a page one rewrite of the script and now the shakeup of The Batman, we will see if Warner Bros is able to rebound and correct their cinematic universe that hasn’t quite inspired in the way that they had hoped. Time will tell if we look at this as a turning point or when the car truly went off the rails for the entire DCEU.
What do you think of Affleck removing himself from the director’s chair? Who should they get to replace him? Let us know on the comment boards, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Share our stories by simply clicking your favorite social media below!