Ben Affleck will no longer direct himself in the next solo Batman film, after deciding to step down following discussions with Warner Bros. He will however, still produce the film.
Called ‘The Batman’, the film will be the first standalone Batman story in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) after Affleck’s version of the character debuted in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ last year and appeared briefly in ‘Suicide Squad’.
Who though, will take over from Affleck? Here are seven possibilities we think would be good picks.
With Ben Affleck still on board as ‘The Batman’s star, writer and producer, he will certainly have a lot of say in who replaces him in the director’s chair. With so much of his reputation riding on the film’s quality, it makes sense that he’d turn to someone he’s worked with before, and can trust.
Ben Affleck’s career renaissance began as a director, but his pulling power as a leading man was proven with Fincher’s 2014 thriller ‘Gone Girl’ – a fantastic adaptation in which Rosamund Pike shone brightest, but in which Affleck excelled too.
Fincher’s grit and love of depciting the darker side of human nature would suit the Batman world, but he won’t be someone willing to bend to a studio’s will, as he would have to in a film set within the expanding DCEU.
Maybe after eight films Batman on the big screen needs a woman’s touch to freshen things up and offer a new perspective. Not to say Kathryn Bigelow should or would be considered purely for being a woman, she’s an extremely good director of course.
With her follow up to ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, about the 1967 Detroit riots, set for release later this year, the scheduling lines up. It would be great to see a female director handed a superhero movie that doesn’t itself have a female lead.
Zack Snyder would not be a popular choice considering the tone he’s set for the DCEU with ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman v Superman’, but if Warner Bros wants someone in place quickly, he is the likeliest candidate.
Currently in post-production on this winter’s ‘Justice League’, Snyder has worked with Affleck a lot over the past few years and would transition to this new film easily.
There would be concern among DC fans, but at the very least Batman represents a more suitable character around which Snyder can build the kind of film he likes making.
The rebooted ‘Planet of the Apes’ series is one of the most interesting active blockbuster franchises. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ was a smart reboot that worked against the odds, and in its sequel ‘Dawn…’ Matt Reeves upped the ante while establishing the new series’ post-apocalyptic world.
With high hopes for ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ this summer, Reeves could further establish himself as one of Hollywood’s most capable blockbuster directors, and if Warner Bros wants anything for ‘The Batman’, it’s someone a safe pair of hands.
Aronofsky once came close to directing an even more grounded version of Batman than Christopher Nolan eventually made with ‘Batman Begins’, one pitched as being “‘Death Wish’ or ‘The French Connection’ meets Batman“.
The ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream’ director’s vision was too dark and violent for Warner Bros, who nixed the idea – so it’s unlikely Aronofsky would work well as a cog in a movie universe machine. We’d certainly like to see his vision brought to life however.
Among ‘Batman V Superman’s scant highlights was Batman’s rescue of Martha Kent in a sequence that saw the Dark Knight doing what he does best, dispensing of armed goons.
It was a sequence that evoked the hard-hitting brutality of Gareth Evans’s ‘The Raid’ and the film’s most pure “Batman moment”. If Evans isn’t busy, we’d like to see what he could do with the Caped Crusader.
In drawing up a list for this article I took a look at the directors of Affleck’s most recent films to see who among those would suit. ‘The Accountant’ wasn’t a success by any means, but O’Connor could be a left-field choice for ‘The Batman’
His latest may have disappointed, but he did direct searing MMA drama ‘Warrior’, which for our money ranks among the most underrated sports films ever.