We just got word that Matt Reeves has decided to scrap the Ben Affleck script for The Batman and write a new one from scratch. What does this mean for this film’s future? The film has undergone so many changes and shifts and Warner Bros. has not even started filming. Reeves co-wrote his most recent film, War for the Planet of the Apes. Considering the current early reviews of that film, maybe that is why Warner Bros. gave him the go ahead on a new script. Let us go back and check to see how this film has developed over the past few years.
The film was originally Ben Affleck’s baby! He was going to write, direct, and star in The Batman, and we were all excited. But, after the terrible opening of his film Live By Night, coupled with his addiction and marital issues, Ben eventually decided to step down as the director of the film. This was understandable as he is just a man. Sometimes, the world can just pack too much on our shoulders, and we have to let up. Still, we knew that he would be starring in the film. We also expected Warner Bros. to continue using Affleck’s script that he co-wrote with Chris Terrio and Geoff Jahns. However, Reeves recently revealed on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast that this plan has changed. He scrapped the earlier script that Affleck, Chris Terrio and DC’s Geoff Johns had worked on.
We know that Joe Manganiello was all set to play the film’s main villain, Deathstroke, but how will that change now? When Matt Reeves was first hired to direct, Manganiello was not to sure his character would be kept in the loop. When he was a guest on Pittsburgh Today Live, a few months ago, the topic of The Batman came up. When asked if he was playing Deathstroke, Manganiello paused and said, “Umm. Maybe. We’ll see.” I think it would be tragic to remove Manganiello from the script because he is a great actor. He definitely has the build and ferocity to play a villain of Deathstroke’s caliber.
What we don’t know is how much of Ben Affleck’s script Matt Reeves will incorporate into his own draft. While Ben did say Deathstroke was the main villain in his script, it was reported that many other Batman villains would also appear in minor roles. With Reeves now re-writing the script, we don’t know if he will use a brand new villain, never before seen on screen, or one that we all know and love. There is a possibility that we will get to see Jared Leto’s Joker make a return to the DCEU. Most fans enjoyed his presence in Suicide Squad, but didn’t think he was in the film enough. Bringing him back as the main villain in The Batman could quench the thirst of the fans who desire to see a lot more of this character very soon. Jared, himself, has even mentioned the possibility of teaming up with Batman in a movie. Maybe this was foreshadowing for something we did not know was happening.
We know that Matt Reeves is planning to write a noir driven version of Batman, focusing more on his detective skills. This would be similar to the way Batman: The Animated Series portrayed the character. In that series we got to see the Joker and Harley Quinn a lot. Fun fact: Harley Quinn was actually invented specifically for that series. I think it would be great to get a film that emphasizes Batman’s detective skills along with his brutality, which would possibly provide more depth into the psyche of Bruce Wayne as his backstory is explored. We know that he has been active as Batman in the DCEU for 15 years. We know that at least one Robin was murdered by the Joker and Harley Quinn. We know that Batman has become a lot meaner and grizzled over the years. Seeing this take on Batman in the world Warner Bros. has created with the DCEU could possibly even trump what Christopher Nolan did with the series.
How will these changes to the film affect the Justice League? I doubt that whatever happens with the Batman script will affect the Justice League at all. The only real question is: will The Batman be mostly a prequel told through a flashback like Wonder Woman or a follow up taking place after the events of Justice League? More than likely it will be a follow up, but Wonder Woman’s continued success may make the studios want to duplicate the structure of that film.