Immediately after news broke on Monday of Ben Affleck's departure as director of "The Batman," Matt Reeves emerged as a possible replacement. However, the “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” director isn't alone on Warner Bros.' purported shortlist.
While Deadline suggests Matt Ross ("Captain Fantastic") is also a contender, Forbes adds three more filmmakers to the mix: Gavin O’Connor ("Warrior," "The Accountant"), Denis Villeneuve ("Sicario," "Blade Runner 2049") and George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road").
It's an intriguing, and highly qualified, list. However, Villeneuve is likely out of the running -- if he was ever in -- considering he's completing post-production of the "Blade Runner" sequel and is now attached to direct the remake of "Dune." It's doubtful that Warner Bros., which has announced a 2018 release for "The Batman," will want to wait while Villeneuve clears his schedule.
Miller is of course a longtime favorite to helm a superhero film: He was this close to rolling cameras on "Justice League Mortal" in 2007 when the studio abruptly pulled the plug, and was rumored in 2015 for a "Man of Steel" sequel (which turned out to be untrue).
Forbes notes that while there's an expectation for Warner Bros. to announce a replacement soon, there's "good reason" not to rush the process, considering that "Wonder Woman" lost one director before bringing on Patty Jenkins, and "The Flash" has already sped through two. Mind you, it was the studio that seemed to be pushing for "The Batman" to go into production, even as Affleck repeatedly, and publicly, applied the brakes.
Still, Warner Bros. may have to slow its roll, at least just a little, while Oscar-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio ("Argo") tries his hand at the "Batman" script. The original draft was penned by Affleck and Geoff Johns, DC Entertainment's president and chief creative officer.
Tentatively titled "The Batman," the film stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon and Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke.