News broke yesterday that Ben Affleck would no longer be directing "The Batman" for Warner Bros, an announcement that came on the heels of multiple rumors that Affleck was struggling to finish the script.
According the The Hollywood Reporter, Affleck and Warner Bros. have reached a mutual decision regarding his departure as director. "I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film," Affleck said of the situation. "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."
So far no names for possible directors have officially been released, but according to Variety reporter Justin Kroll, Matt Reeves is "high on the list." Reeves is currently finishing "War for Planet of the Apes," which is due this July. If Reeves did sign on to direct, he would also have to split his time between the editing room for "Apes" and the director's chair for "The Batman."
That all sounds fine, and we're sure the resulting film could be a good one. However, with Affleck now officially out as director on "The Batman," we're throwing down our choices for five directors who could helm the project in his place.
Glen Winter's first foray into the world of DC Comics was in 2001, when he signed on as Director of Photography on "Smallville." He subsequently worked on 92 episodes of the popular pre-Superman series, 12 of which he directed. Since then, Winter has directed multiple episodes of DCTV shows like "Arrow" and "The Flash," as well as the pilots for "Legends of Tomorrow" and "Supergirl." Thanks to his involvement with "Arrow,"Winter also has experience working with Deathstroke, the villain slated to face off with the Dark Knight in "The Batman."
Winter is also a producer on all the DCTV shows, which means he's more than familiar with telling standalone stories that fit within the continuity of a shared universe. In order for "The Batman" to work, it has to uniquely feel like a Batman/Bruce Wayne film and be able to connect to the "Justice League" films. He would also be the first director to crossover from DCTV to the DCEU, which may be just what the cinematic franchise needs.
Despite his objections on Twitter, Kevin Smith might actually be the person on this list that best fills all the requirements necessary to direct "The Batman." He's an experienced director, he's extremely familiar with the Batman comics and canon, and he has (as far as we know) an open schedule in 2017. Smith has 28 directing credits under his belt, covering the gamut from feature films like "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," to episodes of DCTV shows "Supergirl" and "The Flash."
Perhaps most importantly, Smith is a massive fan of the character; his podcast is called "Fat Man on Batman," and he named his daughter after Harley Quinn, one of the most popular Bat-cast members in history. Smith, who also wrote the comic book "Batman: Cacophony" in 2008, has not announced plans to direct any feature films in 2017 or 2018, which means his availability could keep Warner Bros. on track for its 2018 release goal.
Lexi Alexander is the name you may hear a lot when female directors are suggested for projects, and for good reason. Alexander made her comic book movie debut with the 2008 film "Punisher: War Zone," an extremely graphic and stylized film. Her take on Batman and Gotham would likely be similar to her work on "War Zone" and close to the vein director Zack Snyder (more on him in a little bit) established in "Batman v. Superman." Like Winter and Smith, Alexander has also directed episodes of both "Arrow" and "Supergirl," so she's no stranger to the world of DC Comic adaptations. That, combined with her ability to bring grim and gritty to the big screen in a bombastically believable way should make hers a name for Warner Bros. to strongly consider.
Of course, the most obvious choice would be Zack Snyder. He knows these characters, he knows this world, he build the DCEU from the ground up. Snyder also has a knack for directing Batman. The Batman-focused scenes in "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" were some of the best moments of the film, satisfying many of those who were otherwise not impressed with the movie. The gritty tone, the killer Bat, all of those elements came to life because of Snyder and Affleck's unique partnership. Instead of moving directly into a "Justice League" sequel, we'd be interested in seeing Snyder continue the story he began in "Batman v. Superman," -- the story of the jaded Dark Knight. Snyder also feels more like a Gotham City guy than a Metropolis guy, which would make him perfect for "The Batman."
David Ayer is another be an obvious choice, as he too has demonstrated that he knows how to explore the darkness of Gotham City. His Gotham moments in "Suicide Squad" were dark but colorful, and exaggerated enough to be a home for both Batman and the tattooed, green-haired Joker. Ayer also worked with Affleck during the "Suicide Squad" Batman cameos, meaning the pair already have some level of mutual understanding about the character.
If Ayer partnered with Affleck to bring "The Batman" to life, they could explore the underworld, the corruption, the darkness within Gotham that Snyder only began to touch on in "Batman v. Superman." Ayer's next DCEU directing project is currently slated to be the Harley Quinn-led "Gotham City Sirens," but if he switched over to "The Batman," then perhaps a woman could step into to direct "Sirens" instead.
"The Batman" currently stars Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Joe Manganiello, and has no release date.