It's been a turbulent week for fans anticipating Ben Affleck's tentatively titled "The Batman" standalone film. After rumors of major script problems and a delay in the film's release, Affleck stepped down from the director's chair. This has left fans and critics wondering who will helm the solo Batman flick and if Affleck will remain committed to the project.
A new report from Forbes' Mark Hughes peels back the curtain on what was inside the original script, including references to the Joker and other villains in DC Comics rogues' gallery.
"The story for 'The Batman' originally included the assassin Deathstroke as a main villain, with Joe Manganiello cast in the role, as well as a few other likely villainous appearances by characters including the Joker, according to sources familiar with the project," Hughes revealed. "Jared Leto, who portrayed the Joker in 'Suicide Squad,' has for months expressed his displeasure about the removal of substantial portions of his performance from the final cut of the film, raising questions about whether he would return to the role in future movies. He seems to have softened his stance lately and appears interested in a possible return, but whether he will ultimately be part of 'The Batman' or 'Gotham City Sirens' remains to be seen."
The inclusion of the Joker and other villains along with Deathstroke would have set up "The Batman" as one large undertaking for any director. It's hard to imagine that Leto would sign back up as the Joker for only a cameo role after having his scenes cut from "Suicide Squad." Hughes never mentioned what other villains would have appeared, but one can imagine seeing the likes of Penguin and Riddler locked inside the walls of Arkham Asylum.
“The Batman” also stars Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon and Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke. The film hasn’t been given a release date.