While Warner Bros. may or may not be in the midst of some shakeups within its DC Extended Universe following the disappointing reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the studio does have an ace up its sleeve, and that’s Ben Affleck’s solo Batman movie. Warner Bros. has been trying to court Affleck to direct and star in a new Batman film pretty much ever since he was first cast as the Caped Crusader in Zack Snyder’s superhero smackdown, and while word surfaced last year that he was developing a script alongside DC Comics COO Geoff Johns, we didn’t get official confirmation that the project was in the works until a couple of weeks ago, when WB formally confirmed Affleck is developing a Batman movie that he will direct.
So, since Affleck and Johns have been working on the script for quite some time, what will this new Batman film entail? Well if a new report is to be believed, a lot. Per Devin Faraci over at Birth.Movies.Death, Affleck and Johns are looking to rope in a bevy of classic Batman villains to appear in the film, with “many, if not most, members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery” making appearances in the picture. Apparently Affleck and Johns want to make “the definitive Batman film,” and populating the picture with all the iconic Batman villains is part of their plan at this point in time.
Now this doesn’t mean the movie won’t have a principal villain, and one imagines most of these appearances will be cameos, but it’s still kind of neat to imagine seeing Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, etc. all in the same film. And since Suicide Squad will already establish Batman villains Deadshot (Will Smith), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and of course The Joker (Jared Leto), these characters are all up for easy cameos as well.
But how will all of these characters fit into the same movie? An easy in would be to take a trip down to Arkham Asylum, but it’s also possible Affleck and Johns are throwing back to the 1966 Batman: The Movie, in which Penguin, Joker, Riddler, and Catwoman all teamed up to take on The Bat. So perhaps instead of one main villain, we’ll see Affleck’s Batman squaring off against a team of baddies headed up by one principal villain.
Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy gave us some pretty swell takes on Scarecrow, Ra’s Al Ghul, and of course The Joker, but Nolan’s films left Riddler and Penguin on the table as characters we haven’t seen on the big screen in some time. The prospect of seeing a new take on these iconic villains, through the lens of an accomplished filmmaker like Affleck, is mighty exciting.
There’s currently no firm release date set for Affleck’s Batman film just yet, but one imagines it couldn’t come fast enough for Warner Bros. The studio is trying to keep its DC Extended Universe on track after Batman v Superman suffered a shellacking by critics and a disappointing box office run (yes, $862 million is disappointing when you have the two most iconic superhero characters of all time in the same movie), but they’re looking for a new The Flash director and hopes are high for Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman, so a recovery doesn’t seem out of the question. Affleck is currently shooting Justice League with Snyder directing while also doing post-production work on his next directorial effort, the Prohibition-era crime drama Live by Night, but it’s possible this Batman movie could be ready to roll sometime next year. Here’s hoping.