A creative change is taking place behind the scenes on Warner Bros.’ superhero epic Justice League, but maybe not the one folks are expecting/hoping for. Per Deadline, Ben Affleck has now come aboard the Zack Snyder-directed film as an executive producer in addition to starring as Bruce Wayne/Batman, settling into a role he’ll share with fellow executive producers Geoff Johns and Wesley Coller. Production is already underway on Justice League in London, which kicked off mere days after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters, so this change is a bit of a rare occurrence in terms of timing.
What will Affleck do as an executive producer on the film? Deadline says the actor/filmmaker is making this move “to support Snyder,” adding that he’ll work with Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio “behind the scenes to make the film the best it can be.” Not much is really known about the storyline of the film at this point other than the fact that the title suggests Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller’s The Flash, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, and maybe-possibly Henry Cavill’s Superman will be teaming up to fight evil—possibly Darkseid?
Look, it’s no secret that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a disappointment. Yes a worldwide gross of $864 million is a lot of money, but for a film featuring the first onscreen team-up of the two most iconic superheroes in history, in the middle of the modern superhero boom, this movie should’ve been an unqualified sensation. Instead, the box office dropped off quickly and the movie suffered a critical shellacking from reviewers.
So, with Justice League already filming so soon after BvS‘s release, and with no time to make any major creative adjustments on the Snyder-helmed follow-up, Warner Bros. has no doubt been looking for ways to ensure that Justice League performs better—or at least gets a better reception—than Batman v Superman. Elevating Affleck to executive producer status and bringing him officially onboard as a creative voice should help calm some of their fears, and will hopefully help to ensure that the storytelling choices are improved.
Affleck himself is developing a standalone Batman spinoff to direct, which he’s writing with DC Comics COO Geoff Johns, so he was already going to be involved with the DC Extended Universe braintrust in some capacity. But this move definitely signals that WB is feeling some pressure with regards to Justice League, so here’s hoping this turns out to be a positive change for the film.
Justice League will also star J.K. Simmons and Jeremy Irons and is slated for release on November 17, 2017.