[Update: Trusted Variety reporter Justin Kroll now has sources refuting this report that everything is terrible over in The Batman land:
@BatmanNewsCom No, several sources already saying new script came in this month and everyone including Emmerich and Ben very happy with it
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) February 9, 2017
That new script is likely the one rewritten by Oscar-winning Argo and Justice League scribe Chris Terrio, so maybe possibly The Batman isn’t being thrown out entirely after all. Our original story follows below.]
Like with pretty much all of its DCEU movies, Warner Bros. isn’t having an easy time with The Batman. At the end of January, Ben Affleck decided he would not direct the superhero film, although he remains on board to star and produce. For months, Affleck said they were struggling to get the story right, and it looks like they never reached that point. Now Warner Bros. is throwing out the script as they look to hire a new director (Matt Reeves is reportedly the frontrunner at this point) to guide the creative vision of the film going forward.
According to Forbes:
How extensive the process will be — I’m hearing anything from “major rewrites” to “a completely new script,” including starting from scratch on the story if that’s what it takes — is unclear, not just to us but probably to those involved as well, since the new filmmaker might look at the story and script and decide there’s plenty to salvage that appeals to them. Once the director is in place, more will become clear, but for now Warner Bros. is suffering far more negative perceptions than they need to, simply because of the attempt to slow and control the spread of information.
Admittedly, the challenge in getting a new Batman script right is tough on multiple levels. For starters, the character has to be at least somewhat in line with where he leaves off in Justice League. While it looks like he will no longer be the murder-happy fascist we saw in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we don’t know how he’ll be adjusted over the course of Zack Snyder’s latest outing with the character.
The other problem is that no one wants to do a rehash of other people’s interpretations. If you’re looking to make a crime drama that happens to feature Batman, you’re out of luck since Christopher Nolan pretty much already did that. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of Batman stories to tell—there are!—but you want to come at it from a unique angle. Audiences are going to turn out for a new Batman film no matter what, but you want to make sure you’re not being compared unfavorably to what came before. Keep in mind that Warner Bros. isn’t looking at just one successful Batman movie. They’re looking at franchises, and if you don’t like the first solo Batman film, you’re unlikely to return for the sequels.
As for when this might end up hitting theaters, Forbes says it’s likely we’ll see The Batman in 2019 assuming Warner Bros. can stop tripping up. Another problem is how reactionary the studio has been every time one of its movies gets released. Man of Steel wasn’t a big enough success, so instead of a second solo Superman movie, we got Batman v Superman. Batman v Superman was too dour, so they’re promising that Justice League will be lighter. The reaction to the Suicide Squad trailer was so positive that they changed the movie to make it more like the trailer. I shudder to think what could happen this year if Wonder Woman and Justice League aren’t warmly received.