We still have quite a wait ahead of us if we want to learn anything really definitive about The Batman, the DC Extended Universe film starring Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader and directed by War for the Planet of the Apes' Matt Reeves. One thing has just been made clear, though: Reeves is scrapping the existing script and "starting again" with a different story.
Reeves confirmed the move on an episode of MTV's Happy Sad Confused podcast posted Wednesday. Here's what he said when asked if he was keeping the original script from Affleck and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns: "No, it’s a new story. It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool.”
Reeves also clarified that he is only now really beginning to work on the project, as the last three years of his life have been consumed by Planet of the Apes. That means no plot details, no casting details, no nothing -- apart from a director developing his movie.
Now, let's back up for a second re-examine how we got here. Affleck was originally set to star in and direct the next Batman film, but dropped out in January to focus on working as an actor and co-writer. Then, in February, Reeves came aboard to replace him as director, and also took a producing role. As Reeves explained on the podcast, he personally outlined his ambitions for the project in early meetings, and made it clear that he had to believe in the story he was telling, or he wouldn't do it. This stance may have spurred reports back in March that the script -- which got an assist from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice writer Chris Terrio -- was getting a complete rewrite, but those reports were unconfirmed at the time. Now we know that Reeves is indeed going in a different direction, though it's not clear who's working on the script (Reeves does have screenwriting experience of his own) or what changes will be made.
The Affleck/Johns script reportedly originally featured Deathstroke as a key villain (played by Joe Manganiello) as well as The Joker. Now, it's unclear if Reeves is keeping any of that. All he's publicly said is that he wants to make a "noir" Batman movie, which opens up many different possibilities for the character.
So, now that the third Apes film is headed to theaters this week, Reeves is primed to get to work and tell his version of The Batman story. We still don't know what that story will be, but a film that was initially very driven by its star is now increasingly being taken over by another creative voice.