Rumor of the Day: Matt Reeves wants a standalone Batman franchise without Ben Affleck

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Jan 22, 2021, 1:50 PM EST (Updated)

It seems it's been ages since Ben Affleck dropped out of directing the still-developing standalone Batman film, but in reality it's only been a little less than 18 months. In that time, though, it often feels like the project has evolved into a completely different film several times. Now, another new report has surfaced to suggest still more changes going forward.

Yesterday, DC Entertainment powerhouse Geoff Johns announced that he's leaving his post as the company's chief creative officer to pursue a writing and producing deal with Warner Bros. that, while still allowing him to tackle various DC projects, will not carry many of his old executive duties. In his coverage of the event, Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. explored what Johns' departure means for the future of DC Films and its remaining executives, and this little tidbit emerged as part of the report:

"...with Matt Reeves rebooting Batman for a new standalone franchise, likely with a new actor to play the Caped Crusader after Ben Affleck’s stints in Batman v Superman and Justice League."

So, let the whispers that Ben Affleck is done playing Batman begin all over again. 

Let's examine how we got here, shall we? Back in January of 2017, Affleck announced that while he would still be starring in the film, tentatively titled The Batman, he would no longer be directing it as previously planned. Shortly thereafter, War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves signed on to direct the film. At the time, the film was apparently set to be scripted by Affleck and Johns, with an assist from Justice League co-writer Chris Terrio, but last summer Reeves said in an interview that he was ditching that script and "starting again" with his own story.

The various changes to the film's creative team, as well as the various shake-ups at DC Films, have fueled periodic rumors that Affleck is unhappy playing Batman and is hoping to either drop out entirely or use the films to craft an exit as soon as possible. As recently as March, both Affleck and Reeves were denying that anyone but Affleck will play the Caped Crusader in The Batman, but now we're back here, with this Deadline report, and the idea of a new Batman.

Unfortunately, Deadline's report does not elaborate on this point, and it wasn't even really what the report was about, but this is yet another mention of enduring whispers that Affleck is set to be replaced. We have no idea if or when it will happen, but until The Batman gets a firm release date with Affleck attached, or an official announcement that another star is onboard, we'll likely still be wondering.