Since the summer of 2015, it has been known the Warner Bros. wanted Ben Affleck to direct a solo Batman film for 2018 release. He even reportedly delayed two productions to make time for it. With production getting ready to start up this year, all the talk has been about Affleck getting behind the camera and putting the fate of the DCEU on his shoulders. Affleck has just announced, however, that he no longer plans to direct and is currently seeking a collaborator.
He explained this decision by saying, "There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world."
Is thing a bad omen for things to come for the struggling DC franchise? While Affleck had previously hinted at dropping out as director if the script weren't up to his expectations, I don't think there is a need to worry yet. From his statement, it sounds like he plans to still be very involved creatively. The consensus after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was that Affleck's Batman was the best part. If this is what Affleck needs to do to turn in another stellar performance as the caped crusader, I'm all for it. The challenge now will be finding a director who is open to collaborating with Affleck and not be overly controlling. Aside from the solo Batman film, the DCEU has Justice League and Wonder Woman releasing this year, and both films look promising.
Now, with Affleck out of the director's chair, who do you want to direct the Batman film? I'll be rooting for Affleck's buddy and fellow comic nerd Kevin Smith.