Fans (and Warner Bros. studio execs) clamoring for Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film are going to have to wait a little longer. The film – tentatively titled The Batman, but should really be called The Batfleck – won’t likely begin production until 2018, according to the ever-reliable Variety reporter Justin Kroll, due to Reeves’ contractual obligations on War for the Planet of the Apes.
That puts to rest the rumors of a spring or summer start, fanned by actors like Joe Manganiello who will (still?) play Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke in the movie. This is great news; it helps Reeves, who will be able to give his full focus to the whole process of making the film, rather than entering as a journeyman director.
Kroll tweeted that 2oth Century Fox has the director on lock until “at least” the end of June. I imagine he’ll also be preoccupied soon after by the promotional tour for the July 10 release, his second Apes film following 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the third in the rebooted series. Here’s Kroll’s tweet:
Hearing Matt Reeves contracted to work on APES till at least end of June, so production on BATMAN likely not starting till 2018
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) March 14, 2017
The Batman is still getting its sea-legs after Affleck vacated the director’s chair in January, after co-writing the script with Geoff Johns. It recently received a rewrite by Argo and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice scribe Chris Terrio just prior to Reeves’ hire. Manganiello was cast as Deathstroke, touted as the film’s “main villain” (sorry, Jared Leto), last fall. It was previously reported that the movie will receive a “fresh start” under the new director. Reeves briefly fell out of talks before WB hired him, which Kroll also reported. His hire after that snafu implies that WB catered to Reeves’ needs, which likely includes creative control of the project. That’s good news for anybody who wants a good Batman film, as I elucidated here.
Wonder Woman and Justice League hit theaters June 2 and November 17 this year, but the DCEU currently only has one movie scheduled for 2018, Aquaman. The breather doesn’t mean WB is slowing down, as they have a huge amount of DC films in development, including The Batman, Gotham City Sirens, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, Shazam, Black Adam, Man of Steel 2, Nightwing, Suicide Squad 2, Deadshot, Justice League Dark, and Justice League 2. Click the links for the latest information on each.
Source: Variety’s Justin Kroll