Warner Bros. is inching closer to its latest theatrical release in the DC Extended Universe with Matt Reeves' The Batman coming on March 4. This film will see Robert Pattinson take over the leading role from DCEU mainstay Ben Affleck, who was, at one point, set to both direct and star in the first Batman solo movie from this expansive franchise.
Affleck's time in the cape and cowl has been riddled with difficulty and controversy, with numerous reports hinting that he'll leave the role for good after his appearance in this year's The Flash. Now being one of three stars in this franchise alone to take on the role, alongside Pattinson and 1989 Batman's Michael Keaton, his solo movie has fans intrigued by what it could have been.
Pattinson's DCEU debut will feature a completely different Bruce Wayne from the one Affleck has played since 2016, as his hero will only be in his first year of fighting his own Gotham's crime spree. However, this wasn't always the case for Batman's DCEU solo outing, as recently teased by Reeves in a chat about the past.
Affleck's Batman Featured Justice League Heroes
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, The Batman director Matt Reeves reflected on what was set to come to the big screen in Ben Affleck's original solo movie about the Dark Knight.
Warner Bros. had seemingly been after Reeves for a meeting for quite some time, which almost "annoyed" the director to an extent:
“[Warner Bros.] kept coming back. I was almost getting annoyed. I was like, ‘Wait, what don’t they understand about the fact that I’m making this movie?’”[My agent] said, ‘If you have any interest, you might want to find the time to take that meeting.’”
He eventually read through the script written by Ben Affleck, Geoff Johns, and Chris Terrio. Reeves revealed that this script featured something of an "action-based James Bondian" story that was "intimately tied to the DCEU" thanks to the inclusion of "other big superheroes."
Initially, Reeves didn't feel that he would be the right man for the job, unsure if he could "find (his) emotional way into this version" of the story. It didn't fit what he was imagining for the solo movie, with the director not being able to "find some way to make it personal" to him:
“It was a totally valid take on the story,” he says. “I just felt that I was not going to be their guy because having read it, I thought, ‘Wow, I don’t know if I can find my emotional way into this version.’ Not to say it wasn’t good, but I wouldn’t have known where to put the camera, what to tell the actors because I have to find some way to make it personal to me.”
Justice League Heroes in Batman's Solo Movie?
Warner Bros. has worked hard to build its extended universe and feature multiple major superheroes as a part of the DC story. It seems as though this version of the Caped Crusader's solo movie would have reunited Ben Affleck with some of his co-stars from his first two movies in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
Having also been rumored to feature Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke, it's unclear what exact story this movie would have told, especially pertaining to how the other Justice League members would have come into play. Although Henry Cavill's Superman isn't set for a return anytime soon, other heroes like Wonder Woman could have joined the fray, although there have already been two similar team-up movies with all three of them involved.
With Affleck's DCEU tenure possibly coming to an end after The Flash, it may always be a mystery what was planned for his version of Bruce Wayne's solo story. Now, the franchise is set to deliver Pattinson's alternate Gotham with new stories for the hero to tell, bringing another dimension of Batman's legacy into the DCEU.
The Batman is set to debut in theaters on March 4, 2022.