The Warner Bros. series of films based on its DC Comics characters took another blow yesterday, with Ben Affleck confirming that he will no longer be directing the upcoming Batman spinoff film, tentatively titled The Batman. Affleck will remain onboard in a producing capacity, and will continue to star as the superhero.
Variety broke the news last night with a statement from Affleck:
“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.”
The news comes swiftly on the heels of reports that The Flash will get a page-one rewrite, and persistent rumors that this year’s Wonder Woman falls short of the quality that Warner Bros. had hoped for. The DCEU has done well from a box office standpoint, but the films have been met with increasingly negative critical reviews for their messy scripts and perceived lack of “fun,” which the studio has promised to correct with the upcoming Justice League film.
No official word yet on who will replace Affleck in the director’s chair, but Variety says a shortlist has already been established, with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes helmer Matt Reeves among the contenders.