As Warner Brothers shifts gears by rearranging their corporate structure in hopes of turning the situation with Justice League around, things continue to move forward with the Batman cinematic universe that began with Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As of early January, Walter Hamada, a former New Line executive, will be production head for DC films, and this week, Toby Emmerich will become the chairman of Warner Bros. Amidst all the corporate reshuffling chaos, little trinkets of knowledge regarding The Batman have begun to come out of the woodwork.
Matt Reeves, the director of The Batman, was on “The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith,” an online podcast, and gave an update on the film itself. “I am outlining,” Reeves stated. “I have the story worked out and I’m outlining.” He said he talks over Skype with Mark Bomback, the film’s screenwriter, regularly.
As of late, there’s been a great deal of confusion surrounding Ben Affleck and whether or not he may reprise his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. While it seems Reeves has allegedly met with Jake Gyllenhaal and Jon Hamm has expressed interest as well, Gary Oldman, Christopher Nolan’s choice for Commissioner James Gordon in The Dark Knight Trilogy, stated he would like to see the studio pick an inspired and different choice than what has come before.
“I would like to see someone like Joaquin Phoenix play it,” Oldman stated. “This is no disrespect to Ben Affleck. I think it really depends on who is at the wheel that lifts it.” What may be interesting to ponder here is whether Oldman has any insight due to his past connection with the Batman franchise in his portrayal of Commissioner James Gordon. It’s likely he has probably the same amount of information as us. However, that thought could be a tad more valid than we initially thought.
In July 2014, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the first Matt Reeves-directed and Mark Bomback-written Planet of the Apes film, came to theaters. One of the film’s stars was no other than Gary Oldman, himself, alongside Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and more. The fact he worked with both Reeves and Bomback suggests that he may still have some sort of connection with Reeves and Bomback. Perhaps, he knows some things we do not as mere audience members who are unaware of the inner working of the Batman franchise.
Many people like Ben Affleck’s Batman and from a certain standpoint, it seems it would be a mistake to replace him. While the initial DC Cinematic Universe films that began with Man of Steel have divided fans, except for Wonder Woman and maybe Suicide Squad too, Affleck was never one of the problems neither was the casting in many of the films. They have featured stellar actors like Diane Lane, Henry Cavill, Kevin Costner, Robin Wright, Jeremy Irons, and many others that have left audiences simply wanting to see more of these stars as long as they are given good material by which to work with.
Reeves is an accomplished director, and hopefully, he is aware of the love many people have for Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman. However, with this being his film, it would not be a surprise if he does not wish to work necessarily within the confines of the world and story Snyder was telling across the DC Cinematic Universe. For Reeves, he should have all the freedom in the world to do whatever he wishes with respect to the Batman narrative he wishes to tell. Yet, it would be hard to imagine him leaving behind a cast that could potentially include the following: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons, JK Simmons, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, and others.
It would be a shame if we did not get to see further development of the relationship between Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jeremy Irons’ Alfred Pennyworth. Though, one’s wishes of seeing further exploration of this world are not something that is ever guaranteed in the world of cinema. Today, it’s all about money and Warner Brothers seem less willing to take a wait-and-see approach to their films or to even let them breathe a bit. That was one of the biggest problems people had with Justice League beyond anything really having to do with the acting: they wanted to see more of the narrative because it was interesting and the CGI could have been improved.
Sometimes, it seems that Warner Brothers is not really listening to the wishes of the fandom at all or listens to the wrong ones. Just make good films. That’s all the fandom wants and all most critics want too.
About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.