The Batman may have a new director, but it no longer has a script. Hot on the heels of the news that War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves will be gingerly lowering himself into the director’s chair recently vacated by Ben Affleck comes news that the current script has been turfed.
According to Slashfilm this, along with Reeves’ commitments to his monkey movie, will push back The Batman‘s start date until at least 2018, making a 2019 theatrical release a possibility.
If we get a release that is. In the normal course of events news of rewrites and reshoots should be taken soberly, but given how DC/Warner has been flailing these past few films, any news like this sends ripples through the ranks. Their continued failure to present a united front and a consistent creative vision is doing them no favours, and these days the news that one of their tentpoles has collapsed would not come as much as a surprise; between the Batman turmoil and the way The Flash keeps cycling through directors, it seems likely that one or the other might get the plug pulled on them.
Indeed, looking at their upcoming slate, the only films that we can definitely bank on seeing are already in the bag: Wonder Woman and Justice League. Suicide Squad 2 will almost certainly get over the line, as will Gotham City Sirens, unless director David Ayer gets sick of Warner’s creative strictures. Aquaman seems like a lock, too. Shazam/Black Adam is about a 50/50 proposition, buoyed by Dwayne Johnson’s boundless enthusiasm, but only a fool believes we’re ever gonna get the proposed Cyborg movie, unless he’s a Groot-style breakout character in Justice League (he won’t be).
There’s a bit of received wisdom that these big pictures have too much money and momentum to get canceled late in the game, but that is simply not true. A cursory of examination of the history of the Superman franchise amply demonstrates that these things do happen. Heck, look at Watchmen – Paul Greengrass had built sets when they told him to clean out his locker (which led us to Zack Snyder, which led us to this entire mess). The entire DCEU is dangling by a thread right now. If either Wonder Woman or Justice League under-perform, expect seismic changes to the whole slate.