When Christopher Nolan announced that The Dark Knight Rises would be his final Batman movie, most assumed the character would be going into cinematic hibernation for a while. After all, how do you follow up a take on Batman as iconic as the Dark Knight trilogy? Well, we were wrong—consumerism won out in the end. Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder announced their intention to reinvent Batman merely one year after Dark Knight Rises hit theaters with an impending Batman v Superman movie. By now, audiences are familiar enough with Ben Affleck’s take on the character—one that’s much older and more war-weary than Christian Bale’s iteration. But while Batman shares the screen with other superheroes in BvS and next year’s Justice League, we’re also on the cusp of a new standalone Batman movie called The Batman.
After years of rumors, Affleck has finally agreed to direct and star in The Batman, and while details are mum, we learned a few months ago who he’ll be squaring off against: Deathstroke. Indeed, Joe Manganiello is already set to play the villain in The Batman, and appearing on a Mark Madden podcast (via CBM), Manganiello recently teased Affleck’s unique take on the character:
“When I met Ben we sat down and we talked about, you know, the role. We talked about the movie. His take is a fresh take but I think the audience is going to be surprised. Because it’s a road that no one’s really gone down that’s completely integral to, you know, who Batman is. And I think it’s gonna be refreshing but at the same time completely familiar. But it’s going to take this franchise in a direction that I think a lot of people are going to be really happy about. It’s going to be gritty and action packed and cerebral and all of those elements that people love about Batman.”
While Batman has gone through many incarnations in the feature film world—from the camp of Adam West to the aloofness of Michael Keaton to whatever the hell George Clooney was doing—he’s always been a “gritty” superhero, so I’ll be interested to see how Affleck’s take stands apart from the other films—particularly Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
One thing’s for sure: Affleck is a swell director. He’s proved himself adept behind the camera on Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Best Picture-winner Argo, and his gangster drama Live by Night opens in theaters in December. He’s been working on the script for The Batman with Geoff Johns, and Manganiello discussed the caliber of Affleck’s talent:
“Ben’s a great director, man. I mean the last movie that man directed won best picture. He’s got an Oscar for writing. Like, this is all the components to go down as a… everything is lined up for a really really really great movie. Not only a superhero movie but just a great great movie.”
Filming on The Batman doesn’t begin until sometime next year—possibly summer—so we still have a ways to go before cameras start rolling. But after Affleck wraps up the upcoming awards season we’ll no doubt start hearing plenty of casting news and such for the filmmaker’s very first superhero movie. Who’s excited?