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10 directors we could see taking on Ben Affleck's solo Batman movie

02.02.2017

It’s a sad day for the DC cinematic universe. One of the few (to some people, the only) bright spots of the current DCCU was Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman, and many speculated (correctly) that he would eventually direct the solo film. And there was much rejoicing! However, as if some f*cked up genie granted the wish, he has since dropped out.

But who can replace him? While there are many filmmakers that could potentially take on the role, we came up with ten that were sensible possibilities, perfectly-suited long shots, or a mixture of both.

David Fincher

This one seems like it would be the ultimate outlier “fan-casting” choice – and while it’s likely he won’t be the one to take the reins from Affleck – it’s also much more likely than you might initially think. For one, while Fincher has decried superhero films before, Batman is much more grounded than something like SPIDER-MAN, and Fincher’s patented urban-decay aesthetic (showcased in films like SE7En and ZODIAC) would be perfect for Gotham City. Furthermore, he’s dabbled in franchises before, both with ALIEN 3 and was *this close* to directing MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 back in the day. And, finally (and most importantly) Fincher has a working relationship with Ben Affleck after GONE GIRL. And to be frank, that’s really the main reason why he’s on the list. Affleck apparently worked closely with Fincher, and tried to learn from him, so I think if Affleck is going to step down and find someone to direct his baby, Fincher might be one of the few he would trust.

Joss Whedon

Here’s another seemingly outlier choice. After the debacle of AGE OF ULTRON (while not a bad film, per se, the production apparently took its toll on Whedon), he said he’d focus on original properties he created, and not with big franchise pictures anymore. However, those interviews were right after or during the AGE OF ULTRON press junket, and with some space between projects, he might be more willing to take on another superhero film. It might also help that it’s Batman, whom he actually pitched a YEAR ONE treatment to Warner Bros. pre-BATMAN BEGINS (he wasn’t the only one to do that on this list either). It would probably also help that it would be a series based on one hero, with him not having to bear the burden of shepherding the entire cinematic universe (like he did for the first two phases of Marvel). Also, come on, Whedon’s a big, huge nerd (in the best way) – and what nerd hasn’t wanted to take a crack at Batman?

Alfonso Cuaron

Out of all the choices, this one might be the most far-fetched. But there’s still a chance. A couple points in Cuaron’s favor: 1) he has a great working relationship with Warner Bros. (they are the ones who released his space opus GRAVITY), and 2) he already directed an entry for a large WB genre franchise film with HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN. And while I sincerely doubt Cuaron is chomping at the bit to direct a Batman movie, I do think that if he has a project he wants to direct that’s having trouble getting funding, this could be a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” quid-pro-quo thing with the studio. Make THE BATMAN movie, and we’ll fund whatever weird shit you wanna direct with carte blanche. Hey, it worked with Nolan.

Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky wants to make a comic-book movie. He was close to making THE WOLVERINE, METAL MEN, and hell almost directed MAN OF STEEL (imagine that)! Shit, he almost made BATMAN: YEAR ONE (still not the last pick on our list to do so) for Chrissakes! This man wants to make a superhero movie. And, hey, this might be the one to do it! Just let him at it, Warner Bros.! The only thing that would prevent him would be a busy schedule, and also possible clashes with Ben Affleck, since he might be too auteur and eclectic for this particular project (his YEAR ONE script he co-wrote with Frank Miller is pretty bonkers). But still, I can’t imagine he isn’t at least on the list of potentials.

Gareth Edwards

While I personally think Edwards isn’t great at directing actors, it can’t be denied that he can create some powerful images. Whether it’s the few times you see Godzilla in his 2014 remake, or the sight of a destroyed Jedi city, Edwards can frame the hell out of a shot. And, as a purely visual stylist, he could make an interesting Batman director, adding texture and grime to Gotham City, not to mention he can stage action well. He even has a working relationship with WB, having directing their previously mentioned GODZILLA.

Tim Miller

DEADPOOL was great, no doubt. It was funny, irreverent, and idiosyncratic. Not only that, but the dramatic moments and the action beats were just as good – if not better – than a lot of the comedy ones (which sometimes delved too deep into FAMILY GUY “remember this reference?” humor). But most importantly, DEADPOOL was fun. And with a deft hand shown behind-the-camera already, the best thing Miller could bring to BATMAN (if he were indeed to be considered) would to bring some of that residual fun (and energy) with him.

Kathryn Bigelow

Honestly, I just think Kathryn Bigelow is a good director. She’s great at building tension, directing actors, and staging action. That opening in ZERO DARK THIRTY is one for the ages. But beyond that, people forget she directed POINT BREAK, so she can also handle the kind of macho melodrama DC has somewhat devolved into, but also make something greater out of it (it sure as hell wasn’t the script that made POINT BREAK memorable).

Justin Lin

Justin Lin, if nothing else, is a consummate professional. Brought it as a pinch-hitter during the rushed STAR TREK BEYOND debacle, he was still able to make something that was fun, funny, and exciting. Not only that, but you can just look at the FAST AND FURIOUS movies to see how well he can handle action set-pieces. Imagine a Lin-directed Batmobile car chase? The mind reels. He’s also shown a deft hand at character dynamics, working with two ensembles for the FAST movies and STAR TREK. If the Bat-family is introduced in the film, he could be good for that as well.

Jeff Nichols

Nichols might seem like a strange addition to the list – mostly known for southern-fried coming-of-age stories like MUD – but he also made MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (starring former General Zod Michael Shannon). That movie showed that he could keep a restrained, naturalistic tone, but still delve into more genre/action fare. Even MUD ended in a shoot-out. But I think that mixture of the fantastical and the grounded is where DC seems to want to take its films, and I personally feel he’d be one of the best fits for that.

The Wachowskis

Personally, these two would be my pick. I’ve loved almost everything they’ve done (yes, including SPEED RACER and CLOUD ATLAS), and even their misfires (the MATRIX sequels, JUPITER ASCENDING) have cool things in them. The Wachowskis know how to stage action, they’re well-versed in awesome fight scenes, and when they’re firing on all cylinders they can sell the melodrama of any ridiculous situation through sheer sincerity alone. Not only that, but they have had a long, successful working relationship with WB, including pitching BATMAN YEAR ONE back in the day (the third to do that on this list). But, most importantly, having back-to-back flops will probably mean they’re humbled - and working with Ben Affleck - can hopefully reign in their more indulgent impulses. They’ve even already worked with a third collaborator (Tom Tykwer in CLOUD ATLAS), so it would be cool to see these three great directors work with each other. Even if it’s not BATMAN.

Anyway, that’s our list (and certainly, we could go on and on with choices), but who do YOU think should direct the new BATMAN solo film? Sound off below!   

Extra Tidbit: Ben Affleck played Daredevil in the 2003 film of the same name.

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