Originally written on January 31, 2017
By: Nick Poulimenakos
Yesterday, Ben Affleck and Warner Bros. dropped a bombshell on the comic book and movie community by announcing that Ben Affleck had stepped down as director of the forthcoming DCEU film, tentatively called, The Batman. Affleck remains as the writer, executive producer and star of the film. As a result of this huge news, Affleck and Warner Bros. are working together to find the person to replace Affleck behind the camera. I decided to come up with a list of 8 directors who I think could take on the monumental task of directing the new solo Batman movie.
Honourable Mention: Christopher Nolan
I mean why not right? Christopher Nolan is known for directing one of the greatest superhero trilogies ever and possibly the greatest superhero film ever made (The Dark Knight). Nolan is the biggest longshot on this list. However, if Warner Bros. wanted to guarantee a great Batman film, Nolan is the guy. His approach to characters and action sequences have proved to be a constant success. Considering that Nolan is still somewhat involved in the DCEU, I wouldn’t be surprised if Warner Bros. calls on him to come back one more time to direct the character he helped resurrect after a series of terrible films (I’m looking at you Batman and Robin).
- Clint Eastwood
An iconic director known for his dramatic and intense films, Clint Eastwood would be a great choice for the new Batman film. Eastwood could put more of a spotlight on the detective side of Batman, which was seen in Batman V Superman, but to a lesser extent. Given that he has directed films such as Gran Torino (which has its own sense of vigilantism) and Unforgiven (which shows a man haunted by his past deeds), Eastwood would be a solid choice for the current iteration of the Caped Crusader.
- Rian Johnson
As the director of the upcoming film, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and the writer of Star Wars Episode IX, Rian Johnson is probably too busy to take on a superhero movie right now. However, I feel as though with his style of directing, he would be a great choice for director of The Batman. Known for directing Looper and several phenomenal episodes of Breaking Bad, Johnson is known for more character driven stories which could work well with the rumor of Affleck’s film being “villain heavy.”
- Drew Goddard
I have wanted Drew Goddard to direct a feature length superhero film ever since I saw the first season of Daredevil. Sony had actually tapped Goddard to helm a proposed Spider-Man spinoff about the villain group, The Sinister Six. However, Sony rebooted the Spider-Man character with Marvel which leaves Goddard’s comic book slate open once more. Demonstrating that he knows how to make a dark story great with Daredevil and has comedic chops with the cult horror film, The Cabin in the Woods, Goddard would be a superb choice to take on the role of director for The Batman.
- Michelle MacLaren
Michelle MacLaren is mainly a television director, having been behind the camera for some of the best episodes of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Westworld. So it’s safe to assume that she has knack for directing dramatic stories. MacLaren already has a history with the DCEU as she was the original director of Wonder Woman, but later dropped out due to creative differences. So, while it seems unlikely that she’ll take on another DCEU film, I think that Batman would be the perfect character for her to direct. MacLaren knows how to take character driven stories and combine them with intense, action-packed sequences which is why a “villain heavy” Batman story could use her directing talents.
- Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve is one of the best directors working today. That is an undeniable fact. His films, Prisoners, Sicario and the Oscar nominated Arrival, have taken the world by storm and the thought of him directing a character like Batman is too good to ignore. The Canadian director would probably add a more mystery/crime aspect seen in his previous movies to this film which is something the Batman character needs. I believe that Villeneuve is the second biggest longshot on this list due to his current work schedule. The director is currently working on Blade Runner 2049 and has been signed on to helm the upcoming Dune film. Should he drop out of directing Dune or the release of the Batman film be pushed back, I think that Villeneuve would make an excellent choice for director of the standalone Batman film.
- David Fincher
David Fincher has been a fan pick for director of a solo Batman film for quite some time. Known for his well-defined dark tone and the detective aspect in films such as Gone Girl and Se7en, David Fincher is one of the best suited directors for a Batman film. Fincher can also bring a dramatic and thriller-esque feel to Batman as seen in The Social Network and Fight Club. Simply put, the man has pretty much done it all, which makes him one of the most diverse filmmakers on this list. He has proven time and time again that his stories can be some of the best cinematic experiences further proving that Fincher being behind The Batman can be an extremely exciting prospect.
- Matt Reeves
Matt Reeves is actually apparently on the Warner Bros. shortlist to direct the solo Batman flick. Should this rumor be true, Reeves would be my pick to direct Affleck as Batman. Known for directing Cloverfield, the fantastic Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming summer blockbuster War for the Planet of the Apes, Reeves is definitely able to handle large scale films. He has quite the eye for dramatic and action-packed scenes mixed with a dark tone. His focus on fleshing out characters while still including blockbuster action is something the DCEU could benefit from which is why Matt Reeves is my pick to direct the new Batman film.
Other Honourable mentions: Darren Aronofsky, Matt Ross, Gavin O’Connor, George Miller and Lexi Alexander
I’m thinking that I might turn this into a mini-series of articles where I write about who should direct other DCEU films… so probably expect more of these…