James Bond inspired now-shelved Batman movie


Before Matt Reeves came on board The Batman, Ben Affleck was helming the project as the writer, director and main star. It was set to take place within the DCEU, bringing on board pre-established characters from the universe at large. The film never came to pass, with Affleck leaving the project in 2020. The new director had a bold new vision, taking the Dark Knight back to his raw elements for a brutally grounded vision. He has nothing but respect for Affleck’s picture though, calling it a “totally valid take” on the Caped Crusader.

Affleck’s Batman will never receive his own solo film now, with the star bowing out of the character after his final performance in The Flash (set to premiere on November 4, 2022). Fans have been curious to know what the star’s original vision was and thankfully Reeves has just given some details on the script. 

The director said: “This take, I told them, pointing at the script, is a totally valid and exciting take. It is almost James Bond-ian, but it wasn’t something that I quite related to.”

He added that Affleck’s script was a “totally valid take” on the Dark Knight. But there was one problem. 

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Reeves continued: “It was very action-driven. It was very deeply connected to the DCEU, with other major characters from other movies and other comics popping up. I just knew that when I read it this particular script was not the way I’d want to do it.”

The Planet of the Apes director told Warner Brothers: “Look, I think maybe I’m not the person for this,” before explaining to the company “why he loves this character”. 

Reeves said: “I told them that there have been so many great movies, but if I were to do this, I’d have to make it personal, so that I understood what I was going to do with it so that I know where to put the camera so that I know what to tell the actors so that I know what the story should be. (via Esquire Middle East)

Taking inspiration from James Bond would certainly be a new approach for the character on screen. It likely would have leaned in on the charming and suave side of Bruce Wayne. Christian Bale’s rendition of the character certainly showcased this in both Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but the billionaire took a backseat for his alter ego.

The main plot of Affleck’s solo film may never be known, though there have been some telling pieces of information about the project since its shelving. It is known that Joe Manganiello was set to return as Deathstroke, taking on the villain role.

Fans may have caught Manganiello in the role during the post-credits scene of Justice League. He was seen boarding a superyacht and meeting with Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. This was no doubt a setup for The Legion of Doom – a supervillain team to rival the JL.

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Speaking to Collider, Manganiello compared the movie to David Fincher’s The Game and likened it to a horror film. He said: “There were similarities to The Game. It was a really dark story in which Deathstroke was like a shark or a horror movie villain that was dismantling Bruce’s life from the inside out.”

Later, on the Happy Sad podcast, he said: “I was in the mix over there. All the executives when it came up that Ben wanted to make Deathstroke the villain. Then this discussion happened where the executives said: ‘You know who would be great is Joe.’ And then Zack Snyder, who knew me from year’s previous, said: ‘Yeah I know Joe.’ They vouched for me which set up a meeting between Ben Affleck and I. Ben told me ‘You’re the only person I’m meeting with.’ We had a discussion, we watched the Tim Miller video. The Tim Miller piece that got him Deadpool. He made that Arkham Origins Deathstroke vs Batman video. Ben and I talked about that a lot and how that was going to relate to the action sequences. We talked specifically about one big action piece and what that was going to entail, not in great detail, but the broad strokes.”

Instead of this film coming to pass, fans are gearing up to see Reeves’ version of The Batman, one which has Robert Pattinson in the titular role. It will be set completely outside of the DCEU and will feature The Penguin and The Riddler as villains instead of Deathstroke.

Set to premiere on March 4, 2022, the movie was recently confirmed to be clocking in at nearly three hours long (two hours 55 minutes) and has secured a PG-13 rating.

As for why the director chose to take his Batman out of the wider DC Comics world, he said: “Ben [Affleck] had been working on a version of the script, and I said: ‘Here’s the thing: I respect that the DC Universe has become an extended universe and all the movies were kind of connected. But another Batman film, it shouldn’t have to carry the weight of connecting the characters from all those other movies. I didn’t want them in there.” (via (Esquire).



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