Many moons ago, the DC film universe looked much different than what it does today. At one point, Ben Affleck was set to star, write, direct, and produce his own Batman movie – something that excited fans considering Affleck’s pedigree as a director and the fact he was a fan-favourite iteration of the Dark Knight. Ultimately, he decided to depart the project and DC films entirely, while filmmaker Matt Reeves took over and released The Batman, which features Robert Pattinson as the titular hero.
Throughout the years, several details of Affleck’s Batman movie have surfaced, including information that Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke was set to be the big bad of the film and it would be heavy on action. For fans, these types of unmade projects always tickle the curiosity, as it’s a case of what might have been. Now, director Jay Oliva, who worked as a storyboard artist on Batfleck’s movie and several other films within the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), has spoken about it – and it sounds like the fans really missed out on something special.
Why Ben Affleck left his own movie
While Ben Affleck’s official statement for leaving the film was that he felt he had never really cracked the story for the Batman film he was writing with Geoff Johns, it was clear there were other factors at play too. The DCEU was in a state of turmoil, and the Justice League shoot became the stuff of nightmares – or should that be Knightmares?
In a 2022 Entertainment Weekly feature, Affleck opened up about how the filming for that movie made him certain he didn’t want to be Batman anymore. “I had a really nadir experience around Justice League for a lot of different reasons,” he said. “Not blaming anybody, there’s a lot of things that happened. But really what it was is that I wasn’t happy. I didn’t like being there. I didn’t think it was interesting. And then some really s***ty things, awful things happened. But, that’s when I was like, I’m not going to do that anymore.”
While Warner Bros. and the actor tried to calm the storm when rumours arose that he wanted out, his remarks make it clear that he must have wanted out as far back as 2016, since that is when the Justice League shoot entered production. As a result, his Batman film always seemed like a longshot.
What Jay Oliva said about Ben Affleck’s Batman movie
It’s unfortunate that fans never got to see Ben Affleck’s Batman movie since it sounds like he had something special in store for the audience. Speaking to Inverse, Jay Oliva said the following of the concept: “I can’t really say too much other than it was f***ing awesome. It was the best. It was amazing.”
Naturally, Oliva wasn’t able to get into the specifics of the story, since he presumably signed an NDA, but he did mention how he boarded the project after it had been through a few drafts. However, the script he was shown was the one written by Affleck and Geoff Johns.
Oliva added how it would have been something new for the Batman franchise, while also honouring the legacy of the character. “Ben’s story was gonna cover something that had never really been covered in comics but was building off of storylines in the Batman mythos over the last 80 years and approaching it from a new kind of perspective,” he said.
Sadly, unless someone decides to leak the script or turn it into a comic book or animated movie, it appears like no one will see Batfleck’s solo film. Judging by what Oliva said, though, it sounds like it had the potential to be extraordinary.