The Batman not part of DCEU, plus Luthor cut from Justice League?
To say Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe is in disarray is putting it mildly. They saw their first three films (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad) endure critical beatdowns and, despite the success of Wonder Woman, the Justice League film has gone through massive reshoots and a director switch, Flashpoint has burned through two directors with a third not yet announced, the Cyborg solo movie has been scrapped and The Batman jettisoned both its original director (Ben Affleck) and script (by Affleck and Geoff Johns). Now, according to a KCRW interview (via Batman On Film) with The Batman director Matt Reeves, the caped crusader’s solo film will be completely divorced from the DCEU.
“Well I have a vision for a way to do something with that character [Batman] that feels like it resonates with me personally, and a perspective that can grow out into other things,” Reeves said. “When they [Warner Bros.] approached me, what they said was ‘look, it’s a standalone, it’s not part of the extended universe.’”
So what does this mean for the future of the DCEU? If yesterday’s Joker origin movie news gives us a clue, it’s that Warners is trying to attract A-list filmmaking talent to their superhero movies by giving them the option to sidestep the continuity established by the DCEU. Hence, they may be starting their own side label for more director-driven projects like The Batman and Joker film, where other actors can step into those roles despite other performers like Jared Leto continuing to appear in the DCEU movies. It’s a bit like DC’s Elseworlds line in the ’90s, which allowed creators to work outside the continuity of the DC Comics Universe.
As for the DCEU itself, Warners has the option to soft reboot everything they’ve built so far via time travel in Flashpoint if Justice League and Aquaman fail. Having said that, this is still not confirmation that Reeves is recasting Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, despite rumors to the contrary. Given that Reeves sees The Batman as the start of a trilogy, we’ll have to wait and see what his vision entails and if it’s a good fit for Affleck’s established Batman persona. The term “standalone” could also indicate something more akin to Fox’s Logan, which didn’t rely on continuity with other films but kept actors like Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart intact, along with the mythos behind X-Men. So a standalone Batman movie could simply mean you won’t see cameos from Wonder Woman or Flash, etc.
As for the Justice League movie, Batman On Film is also reporting that Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor will have no role in the upcoming team-up movie, despite a tease of his connection to villain Steppenwolf in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
“He doesn’t have one,” they confirm of his role. “If he did prior to all the changes/reshoots, it was cut.”
While this should still be marked as rumor given that Jesse Eisenberg was already confirmed by Warners to return as Lex, it would not be unheard of. For Joss Whedon to have cut Eisenberg’s scenes, or even recast the role (as he did with Bruce Banner in The Avengers) given the poor reception of his stuttering, Mark Zuckerberg-inspired Luthor might even be a welcome change. Still, until we hear it from the horse’s mouth, we’ll have to stay tuned.
Fueled by the hero’s restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Justice League sees Bruce Wayne enlist the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Directed by Zack Snyder (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel), the screenplay is by Chris Terrio from a story by Snyder and Terrio. Filmmaker Joss Whedon is directing the additional photography for the sequel and is overseeing the completion of its post production following Snyder’s family tragedy. Justice League is produced by Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg and Geoff Johns. The executive producers are Jim Rowe, Wesley Coller, Curt Kanemoto, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck.
Justice League will open in theaters on November 17, 2017.