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It’s official, Ben Affleck has stepped down as director of the upcoming Batman standalone film. This news comes after a couple months of Affleck waffling back and forth, seeming to distance himself from the project for unknown reasons.

Now, in a report from Variety, it is now confirmed that he will not go forward with The Batman as director. Here’s what Affleck had to say:

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”

Warner Bros also issued a statement, saying:

“Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.”

While Affleck has stepped down as director of the film, he has stayed as both producer and star of the movie, so there’s no need to fear just yet that the DC Extended Universe is collapsing in on itself. However, this does have us wondering whether or not he’ll stay on as one of the writers of the film (despite the statement still including him as a co-writer), and if not, there’s a good chance they may very well have to do a page one rewrite once a new director comes on board with a potentially-new vision.

The outlet went on to state that their own sources say Affleck’s decision was strictly in the best interest of the quality of the project, and not at all related to the bomb of his last directorial effort, Live by Night.

Admittedly, our instinct in a situation like this is to get all doom and gloom, but let’s take a step back and try to look at this objectively. Directing is a hard job. Acting is a hard job. The former tends to be a lot more difficult as the budget increases, and as such, there’s no doubt that Affleck’s attention would have been split from his directing duties once he was in acting mode. As great of a talent Affleck is, perhaps it’s a good thing he put his ego aside and is allowing someone else to fill his shoes. It’s better that this decision get made now than right before production.

Of course, the main problem with this news isn’t necessarily the news itself, but that it follows the recent trend and narrative of the DCEU not having their sh*t together. The past two films in their universe have underwhelmed (though have been successful financially), Snyder is still leading Justice League movie, The Flash recently began a page one rewrite, and now this. When the universe is already imploding on the heels of shortsighted decisions, it’s hard to be optimistic. 

So who can fill Affleck’s place? One director on the shortlist is Matt Reeves, who is best known for 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes. Were this to go through, this could be an amazing get for the project — one that could serve as a killer silver lining for this garbage moment.

What do you think? Is The Batman in trouble? Who should take Affleck’s place as director? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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SOURCE: Variety