As we reported earlier today, Ben Affleck has officially backed away from The Batman as director, but will remain on to star and produce the film.
This now leaves Warner Bros. scrambling to get a director in place and the show back on the road. No official release date had been set for The Batman, but the rumour was that Warner Bros. wanted to have the film in production before the end of the year at the very latest.
Whether that'll happen remains to be seen, but it's clear that whoever steps into the role is going to have their work cut out for them.
With that in mind, here's six directors who we feel should definitely be in consideration.
6. JEREMY SAULNIER
What's he directed? Green Room, Blue Ruin
Why should he get the job? Well, for starters, Green Room was one of the best horrors of the past ten years and he knows how to work with a small budget and make it look slick and expensive. He's also got a real eye for atmsophere and he knows how to shoot action. Many people have been crying out for Saulnier to be given a real budget to see what he can do with it and The Batman might just be it.
How likely would he be to actually get the job? Doubtful, but not entirely unlikely, to be honest. It's true, he's signed on to direct a new film for Netflix and that'll likely take up some of his time. However, if he can get that finished in time and get to work on The Batman right after, they're might be a possibility of it working out. The real question is whether he'd want to do it or not. By all accounts, he's making the films he wants with the budget he can live with and it's working out for him. Why should he go off and do a major studio film and potentially compromise on it all?
5. KATHRYN BIGELOW
What's she directed? Zero Dark Thirty (won an Oscar for it) and the original Point Break
Why should she get the job? Quite frankly, Kathryn Bigelow is one of the best action directors out there. The Hurt Locker, Point Break, even Strange Days all had moments of pure adrenaline and action. That's what The Batman needs - a good, old-fashioned shot of adrenaline to make it fly. Kathryn Bigelow can bring that and her on-the-fly, kinetic filmmaking style to something that desperately needs it.
How like would she be to actually get the job? Bigelow's currently working on a film about the Detroit riots, so it's not likely she'll be finished with that any time soon. Keep in mind that she has an Oscar on the shelf, so it means she can pretty much do what she likes. Does she need to do something like this? Absolutely not. Her career's doing fine without a blockbuster of this kind of her resumé. Not only that, Bigelow was apparently in the running for Wonder Woman and didn't make the cut - so it's quite likely she's had her fill of comic-book blockbusters.
4. YANN DEMANGE
What's he directed? '71
Why should he get the job? Well, he fits the bill for what Warner Bros. have been doing so far when it comes to their blockbusters. Take Kong: Skull Island as an example. Jordan Vogt-Roberts directed one small, indie film with Nick Offerman in it before he made Kong: Skull Island. David Ayer had directed End Of Watch, which was a found-footage cop movie made for shag all. OK, fine, he did Fury with Brad Pitt before he made Suicide Squad, but the point is that he made a small film. Yann Demange's '71 was a brilliantly made action thriller that joined together John Carpenter's Assault On Precinct 13 with Apocalypto and set in Belfast during The Troubles. He could do so much more with a real budget and The Batman might be the key for him.
How likely would he be to actually get the job? A lot of it depends on Ben Affleck's say-so, so it depends on whether or not Affleck has seen '71. If Yann Demange's agent is reading this, send Ben Affleck a copy of '71 and don't look back. We'll sort out the commission fee later when he signs the contract.
3. JOHN McTIERNAN
What's he directed? Die Hard, Predator, The Hunt For Red October
Why should he get the job? Well, it's like this. He directed Die Hard, Predator and The Hunt For Red October. That's pretty much all you need to know. Let's dig a little deeper. John McTiernan was in the mix to direct a Batman film back in 1995 and was apparently pipped to the post by Joel Schumacher. He went on to direct Batman Forever and we all know what happened with Batman & Robin. McTiernan's had more than his share of legal troubles lately, but he has form and skill when it comes to big blockbusters like this and he needs a comeback. This might very well be it.
How likely would he be to actually get the job? It's hard to say, really. John McTiernan's well-publicised legal troubles involved Charles Roven, who had produced Rollerball - one of McTiernan's last films before his imprisonment. Roven is currently producing Justice League with Zack Snyder and it's quite likely he's involved in The Batman, too. He'd be a terrific choice, but all those legal issues might bar the way.
2. MICHELLE MacLAREN
What's she directed? Lots of key episodes for Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and even did an episode of The X-Files back in the day
Why should she get the job? She was the first choice to direct Wonder Woman, but backed away citing creative differences over how the film would be made. Many have been wondering where and when MacLaren will make the jump to films, as she's clearly a talented director and can turn her hand to any type of genre and make it work. The Batman would be a good fit for her as much of her work has been very action-orientated, especially her work on Game Of Thrones. Not only that, working on television requires a lot of discipline and working towards a strict deadline - something that'll be needed for something like The Batman.
How likely would she be to actually get the job? We'd be willing to put good money on the fact that her name has definitely been mentioned at some point. After our number one choice, she's the most logical choice for it. Keep in mind, she walked away from Wonder Woman because they wouldn't give her the creative space she wanted. Unless they give her what she wants here with this, it's unlikely she'd take the job at all.
1. GAVIN O'CONNOR
What's he directed? The Accountant, Warrior
Why should he get the job? He directed Ben Affleck very well in 2016's The Accountant and the film was made on a tight budget with a respectable box office return. Some reviews even said that The Accountant had a much better shot at becoming a franchise than Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice did. O'Connor has been steadily building a career towards bigger budget films and taking on The Batman is the next likely step. Plus, he's able to get that bare-knuckle, dark and gritty feel very well. Reteam him with Seamus McGarvey on cinematography and you could have a very interesting looking Batman film.
How likely would he be to actually get the job? Extremely likely. In fact, don't be in the least bit surprised if he's announced as the director in the coming days and weeks. His work with Ben Affleck on The Accountant goes a long way towards getting him the job, and it's very possible that Affleck has already recommended him for the job too.