the batman batgirl

Before Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson got involved, Ben Affleck was going to direct and star in The Batman. The film would’ve had Affleck’s take on the Caped Crusader battling Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke, as played by Joe Manganiello. We’ll never get to see that version of the film, but in a recent interview, Manganiello revealed some new details about what could have been. And according to him, Batman wouldn’t have been alone in the film – the Dark Knight was going to have some help from Batgirl.

The Batman, the newest incarnation of the Caped Crusader, has had a rocky road to the screen. At one point the film was firmly set within the DCEU, and a continuation of the Batman we first met in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. When Ben Affleck signed on to play Batman in that flick he also was supposed to eventually star in a standalone Batman adventure. Since Affleck is also a writer and a director in addition to being an actor, he also signed on to write and direct the new Batman movie.

Affleck began work on the script with Geoff Johns in 2014, but they never seemed able to crack the story. By 2017, Affleck was still attached to the project but decided to step down as writer and director. At that point, Matt Reeves stepped in to write and direct. And for a while, it seemed like Reeves would be directing Affleck. But eventually, it was revealed that Reeves’s movie would be focusing on a younger Batman and that Affleck was more or less done with the part (although he did return to reshoot a scene for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and he’s reported to be playing the character one more time in The Flash).

Now, Robert Pattinson will play a brand-new Batman in The Batman. But what of Affleck’s aborted film? We’ve known for some time that the plot would involve Batman going up against Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke, a character who was introduced in a post-credit scene for the theatrical cut of Justice League, played by Joe Manganiello. Now Manganiello has revealed some more tidbits. Specifically: Batman wouldn’t be fighting Deathstroke alone. He’d get some help from Batgirl.

Warner Bros. has been working on a potential Batgirl movie since at least 2017, when Joss Whedon was hired to write and direct. Whedon eventually left the project, and Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson came on board to handle the script in 2018. As of now, the project remains in limbo, but Walter Hamada, Warner Bros.’ President of DC-based film production, recently said that the Batgirl movie might be developed exclusively for HBO Max. With all that in mind, it’s safe to assume that the Batgirl introduced in Affleck’s The Batman was the one who was going to spin-off into her own film eventually.

“There was like a big huge showdown,” Manganiello told Comic Book Nation. “Batgirl jumps in to try to help Bruce because Deathstroke is so fast that he can anticipate Bruce’s movements. And there was this huge fight in Gotham City where Batman is like, you know, completely afraid because he realizes he’s met someone who can take him. And that leads to this big climactic battle through the streets of Gotham City at the end.”

I enjoyed Affleck’s take on Batman and would’ve liked to have seen him direct a solo Batman movie, but I’m also very excited to see what Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson have in store. That said, I hope that maybe one day we’ll learn even more about the film Affleck almost made. In the meantime, The Batman is set to hit theaters on March 4, 2022.

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