A good deal of what would’ve been Ben Affleck’s The Batman remains a mystery, but many fans – Snyderverse supporters and detractors alike – want to see it materialize one day, if only out of curiosity. One of those people is somebody who worked on it and had previously worked alongside Zack Snyder in his crafting of the DCEU.
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That person is Man of Steel storyboard artist Jay Oliva and he is giving his superlative assessment of the Batfleck screenplay he saw during development, though he’s sworn to secrecy about what was in it. “I can’t really say too much other than it was f–king awesome,” Oliva told Inverse in a recent interview. “It was the best. It was amazing.”
You don’t get much more emphatic or impressed than that, but Oliva didn’t stop there and revealed more. “From my understanding, there were a couple of drafts of it,” he added. “When I was brought on, I don’t know whether it was the second draft or something, but it was what Geoff Johns and Ben [Affleck] had shown me.”
As a part-time consultant on DC projects with knowledge of lore and history, he was struck by the elements he found in the script. “I’ve worked on a lot of Batman things and what was really cool about it was, it was tying together a lot of really cool Batman storylines that had never been really explored,” he said.
“Maybe someday I can spill the beans,” Oliva clarified, “but I still can’t talk about it.”
Continuing, the artist cryptically revealed Affleck was going further than any filmmaker or adaptation had before in the character’s existence. “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,” Oliva explained.
“It was very clever and there were a lot of things about it that I really loved that I wish…had come to fruition,” Oliva said. “It was a really great project in the beginning.” Affleck taking a leave of absence due to a relapse helped move the project in a different direction under Matt Reeves we can look back on via Max and digital VOD.
Oliva recalled, “Ben had to step away for personal reasons, and I totally understood, but the time that I spent with Ben working on the project was fantastic.”
As high as his praise is and as fond as his memories are, the Batman multiverse we could’ve had was brushed aside by James Gunn. Thus, Affleck’s solo Batman isn’t likely to ever happen now.
In fact, Affleck told The Hollywood Reporter he had no intention of working under James Gunn at DC Studios. When asked, “So if DC Came to you now and and said, ‘Do you want to direct something?’ Affleck replied, “I would not direct something for the [James] Gunn DC. Absolutely not.”
He elaborated, “I have nothing against James Gunn. Nice guy, sure he’s going to do a great job. I just wouldn’t want to go in and direct in the way they’re doing that. I’m not interested in that.”
What do you make of Oliva’s comments? Would you have wanted to see Affleck’s Batman film?