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We just couldn’t leave him alone for one goddamn minute, could we?

Ben Affleck will not direct the upcoming DC Extended Universe movie The Batman. By all accounts, he hasn’t been directing it for some time. A couple months ago, he was already growing tired of the constant questions about the script, the delays, the villain, whether it would be better than the execrable Dawn of Justice. Now, it seems, he’s finally had enough. It’s hard to feel upset. He’s free.

Well, kinda. He’s still very much signed on to produce and star in the movie (and even perhaps have a hand in the script). In a statement released last night, Affleck cited the heave demands of both helming and acting in the film as his reason for departure:

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.

That tracks for the most part, but Ben Affleck is absolutely no stranger to pulling double duties in demanding movies. The Town and Argo were tremendous undertakings that he handled with aplomb. It feels more like a polite step back from an increasingly shaky franchise in the Warner Bros./DC Universe.

There’s no word yet on who’ll direct in Affleck’s place, but the smart money is on some kind of safe bet in the vein of an up-and-coming action filmmaker, who will no doubt have Affleck’s considerable influence and experience to back them up (hey, Tim Miller’s not doing an awful lot right now). Still, that’s not stopping people from offering some… pretty tongue-in-cheek nominations:

Now we’re talkin’.

Ah, fuck. It’s gonna happen, isn’t it.

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