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Release date for 'The Batman' likely to be pushed back due to director's other project

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The high-profile troubles with The Batman solo movie don't seem like they will be ending anytime soon, as the film's 2018 release date now appears to be in jeopardy.

It’s been one problem after another for Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero universe, and it appears that trend will continue — particularly when it comes to the Dark Knight’s upcoming solo film, The Batman.

A new, unconfirmed report indicates that the troubled film — which already changed directors unexpectedly and is plagued by rumors that it could also lose star Ben Affleck — will likely have both its production schedule and release date pushed back on the studio’s calendar. Previously expected to begin filming this year for a 2018 premiere, filming on The Batman now reportedly won’t start until 2018, likely delaying its arrival in theaters until 2019 at the earliest.

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The report comes from Variety’s Justin Kroll, who indicated on Twitter that new director Matt Reeves is contracted to work on his upcoming film War for the Planet of the Apes through the end of June, making it impossible to begin production on The Batman until much later this year. Reeves’ commitments to War for the Planet of the Apes pushes back the timeline for meeting with potential cast members of The Batman and the film’s creative team, making a 2018 start for filming more likely.

Kroll added that this development also likely debunks any casting rumors that circulate between now and the end of the summer.

The latest report comes on the heels of The Batman star Ben Affleck announcing that he had recently completed treatment for alcohol addiction. Affleck was expected to direct the film until he suddenly vacated the director’s chair a few months ago

I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I've dealt with in the past and will continue to confront. …

Posted by Ben Affleck on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess when The Batman will actually hit theaters, given all of the setbacks this project and so many other movies in the studio’s DC Comics superhero movie universe have faced leading up to and during their production (and after release, in many cases).

Currently set to bring back Affleck as Batman after his debut in the much-maligned Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and his return in the upcoming Justice LeagueThe Batman will also feature True Blood actor Joe Manganiello as the villain Deathstroke, as well as Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. The script for the film recently received a rewrite from Oscar-winning Argo writer Chris Terrio, after the initial draft was penned by Affleck and veteran DC Comics writer Geoff Johns.

Affleck will next appear as Batman in Justice League, which hits theaters November 17.