After spending pretty much the entirety of Live by Night’s press tour being asked about The Batman, it has been confirmed today that Ben Affleck is no longer set to direct that movie.

It’s disappointing news when you think back to what he delivered with the likes of Argo and The Town, but on the plus side, he will remain on as a producer and as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said in a statement addressing his decision to step out of the director’s chair. “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.”

According to Variety, this had nothing to do with the poor critical and commercial response to Live by Night, though seeing as Affleck squeezed that in between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, him now wanting to step back and reassess in order to avoid delivering another disappointment does make sense. The anticipation surrounding The Batman is massive, and if he were to drop the ball on that, it would be cataclysmic for him.

Interestingly, the hunt for a new director has already begun and War for the Planet of the Apes helmer Matt Reeves is said to be on the shortlist. For now, we just wait and see…