Despite crazy Internet backlash over his decision to suit up as the dark knight in the upcoming "Superman vs. Batman" film, Ben Affleck must be breathing a small sigh of relief over one thing. He no longer has to worry about pulling off "The Stand." 

Warner Bros., searching for a new franchise after the last "Harry Potter" film bowed, selected Affleck in October 2011 to adapt and direct a three-film version of Stephen King's 1000+ page post-apocalyptic novel. The book centers around a deadly airborne virus that wipes out most of humanity, leaving survivors to choose between camps of good and evil, and rebuild what's left of society.

As recently as last November, and as no surprise to anyone who has ever read the book, the 41-year-old admitted he was having trouble wrapping his head around the project

"Right now we're having a very hard time," he told GQ of him and writer David Kajganich's efforts to condense the 1163-page novel. "But I like the idea—it's like The Lord of the Rings in America. And it's about how we would reinvent ourselves as a society. If we started all over again, what would we do?"

With Batman now clearly in his future plans, Warner Bros. has selected director Scott Cooper to take over the reins on "The Stand." The 42-year-old is best-known for writing, directing and producing the 2009 film Crazy Heart; for which actor Jeff Bridges won the Academy Award for Best Actor. 

According to Deadline, Cooper is currently developing "Creek" with Leonardo DiCaprio - with his next film, "Out Of The Furnace", set to premiere December 6th. 

As for when we can expect the first "Stand" film to premiere is anyone's guess - with even Stephen King recently saying how hard it would be to bring to the big screen. 

"You absolutely can’t make it as a two-hour movie," he told Entertainment Weekly. "If it was a trilogy of films…maybe." As for the visual translation, he has more optimism. "Historically speaking, movie studios blow the budget on things like this, so maybe it’ll be fun to look at. The dough certainly isn’t going to me, although if it is a trilogy, and if it makes a lot of money, I might be able to buy a chicken dinner at Popeye’s. Great slaw!"

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Ben Affleck no longer directing Stephen King's 'The Stand'
Warner Bros. replaces the newly-announced Batman with 'Crazy Heart' director Scott Cooper