A couple of weeks back, when Ben Affleck officially quit as director of The Batman, there was some talk that the man at the centre of the #DCEU would also hang up his cowl and quit playing Batman, either before or after The Batman was made.
Arming a DC fan with a scrap of negative gossip is a bit like upgrading the V12 in Justin Bieber's Lamborghini, or giving the nuclear codes to a tangerine masquerading as the President of the United States — you know it can't end well, but you're morbidly curious enough to stick around and see the horror unfold.
So, at the risk of inciting a heart attack in anyone reading, rumors of Affleck dropping the mic and doing a Gaga into the dead of night appear to be gaining traction.
According to John Campea of Collider, various DC insiders have claimed that Affleck wants to quit immediately, but may be persuaded to return one last time for The Batman (check out the video below, from 17:40, to witness the conversation in full).
Clearly, returning just for The Batman would be a terrible idea — it will be a hit, there will be a sequel, and Warner Bros. will then have a major recasting problem. If the actor really does want out, better to rip that bandaid off right now and recast before the first Batman solo movie, fanboy screams be damned.
With that in mind, and for the sake of playing devil's advocate, let's take a look at three big names who could suit up as the Caped Crusader for the Matt Reeves-directed solo Batman movie.
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1. Idris Elba
Why it could work: Simply put, Idris Elba is one of the most charismatic actors working in Hollywood. His talent is vast — witness the way he gets under the skin of his troubled maverick cop John Luther in the BBC's utterly superb Luther — and he can tap into villainy just as easily as heroics. And he's appropriately ripped.
Elba becoming the Dark Knight would echo the genius casting of Daniel Craig as Bond — an instant revelation guaranteed to transform the character.
Why it might not: Elba would bring his own combination of muscle and suave to the role and it wouldn't look much like Affleck's performance, so if DC want a Batman who doesn't rock the boat, he's not the one. Right now, he's still the MCU's Heimdall, and he may also be on the verge of becoming a certain secret agent, if rumors are to be believed.
2. Colin Farrell
Why it could work: For someone who's been around so long, Farrell is still weirdly underrated in Hollywood, even after brilliant and wildly different turns in The Lobster and Fantastic Beasts over the past year. He has the sense of cool indifference needed for Bruce Wayne, and also the ability to turn on the intensity for Batman. He was an awesome Bullseye in a terrible Daredevil film.
In a perfect universe, he'd actually be cast as John Constantine — but, as we know all too well, the DCEU is not a perfect universe. I'd settle for Batman.
Why it might not: Colin Farrell is not the kind of A-list name which gets asses on seats simply by virtue of being in the movie. He's also not American, although he's solid at accents (and, let's be real, Batman's voice is a revolving door of horrors). To be honest, that's just about it — we're talking minor quibbles here. Farrell would make a brilliant Batman.
For more Batmadness:
- If Ben Affleck Is Done, The DCEU Should Have The Balls To Kill Batman
- Matt Reeves Will Be Wearing The Director's Cape For 'The Batman'
- New 'Batman' Director Will Tear Up Affleck's Script And Start Over
3. Armie Hammer
Why it could work: For months there's been serious speculation about Armie Hammer having been cast in the DCEU (as a villain, apparently), so clearly Warner Bros. are already convinced by his talents. Like Farrell, he's horribly underrated, and was really quite brilliant as a Russian agent with major action skills in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. And he's only 30 — easily young enough to spend a solid decade in the role if it turns out well, just as Christian Bale did.
His physique is perfect, as anybody with eyes can confirm. See Hammer in action below in the trailer for his upcoming action-comedy Free Fire:
And why it might not... Being young is also Hammer's biggest problem. The Bruce Wayne of this universe is supposed to be middle-aged and weary, so Hammer could really only be Batman if the Dark Knight became the vigilante alias of Dick Grayson, rather than Bruce Wayne. Is there as much interest in a Batman who isn't the Batman? Hard to say.
Any of these three brilliant actors could and most likely would kill it if given a cape and the keys to the Batmobile. We'll know soon enough if they have a shot. The Batman has no release date, but is probably on target for 2019.
Who would you cast to take over from the Batfleck?