What happens in Gotham stays in Gotham... or not, it seems.
One day after Ben Affleck announced that he will no longer direct The Batman, prompting a search for the perfect director to replace him, a journalist for Forbes magazine has speculated that Affleck may quit playing the Caped Crusader after the solo Batman film is done — or even before.
The article notes that Affleck's departure as director has been rumored for several weeks, long before he went on television to reassure the world that the script for his solo Batventure was coming on just fine:
"I was told several weeks ago by a variety of sources that Ben Affleck was probably going to walk away as director, and that his departure was more likely than anyone would publicly admit. I was concerned, but felt reassured when I got other information conflicting with those dire warnings."
Clearly, those warnings had basis in fact, and now Affleck is done with directing this movie. That in itself is not a problem that can't be overcome by hiring another director (there are plenty out there who'd kill to direct a Batman movie).
What's more interesting, and potentially a massive blow for the #DCEU, is that the writer believes the stories his insider sources shared with him may also result in Affleck walking away from the role completely:
"Unfortunately, among the things I heard about his departure as director, I heard a few specifics that — if true — lead me to worry there is at least a chance Affleck could also walk away from starring in the picture. I don’t feel those concerns are as likely to bear fruit, and I still expect Affleck will finish the screenplay as planned and then start prepping for the role by getting into “Batman shape” to ensure he’s physically and mentally prepared for the role. That said, I do believe there’s a chance now that Affleck could depart the project as an actor, winding up merely serving as cowriter and producer."
Considering the DCEU is just beginning to come together with #JusticeLeague, that would be a seismic turn of events that could present this universe with a massive problem — Affleck is the biggest star of Justice League and Batman is the single most important character DC has, hence his solo film being fast-forwarded and his own cameos in Suicide Squad and, if rumors are to believed, Wonder Woman.
Forbes journalist, Mark Hughes, does go on to say that he believes Affleck will star in The Batman, but that there's a higher chance that may be his final turn as the Bat:
"Even assuming he does star in The Batman, I think the odds Affleck might walk away from the DCU after the film have increased."
Nobody can or should speculate about what's going on in Affleck's head, but the talented actor-director juggling the DCEU juggernaut with his other projects (like his passion project Live By Night, which got some scathing critical reviews and bombed at the box office) may have changed his perspective on the massive, full-time commitment of being Batman — and with the prospect of another huge Justice League sequel to shoot in the next couple of years, nobody could blame Affleck if he did choose to walk away completely.
As if the news wasn't already bleak enough, Hughes reckons that The Batman will no longer arrive in 2018 and cites persistent rumors that the script Affleck had been attempting to perfect is nowhere near good enough right now. Justice League 2, he says, may be off the cards in the immediate future. You can read the article in full right here. Right now, it seems like the DCEU could be in major trouble.
Oh, the joys of being a DC fan.
Do you believe Ben Affleck will walk away from Batman completely, or is it too early to start freaking out?