Ben Affleck's Batman has become one of the DC Extended Universe's most hotly debated topics. The actor's future in the franchise seemed promising at first, with plans for him to star in two Justice League movies and a standalone Batman film — plus, fans and critics considered him a highlight of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie that he admits was flawed. But all year long, Affleck's commitment to the DCEU has been put into question.
He eventually stepped off as director of The Batman, and shortly after, rumors started swirling around about him leaving the role. Some time later, during 2017's San Diego Comic-Con, a report came out from The Hollywood Reporter, revealing that Warner Bros. was looking to retire Affleck's Batman, and introduce a new version of the character.
Affleck was quick to deny the report during #JusticeLeague's SDCC panel, but fans have been scratching their heads, trying to figure out what was next for the actor's version of the Caped Crusader. Now, we could finally have an answer...
Ben Affleck May Have Just Told Us He's Not Sticking Around As Batman
With Justice League being right around the corner, the film's cast is currently on a worldwide promotional tour to hype up their superhero team-up. Recently, #JasonMomoa, #RayFisher and #BenAffleck sat down for an interview with Extra.
After discussing which of them would like to appear in Saturday Night Live, the topic turned to Affleck's tenure in the DCEU. With three appearances as Bruce Wayne under his belt (Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League), Extra's Mark Wright asked the actor whether he saw himself appearing in at least two more DC movies. Affleck's response was less than enthusiastic:
"I don't know about that... We'll see what the future holds."
Yikes. Now, Affleck wasn't talking about his contract coming to an end, or being in the dark as to what was next for his character plot-wise. It's possible that he misunderstood the question, but going by his tone, it seems clear he isn't really excited to don his signature cape and cowl for much longer.
Update: It Looks Like Affleck Really Doesn't Want To Stay In The DCEU
USA Today wrote an in-depth piece on the road to Justice League, and several of the film's cast members were asked about their current and future place in the DC Extended Universe. One of the actors the site spoke to was Ben Affleck. When asked about his involvement in Matt Reeves's #TheBatman, the actor surprised fans by revealing he wasn't sure of his involvement. Instead, he was thinking of a way to step away from the franchise in a graceful manner:
"The new 'Batman' movie being developed by Matt Reeves is 'something I'm contemplating,' says Affleck, who originally was tapped to direct. 'You don't do it forever, so I want to find a graceful and cool way to segue out of it.'"
If the actor is indeed exiting the DCEU, you're probably wondering when his last appearance as Batman will occur. We don't know much of what's going on behind the scenes right now, but as Affleck teased to USA Today, he could be stepping away from the role sooner rather than later. The aforementioned report from THR stated that Affleck could be out of the DCEU before Matt Reeves's #TheBatman hits theaters:
"A source with knowledge of the situation says that the studio is working on plans to usher out Affleck's Batman — gracefully, addressing the change in some shape or form in one of the upcoming DC films. Exactly when and how that might happen has yet to be determined, but it would be wise to bet against Affleck starring in 'The Batman.'"
Seeing how there are no more plans for #JusticeLeague2, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that this year's Justice League could be Affleck's last outing as the Caped Crusader.
Would The DCEU Be Hurt By Affleck's Departure?
I must stress, this is all speculation, but would the franchise take a hit from his departure? It may sound strange, but probably not. Put your pitchforks down for a second and hear me out. Yes, Affleck's interpretation of the character is quite popular, and a lot of fans have been calling him the best portrayal of Bruce Wayne we've had on screen yet. But here's the thing: his tenure in the franchise has been relatively short.
He's only appeared in three ensemble films (one of which was a cameo appearance) in the span of a year, so he hasn't had the chance to become as synonymous with the hero as, say, Christian Bale, who in comparison spent a whole lot longer in Batman's boots with a trilogy that spanned seven years.
With that in mind, #WarnerBros could probably find another actor to carry on the legacy of the Dark Knight without impacting the flow of the DCEU in a major way. Don't get me wrong, there would be a lot of angry and disappointed fans if Affleck ends up quitting the character, but the hit to DC's superhero universe would probably not be as big as we've thought. And historically, like James Bond, Batman has survived recasting many times.
We'll get to see Ben Affleck defending the universe as Batman when Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017.
How do you feel about Ben Affleck's place in the DCEU? Would you like to see a different Batman on screen? Let me know in the comments!
[Source: USA Today]