(Warning: The following contains multiple giant, hulking SPOILERS for next year's Justice League movie, garnered from a recent set visit. Proceed with whatever level of Bat-like caution that suggests to you is wise...)
Now, there are a whole lot of things that you expect to happen on a set visit to a movie like DC's upcoming Justice League. You expect to be shuttled around from place to place to see concept art, talk to key behind-the-scenes creatives and watch a little filming. You expect to maybe, if you're lucky, ask a few questions of one of the cast members. If you're me, you definitely expect to accidentally fall over something important, and most likely inadvertently break the Batmobile.
What you don't so much expect, though, is that you're going to stand in a crowd of journalists, talking to Batman. And yet, that's what happened during the afore-mentioned visit, when a fully-in-costume Ben Affleck wandered over to our visiting pack of journalists, and cheerfully decided to answer a whole bunch of questions.
What's more, as it turns out...
Ben Affleck Revealed Some Huge Justice League Details
All the while looking like Batman, and good-naturedly goofing around like...well, the exact opposite of Batman.
Below, then, are eleven of the most exciting things he just revealed.
11. Batman Is Set To Be A Lot Funnier In Justice League
As Affleck put it:
"There’s a little more sardonic humor, a little more irony. He’s a little bit more of a man on a mission this time, as opposed to – y’know, he was so full of anger because of what happened at the Black Zero event last time, and that kind of colored the whole character with rage that possessed him. Now he’s on a mission to get this group together, y’know, to constitute this league. More of that sort of Bruce Wayne wry, ironic, gallows humor stuff comes out. He’s not like ‘ha-ha jokey’, but it is a little bit of his sort of darker humor stuff."
Which is a) great to hear for anyone who loves a quippier Batman than we saw in Batman v Superman, and b) seemingly a common theme for the movie. Y'see...
10. It Sounds As Though Justice League As A Whole Is Set Be More "Fun"
Quoth the Batman:
"There’s definitely room for more humor… These DC movies are I think by their nature still a little bit more gothic – or a little more mythic, rather, excuse me – than some comic-book movies are, but [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice] was a heavy dark movie. It was really rooted in Dark Knight Returns which is a heavy dark book, and this is not that. This is a step sort of in evolution from that, about bringing together all these characters who’ve had their origins and it’s about multilateralism and it’s about hope and it’s about working together and the kind of conflicts that you have trying to work together with others. It’s a world with all these other superheroes that exist so there’s comedy that goes in that necessarily, y’know, trying to work with other people… People trying to accomplish goals together is the root of all great comedy in my view, so there’s definitely hopefully some fun in it, but it’s recognizably these characters and these stories – it’s not turning it upside down."
Which is sure to be music to the ears of anyone who struggled with Batman v Superman's gloomier tone.
9. Batman Is Going To Have To Learn To Play Well With Others
And not, y'know, just Alfred. As Affleck argued:
"That’s the interesting thing about this Batman, is that on the one hand he’s sort of the ultimate loner, and on the other hand he’s tasked with putting together a group, so is like the guy who basically broods in a cave all day really the best person suited to put together a team of superheroes? He doesn’t have huge success initially - he rubs some people the wrong way, they rub him the wrong way. He’s got to learn how to play well with others. He barely knows how to play well with Alfred."
8. The Flash May Be Taking On A More Robin-Like Role
In fact, having been asked whether Ezra Miller's (notably light-hearted) take on The Flash could be interpreted as a sign that he'd play a similarly 'sidekick-y; role in the movie to Robin in the comic-books, Affleck was surprisingly in agreement:
"There’s a quality to what Ezra does that is young and fun and full of life and excited about what they’re doing that’s so in contrast to who Batman is, that there’s a little bit of that natural yin and yang to playing scenes with him, so – there’s not the ward aspect to it, but there is kind of a little bit of the mentor. Of course you’ll probably ask Ezra and he’ll be like ‘fuck that, he’s not my mentor’. But yeah, I think there is, a little bit, and it’s fun to play, definitely. What does Batman do around a guy who’s really excited and positive all the time, y’know what I mean? It’s not his natural state of being, so that’s really fun."
Though, y'know, don't expect Miller to actually become the boy wonder or anything...
7. It Sounds Like Batman Is 'The World's Greatest Detective' Again
Something which, from the sounds of it, could be even more obvious in Batman's forthcoming (Affleck directed) solo movie:
"The ‘world’s greatest detective’ aspect of Batman is more present in this story than it was in the last one, and would probably be expanded upon further in a Batman movie that I would do. I think all the great Batman stories are at their heart detective stories."
In fact, speaking of Batman's solo movie...
6. Affleck Won't Make A Solo Movie Until The Script Is Ready
As he put it:
"I think they [DC] have a date for it. I don’t know that I would necessarily be able to make that date because I don’t have a script that’s ready yet. My timetable is just that I’m not going to make the movie until there’s a script that I think is good. On the end of things, when you make movies with a script that’s not good yet, it doesn’t pan out."
"I have a script, we’re still working on it, and I’m not happy enough with it yet to actually go out there and make a Batman movie which I would have the highest standards [for], I would say. It’s something that would have to pass a very high bar for me, it’s not just like ‘yeah, this might be fun.'"
Which would, it seems, suggest that Batman's solo movie might not be arriving quite as soon as we were hoping.
5. It Sounds As Though Batman Is In A Better Place Emotionally Nowadays
As Affleck put it:
"Definitely in the last movie, Batman went to like a very dark place that was rooted in this trauma that occurred to the people that he loved and worked with and what he saw [in Metropolis], and this really is not about that issue for him so much anymore. He’s no longer extreme in that way. He’s kind of, from the experiences of the last movie, sort of learned some things I think. He’s wanting to redeem himself, and he’s wanting mankind to be redeemed, and he’s wanting to make the world better, having learned lessons that were important in the last movie."
Even going on to note that:
"This is now not a guy at the end of his rope, but in a way a guy at the beginning again. Starting over, reborn, and believing and finding hope. The thing that he’s hopeful for he’s hanging on to desperately, and he really believes in this idea of forming this group."
A more 'fun' Batman, perhaps? Though, admittedly, one who is very much aware of his own weaknesses. Y'see:
4. It Seems Batman Knows That He's "Out Of His League" With Aliens
Or, in Affleck's words:
"I think ‘they’re getting to old for this shit’, or like ‘I need help with this shit.’ This is like ‘guys, we’re getting way out of our league’. It’s definitely stepping up to that level that’s in the comic-books where you have a lot of things from other planets, other super-villains that are way more powerful than your average human being who’s got a batarang and a grappling hook is equipped to deal with."
What's more, that awareness of his own limitations seems to bode well for both the development of the Justice League - and the impact of their opponents:
"So we’re able to explore the powers of these other heroes, and what they can really do, which is, y’know, pretty exceptional too. If you want to be able to use the powers of Flash and Wonder Woman and Cyborg you have to have bad guys that are, y’know, up to snuff."
Though that doesn't mean that there isn't going to be some tension:
3. It Seems That Batman May Not Be The Only Potential Leader For The Team
As Affleck reminded us:
"Aquaman is a very strong character played by a very strong actor with a very strong personality, so he’s not a guy who necessarily, I don’t think, at any time in his life like takes orders from people, y’know? Jason Momoa, he’s got a very strong, stubborn, independent, powerful energy, so it’s not like any of these characters show up and immediately go like ‘yes sir, what should I do Mr Wayne’. It’s like trying to get a lot of disparate people who are used to being very powerful and very independent to try to work together, and it’s about how hard that is… There are some characters that really hit it off with each other, some that don’t hit it off with each other and are almost, y’know, coming to blows, and it’s about trying to contain that… It’s not an easy ride trying to get this group to come together."
Team Aquaman, anyone? Meanwhile...
2. Affleck Revealed Exactly Why He's An Executive Producer On Justice League
And, in fact, revealed a surprising amount about the way DC operates behind the scenes:
"Why I’m an executive producer is because I’m directing another one of the movies, and so there’s some cross-pollination of story and characters and I don’t want to give any of that stuff away, but it just basically means that it’s possible that there might be some things that happen in my Batman [movie] that are affected by [Justice League]... It’s a creative way that DC came up with – both being a filmmaker driven company and entity, and also making sure that the right hand knows what the left is doing, and that there’s collaboration and supervision, and that somebody doesn’t go sailing off, causing problems for your movie with their movie… In a way it’s also kind of a courtesy, you kind of know what they’re doing – one hand knows what the other’s doing – so I get to weigh in on stuff that impacts the Batman stuff."
1. Affleck Opened Up About Geoff Johns' Expanded Role In The DCEU
Specifically, this one. From the sounds of it, though, Affleck and Johns get on just fine:
"Geoff’s a big part of things. DC feels a big part of things… I think Geoff’s a brilliant guy and there’s nobody that knows more - that I know - about comic-books. He’s got great taste, and he’s really super smart and super nice. Jon Berg as well, has a big role. Really this is Zack’s movie –we’re here executing Zack’s vision."
A vision that, from the sounds of it, might just be very different to that we saw in Batman v Superman.
If you still want to hear more about Justice League, though, you can read more about Batman's shiny new batsuit right here, or, y'know, go ahead and take a look at some set visit-revealed details of two new Bat-vehicles.
The big question, though?