Stop us if you’ve heard this one before… because, we know, you’ve almost certainly heard this a lot in recent months.
It is once again being reported – by a very credible outlet – that Ben Affleck will not appear in ‘The Batman,’ the upcoming DC solo movie currently being developed by ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ director Matt Reeves.
It is reported that, much like ‘The Joker,’ upcoming Batman solo movie ‘The Batman’ is intended to be a largely “standalone” effort not too closely associated with the wider DC Extended Universe chronology. THR also state that, “according to sources,” Ben Affleck will not be in ‘The Batman,’ although it is acknowledged that Warners/DC have continuously denied he will be replaced.
If this claim is accurate, does this mean that – as with ‘The Joker,’ which is expected to recast the lead whilst Jared Leto continues to play the role in other DC Extended Universe movies – Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’ will be a side project casting a different actor in the role whilst Ben Affleck remains the DCEU Batman? This might be a possibility, as THR claim Warner Bros intend “to launch a separate label for these projects to distinguish them from the rest of the DC films.”
Alternatively, does it mean that – as has been widely speculated for a while – Affleck’s time as Batman is as good as over, and he will make his final appearance as the iconic DC superhero in the upcoming ‘Justice League?’
In case you’re struggling to keep up, word first got around that Affleck was poised to relinquish the cowl in July, just prior to San Diego Comic Con – although there had been gossip to this effect long before, dating all the way back to the 2016 release of ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ the unexpectedly negative reaction that film inspired, and the ensuing Sad Affleck meme.
The fact that Affleck’s role in ‘The Batman’ was being continuously downsized (initially he had been attached to write and direct, as well as star) seemed to support the notion that his heart simply wasn’t in the project.
However, Affleck strenuously denied these claims at SDCC, telling the crowd he was “the luckiest guy in the world” for playing Batman. Notably, he also seemed to emphasise his continued involvement in ‘The Batman’ in particular: “I know there’s this misconception that because I’m not directing it, maybe I wasn’t enthusiastic about it. It’s f***ing amazing… I would be a f***ing ape on the ground for Matt Reeves.”
Subsequently, reports have gone back and forth on the matter. In mid-August, Ben Affleck’s brother Casey Affleck claimed he would not make ‘The Batman,’ which studio sources later denied.
Once again, we cannot say with any certainty whether these most recent claims that Affleck is out are true – but the fact that they come from so reliable a source as The Hollywood Reporter should give significant pause.
Whatever happens, we’ll see Affleck as Batman at least once more in the upcoming ‘Justice League,’ opening 17 November.