Ben Affleck will once again don Batman’s cowl in Justice League this November, but it could also be the last time we see his version of the iconic character. There’s been speculation for months that Affleck was unhappy with Batman vs. Superman and in January, he announced that he would be stepping down from directing the stand alone film The Batman for Warner Brothers. When Matt Reves (War for the Planet of the Apes) was brought on to direct the film. he revealed that he would be working off a brand new script and would not be using the one created by Affleck and Geoff Johns.
And now, the day before Affleck will appear at San Diego Comic-Con to promote Justice League, The Hollywood Reporter is claiming that Warner Brothers 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.” Warner Brothers is still publicly standing behind the actor as studio chief Toby Emmerich tells THR, “Ben is our Batman. We love him as Batman. We want to keep him in the cowl as long as we can.”
THR isn’t reporting on why Affleck would be leaving the DCEU, but Affleck may not be up to staring in Reves planned trilogy of films. Playing a major superhero in an interconnected universe, shooting cameos for other films, supporting roles in others, would set a grueling pace that Affleck may not be interested in pursuing. Especially since he revealed earlier this year he was seeking treatment for alcohol abuse, and wanted to spend more time on his personal life. Affleck is turning 45 next month, so he would be in his mid to late 50’s by the time Reve’s planned films are complete. Compare Affleck’s age to the rest of his Justice League cast: Superman is played by Henry Cavill, 34, The Flash is Ezra Miller, 24, Aquaman is Jason Momoa, 37, and Wonder Woman is 32-year-old Gal Gadot.) And a second Justice League movie would be years down the road. THR reported Thursday that Shazam!, with a yet-to-be-cast title star, will be the next DC movie to shoot.
So if Affleck leaves or is pushed out, what are the options? Batman is a huge tent pole character for the studio, so there will be a demand for someone else to take on the cowl. Do they go with a younger Batman and have the stand alone films set in the past? Do they introduce Nightwing and have Affleck pass the mantle? Batman v. Superman suggested that there was a Robin, but doesn’t go into much detail. There have been 8 actors that have played Batman on screen and in film, so it’s not without precedent to have another actor take on the cowl. What are your thoughts on Affleck possibly leaving? If he does leave, who would you like to see take on the iconic role in the DCEU?