The end of the Bat-fleck era might be nigh.
Following reports that longtime Batman actor Ben Affleck wouldn’t reprise his role as the Dark Knight in director Matt Reeves’ The Batman, new details regarding Affleck’s connection to — and inevitable departure from, it seems — the DC Extended Universe have surfaced.
The Hollywood Reporter details that Reeves completed the first act of his screenplay for The Batman, turning it in to studio Warner Bros. over the Memorial Day weekend in late May. According to the outlet, The Batman focuses on the titular hero in his early days — “a young caped crusader” that Affleck likely won’t play. Warner Bros. didn’t comment on the report.
Affleck’s status as Batman in the DCEU has been wishy-washy for over a year, first shining bright when he was set to flex his triple-threat talents as the writer, director, and star of The Batman and later dimming after Affleck split his time between completing a few rounds of scriptwriting on the project and filming DC’s Justice League. He formally announced his exit as director of The Batman in January of 2017, explaining that he realized he couldn’t be both behind the camera directing and in front of it acting without one job suffering in quality. “Performing this role demands focus, passion, and the very best performance I can give,” Affleck stated at the time. “It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require.”
Reeves, known for directing Cloverfield, Let Me In, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes, stepped in to take the directing reins from Affleck — a move that should have smoothed over any small troubles but actually ended up making things more complicated. After Reeves was confirmed as the director of The Batman, Affleck’s connection to the project got stamped with multiple big, fat question marks. At one point, it was reported that it was “highly unlikely” Affleck would be involved with The Batman; Affleck also once stated that he was only “contemplating” doing the film.
Affleck’s brother, fellow actor Casey Affleck, cast additional doubt when he claimed Ben wasn’t involved in The Batman at all. Although Casey’s representatives backpedaled and stated that the creative was “just having fun,” his words raised concerns that Ben had potentially been discussing with his family his plans to ditch the Batman cowl for good.
If THR‘s report is to be believed, The Batman centering around a younger version of the vigilante essentially guarantees that Affleck won’t star. And unless Warner Bros. decides to use some cutting-edge cocktail of live-action performance and CGI to make Affleck look more youthful, another age-appropriate actor will take his place. Looks like fans should prepare to bid Bat-fleck a final goodbye in any case.