For weeks now, rumors have been swirling as to whether or not Ben Affleck will be staying on as Batman in the DCEU. Yet, it all started when Affleck stepped down as director for the upcoming “The Batman,” and Matt Reeves (“War For The Planet Of The Apes“) consequently took over. Affleck has also been going through his own personal problems, which led to him recently leaving J.C. Chandor‘s “Triple Frontier.” Add to the fact that “Batman vs Superman” was met with excoriating reviews and his last directorial effort, “Live By Night,” landed like a forgettable dud, it seems like Affleck probably needs to take a breather. Of course, it’s hard to relax when the Warner Bros. counts on you being their Batman.
The rumors came back with a vengeance earlier this summer when a THR article reported that Warner is “working on plans to usher out Affleck’s Batman,” and that they plan to do it as an in-universe plot point in “some shape or form.” They wanted it to be done “gracefully,” and perhaps even before “The Batman,” the solo film that at one point Affleck was writing, directing, and starring in.
At Comic Con however, Affleck spoke enthusiastically about playing the Batman and the iconic character, but failed to explicitly deny or even address whether he’s leaving the role or not. “Let me be very clear. Batman is the coolest part in any f’n universe, DC, Marvel. It’s incredible. I’m so thrilled to do it,” he said.
That quelled the speculation for a few weeks, however, now comes news from Casey Affleck, Ben’s younger brother, saying he thinks his bro isn’t doing “The Batman.” Or, at least, awkwardly implying it by telling the Dork podcast crew on WEEI Sports Radio Network, “He’s not gonna do that movie. I don’t think.” And then, possibly realizing his mistake, saying “Is that breaking news? I was kind of making that up?” Was he really though? Bad joke? A backpedal to squash a big story before it ran out of control? We’ll soon see.
The full quote goes: “Um… I thought he was an okay Batman. As far as… Nah, he was great. He’s a hero, so he had something to channel and work with there. But he’s not going to do that movie, I don’t think.” The interviewers pounce a little bit, suggesting they have a scoop, at which point Affleck sort of pivots away.
But it’s all adding up to a narrative that won’t help WB. While “Wonder Woman” course-corrected the narrative somewhat this summer, the DCEU has been in trouble since the beginning. This is, of course, the very reason why Affleck allegedly wanted out of the role, plus the expectations have been overwhelming; this is not what the director and Academy Award-winner signed up for.
Warner Bros. certainly never wanted the news of Affleck allegedly leaving the role to get out, but clearly there are leakers within the walls of WB, the agencies and the businesses that revolve around the heavy machinery that is a DC Films superhero movie. Time will tell what’s next for him in the DCEU, though credible speculation posits that Batman will be eased out of the role in “The Flash: Flashpoint,” a movie that plays with alternate dimensions and time— but many signs are pointing for his departure at some point. Here’s the video from the interview via CBN — you can watch Affleck talk “The Batman” at the 6:35 mark.
Casey Affleck just told me that Ben Affleck will NOT be in "The Batman."
— #DORK (@DORKpodcast) August 15, 2017