As Warner Bros. heads out to Comic Con to promote the DC Expanded Universe’s upcoming Justice League, it seems that all is not well in the corporate camp. The Hollywood Reporter is quoting an as yet unnamed source as having stated that Warner Bros. plans to do away with Ben Affleck as The Batman in the near future.
While the exact reason for this is unclear, the actor’s age is currently cited as being the strongest. Affleck was 43 when he took on the mantle of The Caped Crusader in the DCEU and will be approaching 50 by the time the solo Batman movie helmed by Matt Reeves hits theaters. Compared to his co-stars Henry Cavill (34), Gal Gadot (35) and Ezra Miller (24), that’s quite old, feel the executives. While older actors have successfully played superheroes with the best example right now being 51 year old Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, the head honchos at Warner would likely be looking to cast someone much younger in the role.
What’s interesting though is that this change in casting will be addressed in the continuity for the DCEU. That is, there will be an in-universe reason as to why Ben Affleck leaves his responsibilities as The Dark Knight and gracefully passes on the mantle to someone else. Either that or he could be killed off (a move that sounds unlikely though).
While it would be sad to see Affleck go (he was after all, one of the redeeming qualities of last year’s otherwise critically panned Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), should the change in role be done this way, it would be a first of sorts in Batman’s cinematic history. The closest we came to this happening was in the Christopher Nolan movies towards the end of The Dark Knight Rises although that didn’t come to materialize in a follow-up movie. Of course this is still an unnamed source at this stage and it could all turn out to be false but the coverage it has received lends some element of credibility to it. And the fact that Affleck’s age has to do with this sounds a bit odd – after all, he was chosen precisely to play a world weary version of The Caped Crusader who has served Gotham for well over two decades. We can’t really say for sure at this stage if this rumor will come to pass though and we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.
The next Batman movie, after much troubles and in-and-out directorial discussions with Ben Affleck is now being helmed by Matt Reeves who apparently has started thinking in terms of a full blown trilogy. Justice League hits theaters on Nov 17, 2017 while the untitled Batman flick (for now referred to as The Batman) does not have a concrete release date although 2019 is what is being hinted at.