Ben Affleck has been sending SOS signals with his eyes pretty much from the moment he agreed to become WB’s new Batman, and his professional and personal life have fallen apart ever since, effectively erasing the near decade of hard work he put in to rehabbing his image and career through Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo. Instead, he has again become a cultural punchline and frequent star of salacious tabloid stories about his extramarital affairs and frequent bouts with alcoholism. The best you could say about him is that his performance as Batman isn’t all that bad (even if he’s stuck playing the character in Zack Snyder movies), and The Accountant appears to be getting a sequel. However, Affleck’s had the look of a man who’s wanted out of the superhero game for some time now.

It is thus with no sense of surprise whatsoever that I pass along THR‘s report that Affleck’s future as Batman is currently up in the air:

A source with knowledge of the situation says that the studio 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. Exactly when and how that might happen has yet to be determined, but it would be wise to bet against Affleck starring in The Batman.

Oh, The Batman? You mean that movie Affleck was originally going to direct (before dropping out and being replaced by Matt Reeves) and write (before Reeves decided to ignore Affleck and Geoff Johns’ script in favor of simply starting from scratch and plotting out an entire trilogy)? Now Affleck might not even star in it? Shocking [sarcasm intended].

After Batman v Superman came out, there was considerable pressure on WB to fast-track The Batman and give us the solo Batman movie Affleck and Jeremy Irons (his Alfred) deserved if only to erase the bad taste of BvS from our mouths. Instead, Affleck continually dragged his feet, plugging away at a script which never seemed to come together to anyone’s satisfaction. A charitable reading of the situation applauded Affleck’s efforts to wait until his script was ready rather than rushing into something and hoping for the best (because that worked out so well for BvS and Suicide Squad).

However, Affleck’s intransigence coupled with his crumbling personal life painted a picture of a man in turmoil, possibly looking for any way out of the mess he’d gotten himself into. He’s focused his efforts on improving Justice League on the fly throughout production while also gradually dropping out of project after project to lighten his workload for the foreseeable future.

It’s arguable he only ever agreed to play Batman because it came with the promise that he’d eventually get to direct either Justice League or The Batman while also working with WB to finance passion projects, like Live By Night, he could make in-between his superhero movies. None of that has gone according to plan, with other people now directing JL and Batman and Live By Night receiving the worst reviews and lowest box office of Affleck’s directorial career (a paltry $10m domestic gross).

Now WB is figuring out how to let him go, exploring whether or not to simply kill him off and replace him with another actor (who could be playing Dick Grayson or any of the other characters who’ve temporarily become Batman in the comics) or recast the role. It’s a move Affleck might have desired from the moment he turned into a “Sound of Silence” internet meme, but it’s one WB might not have toyed with before Spider-Man: Homecoming proved you can reboot these marquee characters at a historic pace and not be punished for it at the box office.

Really, after Daredevil Affleck should have known better, but the biggest compliment to him is that if this hasty departure does come to pass it will leave us wanting more because there is a good Batman movie to be made with him. Perhaps he’ll stick around long enough to do a hand off to a Dick Grayson or Terry McGinnis. Or maybe WB will squash this news at SDCC this weekend. But it used to be true that the only thing the DCEU had going for it was Affleck’s surprisingly decent turn as the Caped Crusader. Then Wonder Woman came along. Suddenly this cinematic universe has someone else to build around.

What do you hope happens? Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: Now comes the denial.

Here’s what Ben Affleck just told everyone in Hall H at Comic-Con:

“Let me be very clear,” Affleck said Saturday during Warner Bros.’ Comic-Con panel, “I am the luckiest guy in the world. Batman is the coolest part in the universe. I’m so thrilled to do it. It’s fucking amazing.” He intends to keep playing the part and remain attached to the DCEU.

Source: THR

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

21 Comments

  1. Actually, I think Ben’s BATMAN is as good as any of them and better than most. It’s his Bruce Wayne that really, really suffers. He’s a terrible Bruce. I thought he was fine in the cowl, though.

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  2. I did like him as The Accountant. That was a good fit, I though.

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    1. He’s oddly a better Batman in The Accountant than he is in Batman v Superman.

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  3. I enjoyed his Batman. He did well with what he had, and while there were some weak points with Batman V Superman, I didn’t find him to be one of them. That, and I really liked him in the Justice League trailers.

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    1. There is a slight chance they might simply keep him around as old Batman in the JL movies and go with a younger actor for the Matt Reeves Batman trilogy, framing those as flashback adventures. However, then they’d have 2 Batmans and that seems too complicated. So, despite how good Affleck is in the movies it’s more likely that he gets written our or recast, that is, of course, if THR’s report is to be trusted. It comes from Kim Masters, and she’s kind of a legend in entertainment journalism and is usually on point with these kinds of things.

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  4. I still kind of wish that Warner would simply start from the scratch….

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    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people at WB feel the same way.

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    2. I wish the same thing. I feel like they are still trying to ride on Christopher Nolan’s Batman success, with the tone of the films and all, and it just isn’t working. Start over. Begin again.

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      1. no no no. no reboot of batman please. would rather stick pins in my eyes than watch another actor talk about his parents being murdered and being inspired to done a bat like costume. jeez just make a batgirl movie or nightwing or try green lantern again. Honestly had enough or origins. Maybe time warner brothers did a tv series like gotham but proper. God how much imagination do you lack to want to reboot? Police academy 8 or spy kids 6 perhaps?

      2. First, no need to be rude. Second, I’m not saying that I WANT the reboot. What I’m saying is that, if WB is going to continue just making Batman movies, maybe don’t skid by with them. Don’t rely on the success The Dark Knight trilogy had. Switch it up. Make one with a different tone. That’s all.

      3. With these kinds of things there’s a lot of raging against the machine, but the truth is that in Hollywood’s current business model these things will continue to be made until they cease being profitable. Even then, history shows Hollywood will try to power through that and crank out a couple more until the profitability issue becomes a recurring concern.

        So, Batman movies will keep getting made, and I think your reaction is probably the most constructive. You have to acknowledge the inevitability of it all, and simply hope for something new in the confines of the familiar. A good movie is a good movie, and can cut through cynicism and fatigue. Just look at the way Spider-Man: Homecoming is winning over so many people who swore they were sick to death with Spider-Man movies. They did something different this time with him. Sadly, that’s actually what WB is trying with Affelck’s Batman as well, i.e., making him an older dude close to the end of his Batman days (although there’s obviously a Dark Knight Rises similarity there). It’s just that they did so in the body of a Nolan-aping Snyder movie.

      4. They could very well be mulling it over, considering that Flash’s movie is apparently going to be called Flashpoint meaning they are now building up to a continuity-altering event. However, because of Wonder Woman’s success they can’t simply start completely over anymore, and while they seem to be aware of the negative reaction to Suicide Squad the movie still made enough money that they’re moving forward with a sequel. Still, they have some wiggle room because they aren’t actually committed to anything they can’t back out of other than Justice League and Aquaman. Everything else can be canceled because they haven’t started filming yet or don’t even have directors signed up. But they’re not going to do that. They’re probably going to continue their attempts to adjust on the fly and make their films more Marvel-like, even though WW’s success is partially down to how dissimilar it mostly feels to any recent Marvel or DC movie other than First Avenger and Thor and then as far back as the 70s Superman. Their biggest hit is also their most unabashedly sincere film.

      5. Flashpoint didnt really do well for the flash tv show

      6. Yeah, Flashpoint was a joke on the Flash show. It was literally one episode and “everything’s back to normalish” followed by a season-long game of “and now we deal with something else Barry inadvertently caused with Flashpoint.” However, it did its job of educating the potential filmgoing audience of Flash TV viewers as to what exactly Flashpoint is. So, now they’ll know when the movies do the same thing. Whether that works in the film’s favor or against it remains to be seen. I would think the latter (e.g., Oh, that stupid thing the TV show did? Why should I care about the movies doing it now?).

      7. Ooh cant wait to watch a movie that causes flashpoint to then rest all future movies only to fo back to normal but with changes o didnt want. Here hollywood burn my money now. Hmm whats on netflix?

  5. Should have kept michael caine and bale. People wouldnt have hated batman vs superman then. Do we need another batman movie? All the best villains have been done which arguably defines each movie. I personally dont want a revoot. Batman has been rebooted far more than any other hero. Maybe focus on nightwing od something. Let aflect finish justice leavue and kill bats off ala dark knight returns. Heart attack or something

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    1. I love the idea that after all his adventures and battles the thing that would get Batman would be a heart attack. It’s so anticlimactic, yet so perfect.

      I don’t want yet another reboot either. Affleck just told Comic-Con that he’s not leaving the DCEU (and I updated the article with his quote), and I hope he’s telling the truth because a series of movies featuring an older Batman would at least be something different (although Nolan touched on it in Dark Knight Rises). Even if he’s lying, though, and is indeed on his way out just move on to someone else taking on the Batman persona. We can’t keep rebooting this thing, can we?

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      1. No we cant. Im not sure how ekse to stage a protest. Box office seats are dwindling enough. We can only tell the younger generations to stream christopher nolan versions and tim burton versions and even for a laugh joel schumacher ones. Problem is hollywood will just give up on batman altogether rather than reframe it like they did with apes. Greg white what do you think? Or are you still harping on about Quantum Leap?

      2. LOL about your QL comment….

        What if Sam leapt into Batman? “[Gruff voice] I’m Batman! [Sam’s voice] Batman? Oh boy.

      3. Lol good impression. You nailed it KK.

  6. Not meaning to be rude. Just cant stand idea of another retelling. Dont mix it up or it will fial try something different. Deadpool for example

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