Ben Affleck’s time as the Caped Crusader may be at an end.
Although studio chief Toby Emmerich has previously stated that he wants to keep Affleck around “as long as we can,” and The Batman director Matt Reeves has claimed that he wants the actor to star in his film, THR reports that a source with knowledge of the situation claims that Warner Bros. is actively looking to transition Affleck out of the Batman role, possibly even before The Batman begins shooting.
If true, this would represent the latest knock against Affleck in what has already been a tough year for the actor. Though the actor is set to appear at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend to help promote Justice League, which releases later this year, it’s hard to shake the perception that Affleck is personally disengaged from the idea of playing Batman. He notably stepped down from directing The Batman earlier this year and while no specific reason was cited for his decision to step down, Affleck’s continuing struggle with alcohol addiction could be a contributing factor. To be fair, this is all conjecture at this point, but perhaps stepping away from an arduous superhero film schedule is an attractive prospect at this point in time.
THR’s source gives no specific idea for how Affleck may be transitioned out of the role, but suggests that the change will be addressed “in some shape or form in one of the upcoming DC films.” Given how many different characters have played Batman in the comics, there are many routes WB could go with this — they do have a Nightwing movie in the works, after all, and Dick Grayson is perhaps the most prominent character to play Batman other than Bruce Wayne — though bringing in a younger actor to play a different Bruce Wayne is another possibility (DC loves its alternate universes, after all).
Whatever happens, I’ll personally be sad to see Affleck go, as I really enjoyed his take on the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and am looking forward to seeing more of that performance in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. One thing is for sure: the wait for The Batman just got even longer!