How long will Ben Affleck continue playing Batman? According to a new rumor, not very long.
Playing the Caped Crusader in cinema has never been much of a long-term role, with Christian Bale the first actor to ever play Bruce Wayne in more than two big-screen outings, however, you can't help but feel like there is more of Batfleck to explore. After the controversial Batman v Superman, Affleck returned for a brief cameo in Suicide Squad and was supposed to lead Justice League. That being said, with all those movies falling below critical expectations, it has led fandom and the actor himself to question his place in the DCEU.
The 45-year-old was famously set to direct and star in The Batman, but stepping down to let Matt Reeves take the reigns, even Affleck's performance as the movie's titular character was thrown into question. Even after Justice League's box office performance, it looks like Affleck will put on the cape and cowl for The Batman, but a report from Revenge of the Fans claims that he won't fully commit to the rest of his time in the DCEU — citing that it “is not what he thought it would be.” The anonymous Warner Bros. source says the following:
"The present Batman is still Affleck. A change in cowl will not happen publicly until Ben is officially gone, and he is currently The Batman. But like we have said, it’s a negotiation thing right now. Not money, but appearances and creative. Ben isn’t wanting to vacate, but not wanting to commit fully."
There was much hype surrounding Affleck's casting as the next iteration of Batman after the lauded Christopher Nolan years, and perhaps it is a case of too much pressure being put on one character. However, the site also says that execs are disappointed that the star “didn’t RDJ this thing”, a reference to Robert Downey Jr.'s acclaimed performance as Tony Stark and a major figurehead of Disney's MCU.
While the DCEU still has a massive fanbase, its expansive plans to catch-up to the MCU have gone somewhat awry. Releasing Man of Steel in 2013, the dark tone of the DCEU has failed to reel in the massive box office takings that the House of Mouse has become accustomed to. Success stories like Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman have been largely overshadowed by disappointing reviews and behind-the-scenes drama with the likes of Zack Snyder and Affleck, leaving many of us waiting for another big movie to help redeem the franchise.
All eyes are now on Reeves to see what he can deliver with The Batman, and whether it be Affleck or someone like Jake Gyllenhaal who leaps across the Gotham City skyline, Warner Bros. will have to play it carefully with one on of their most valuable assets. For the time being though, it is still Affleck bulging beneath that suit, and until anything is written in stone, expect him to keep driving the DCEU forward as one of its most important superheroes.