After the release of Man of Steel and the announcement that its sequel would introduce Batman in the DC Extended Universe, the first ever casting news of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne was met with initial reactions that found many fans flying into a hate-filled frenzy. But even with the deck stacked against him, Affleck rose to the occasion and not only gave a brilliant performance as Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he gave us the ultimate version of Batman on-screen, the likes of which we had never seen before. In fact, his performance was so strong and well-received, he managed to win many fans over.
Fast forward over a year, and the Justice League movie almost upon us -- a movie where Affleck's Batman is positioned front and center as the one who puts the team together.
Despite fandom's obvious interest in the JL film, the mixed critical response to Dawn of Justice cast a cloud over the DCEU as a whole, and that was enough to get the rumor mill a-churning. While Affleck was initially set to write, direct and star in his very own solo Batman movie following Justice League, it was later announced that he would no longer write of direct the film. Some fans took that to mean that his retirement from the role would be imminent following the release of Justice League. Conflicting reports seemed to surface weekly, with the latest hitting during the early days of Comic-Con International. Then, during Warner Bros.' Hall H presentation at the big show, Affleck shot every rumor down by stating emphatically that he isn't going anywhere. As far as we know, for the time being, Affleck will remain the DCEU's Batman, and that's a very good thing. Here's why.
First off, from a continuity standpoint, it's an obvious win. Re-casting a role, whether big or small, can be somewhat jarring to the audience. While Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as James Rhodes in Iron Man 2 and Mark Ruffalo replacing Edward Norton as Bruce Banner in The Avengers may have led to fascinating new takes on the roles, they also created an issue of visual continuity when it comes to looking back at the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. Affleck has not only appeared in Batman v. Superman, he had a few important scenes in Suicide Squad that helped cement the cohesiveness of the DCEU beyond the Trinity. And while we didn't see him in person, his presence was very much felt in the opening scene of Wonder Woman. Bruce Wayne is simply too important a figure in this universe for a new actor to come in midway through to take on the role.
Then there's the fact that it's difficult to deny that Affleck is genuinely great in the role. And after proving his detractors wrong, Affleck's commitment to staying onboard further proves his commitment to the role. After the success of Wonder Woman, Justice League has become an even more highly anticipated event. Combined, these two movies have the potential to propel the entire DCEU beyond what Warner Bros. may have initially hoped. Under the direction of Matt Reeves, the upcoming Batman movie will be an even bigger event, thanks to the success of WW and expected success of JL. This expanding universe of super-heroes has only just begun, and everyone wants to see what a solo DCEU Batman movie, let alone a whole new trilogy, could look like with Affleck starring in the role.