Ben Affleck may be hanging up his cape much earlier than expected: reports from Hollywood suggest that his upcoming role in The Justice League film may be his last outing as Batman.
Affleck is slated to star in an as-yet unwritten new Batman-centric movie, but, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
Things haven’t gone all that smoothly since the star took over from Christian Bale as the caped crusader. Batman vs Superman, in which he first appeared as the defender of Gotham, was panned by critics across the board. An interview in which a journalist questioned Affleck and co-star Henry Cavill about the film’s poor reception was then turned into a meme, setting Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence to a slow-mo close up of Affleck’s face, who looked rather upset about the whole thing. His next Batman film, Suicide Squad, didn’t do much to salvage the superhero’s good name.
The actor was then scheduled to helm and star in a new Batman movie from a script he had written with DC’s Geoff Johns, before dropping out as director last year. Then, in February this year, his replacement, War of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves dropped his screenplay. You’d forgive him for feeling a little bit burnt at this stage.
But THR is suggesting that it would be the studio’s decision to send Affleck’s Batman into that long goodnight. They also point out that time is not exactly on Affleck’s side, as he is set to turn 45 in August – which would mean he’d likely be into his 50s if Reeves’ supposed plans of a trilogy were to come to fruition.
THR is certainly not buying the ambiguous response from Warners’ film studio chief Toby Emmerich, who says: “Ben is our Batman. We love him as Batman. We want to keep him in the cowl as long as we can.”
So, is this the end of a rather underwhelming superhero story? At this stage, it’s hard to say for sure, but given the number of bumps on the road so far, it would not come as a huge surprise.