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Photo: Ben Affleck as ‘Batman’?
After ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ underperformed critically and financially at the box office and its follow-up ‘Justice League’ went through a seemingly accursed production process due to a number of unfortunate circumstances, multiple reports came out speculating that Ben Affleck was hanging up the cape and cowl as the Batman of the DCEU. The actor later described his time shooting ‘Justice League’ as “the worst experience”. Affleck was also originally set to direct, write, and star in a standalone Batman film set in the DCEU.
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However, Affleck soon stepped away from the director’s chair to make way for Mat Reeves. The film was then reported to be separate from the continuity of the DCEU that would not feature Affleck penning the script nor in the starring role. The film ultimately became ‘The Batman’ which starred Robert Pattinson as the titular character and garnered substantial critical acclaim as well as sizable financial results.
Despite Affleck’s Batman known to have a role in DC’s upcoming film ‘The Flash’, many have assumed that the days of seeing “Batfleck” regularly on the big screen were long gone. However, with the actor now confirmed to have a role in the upcoming ‘Aquaman’ sequel, ‘Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom’, via an Instagram post from the star of the film, Jason Momoa, is Ben Affleck having second thoughts about leaving the Caped Crusader behind and contemplating a possible long term return to the DCEU?
Ben Affleck’s Role in ‘The Flash’
It has been known for some time now that Ben Affleck will return as Batman in the upcoming film, ‘The Flash’. How big of a role Affleck’s Batman will have in the film is yet to be determined. It may be a brief cameo, a handful of small scenes, or a primarily supporting role throughout the film. The latter is very likely given the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen in the previous films. Of course, Affleck won’t be the only Batman in the film as audiences will also see Michael Keaton reprise his respective version of the character in the movie. It is undetermined how big of a role Keaton’s Batman will have in the film.
In an interview a few months back, Affleck described his time working on ‘The Flash’ as “…really fun and really, really satisfying and encouraging,”. The word “encouraging” could imply something itself or it may not. The actor even went so far as to say “maybe my favorite scenes in terms of Batman and the interpretation of Batman that I have done were in the Flash movie,”. This is a very different tune than the recounting of his experience filming ‘Justice League’. Is Affleck singing the praises of what seems to be his final appearance as Batman or has a different set of circumstances given him pause about hanging up the suit for good?
Affleck To Return In ‘Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom’
What we did not know was that Affleck would also be reprising his role as Batman in the upcoming ‘Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom’ this March. This piece of news came from a post on Jason Momoa’s Instagram page in which people visiting the Warner Bros. backlot while on the famous WB Studio Tour encountered the ‘Aquaman’ actor and noticed that also on set filming the sequel was none other than Affleck himself. How big of a role Affleck’s Batman will have in this film is also unknown.
One interesting caveat to this story that has made its way around the internet is the rumor that it was originally Michael Keaton’s iteration of Batman that was supposed to appear in the film, not Affleck’s. The reason for this change is due to the change in the release schedule of ‘The Flash’ and ‘Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom’. For those who remember, the former film was originally scheduled to be released first. However, after a recent shuffle of release dates, the ‘Aquaman’ sequel will be the first to hit theaters. Thus, having Keaton’s Batman suddenly pop up in this film without any context would create some continuity issues. So it would only make sense for Affleck’s Batman to be used in this film and then see how ‘The Flash’, which will be based on a famous multiverse-heavy comic book storyline named ‘Flashpoint’, will change and affect the events that unfold in the DCEU going forward.
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Is A Long-Term Return To The DCEU Possible?
The answer to this question is most likely “No”. Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’ is moving forward with a planned sequel. And if the rumor just mentioned is to be believed, it looks like ‘The Flash’ may very well be Ben Affleck’s last appearance as Batman. It may also imply that the events of ‘The Flash’ could set up Keaton to be the DCEU’s Batman going forward. Keaton was set to reprise his role as the Caped Crusader in a ‘Batgirl’ film, which was just canceled by WB. It is also difficult to imagine the actor staying attached to the character for more films afterward. There is also the question of what the state of the current DCEU and the ‘Snyderverse’ will be a year from now once most of these films have been released. With the events of ‘The Flash’ rumored to serve as somewhat of a soft reboot for the DCEU and the complete recent overhaul of Warner Bros. by Discovery Media, it is difficult to say what the new heads at Warner Bros. Discovery have in store for future DC films.
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Despite fan backlash to his initial casting as Batman as well as the lukewarm response to the films themselves, many fans have praised Affleck’s performance as the iconic character in the few films he’s been featured in. The actor himself is a massive fan of the character and was originally ecstatic at the notion of writing, directing, and starring in his own Batman film. Affleck gave the character a worthy representation on the big screen and while it would be a shame to not see him return for a longer run, things may have played for the best for the character, the fans, and Affleck himself.
By Nader Chamas
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Nader Chamas is an aspiring television writer who seeks to fuse thought provoking progressive ideals into the films, shows, and stories that he loves. Having graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Screenwriting, Nader seeks to use his writing to advance causes that do not get enough attention or input across mainstream media. Like most, Nader has his own share of his favorite franchises and stories across pop culture. However, he seeks to contribute timely and relevant topics into these stories as well as in his own original material. This is why Nader’s analysis of popular films and tv shows matches The Hollywood Insider’s practice of discussing entertainment from a socially cognizant and critical perspective.