Rumours have been flying around for months but until now nothing has been certain; the North American news platform, Deadline, just released an exclusive in which Ben Affleck confirmed that he is hanging up his cape, ready to hand it over to a next-generation Bruce Wayne.
'The Batman', a standalone film to be directed by Matt Reeves, will now no longer star Affleck as the protagonist. The actor was originally attached to the project in terms of direction and script, the first draft of which he developed alongside Geoff Johns. Since this original plan, a handful of decisions have been made meaning that Affleck has stepped down both as director and protagonist, and it is unclear as to whether Reeve's version will use to original script written by Johns and Affleck. However, while much remains unclear, the film's release date has now been set for 25th June 2021.
Affleck has worn Bruce Wayne's iconic mask in three of DC's superhero films ('Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 'Justice League', and 'Suicide Squad') and shared the news of his exit from the role on Twitter, assuring his fans that he is looking forward to seeing the realisation of Matt Reeves' vision on screen. Thus, with the blessing of one of the most loved Batmen seen on screen, next only to Christian Bale, this new project moves in a new direction, introducing us to a side of Bruce Wayne that we have seen before: the character as a young man.
Reeves has been at the helm of the ship ever since Affleck made the decision in 2017 to focus on other productions, such as the adaptation of Kate Alice Marshall's novel, 'I Am Still Alive', in which the actor is both starring and directing. As well as this production, Affleck is working on a drama directed by Gavin O'Connor, 'Torrance', so his schedule is pretty full. However, his new projects are clearly not the only reason that Affleck has decided to leave the beloved superhero behind; he simply isn't the best fit for this version of Batman anymore, no matter how much he may like the idea.
With love, Ben
"There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions," Affleck explained, when he announced he decision to step down from his role as director. "Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require." So the Extended DC Universe began to shift, and Reeves was announced as director. The entire project became rather hazy, and it was unclear as to whether Affleck was intending to return to his acting role, or leave the project entirely; in Reeves' statements he avoided any questions regarding the fate of the protagonist, simply saying: "I have loved the Batman story since I was a child. He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply."
Since then the rumours have not stopped coming: theories about the tone of the film suggested a more detective-style movie, and many began theorising potential new candidates, with names including that of Jack O'Connell flying off of tongues. Do you think it is time to say goodbye to Affleck as Batman? Which actor should take his place?