News has come forth from The Hollywood Reporter that Ben Affleck is leaving the role of #Batman in the #DCEU. This is coming as a huge shock to many fans, as many cite him as the best Batman to date. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice may not have pleased many critics, but even the critics all agreed that Ben Affleck’s Batman was a positive in the film for them. Now 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.” That is all they have to say on the matter, as they have no knowledge or mention of this source. Now this is common in this business where people say “a source of mine said” and this is how you hear all of these Hollywood myths and rumors. Go back to BvS and people will report their sources saying “they’re casting a love interest for Bruce Wayne.” Well, where is that love interest? Sources then said “Wonder Woman is having reshoots for a lighter tone”, which Patty Jenkins frequently denied.
In The Beginning
It seems the Batman movie has been in trouble from the beginning. Originally Ben Affleck was slated to write, direct and star in this film. It sounds like a lot to take on. WB was fast on track to get a new Batman movie up and going as soon as possible. This was right after BvS finished its theater run. Day-in and day-out people kept asking Affleck about the script. Affleck noted he did not just want to churn out any old script, but instead wanted to turn it into an actual good piece of writing to tell a great story. This was not some cash grab for him; he refused to tell a “mediocre” Batman story. Eventually he got some help from Chris Terrio (Argo, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) and DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns (Justice League, The Flash, Batman: Earth-One) to finish the script. Then Affleck dropped out of the director’s seat as he stated…
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions… 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. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”
A director was found in the form of #MattReeves, whom Ben Affleck welcomed. Mr. Reeves even stated the plan is to keep Affleck on board as Batman. It has been confirmed that Matt Reeves threw out the script, as he wishes to tell his own story. The Batman Reeves has in mind is more noir, with a Hitchcock vibe and covering the detective angle of the Dark Knight. This is true to the character and would probably be very appealing to film maker and comic fan, Ben Affleck. It should be noted that films get re-writes all the time. The first Batman film was being re-written while it was shooting. Batman Returns’ script went through three different hands. We do not know the details of the script Affleck helped construct, but there is no confirmation on who will write the new script. Yes, rumor has it that Reeves is bringing in his collaborator of other films, Mark Bomback to help him with the script. Remember, this is still a rumor. Who says it can’t be Affleck? Our current Batman even stated he wanted “a partner” who will “collaborate” with him. Plus, many scripts will share more than one writer. Therefore, it is possible Affleck and Bomback will do the script.
Why Would Ben leave?
Reports months ago also stated Affleck wanted to leave, but bare in mind, this was right after he turned down the director’s role and stories about Matt Reeves started to circulate. With that said, this “news” is nothing new. No, nothing more but recycled rumors, where the boy is crying wolf - yet again. Right now Affleck has little to anything in the works, save for directing an adaption of Nathaniel Philbrick’s Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution with WB. In addition, over at Fox, there are plans for him to direct and star in an adaption of Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution. Affleck himself has said little to nothing about of these projects, so they can hardly be a huge priority for him. There were plans for him to star in the new Netflix thriller Triple Frontier, but he bowed out due to scheduling conflicts. One can hope it conflicts with his Batman scheduling. Maybe Matt Reeves is the reason Ben wants to leave. If this notion is true then this is very petty, but I have more faith in Affleck than others. Meanwhile, I cannot gloss over the fact of how big of a Batman/comic nerd Ben Affleck truly is. His former house, now occupied by Kevin Smith, Affleck built a make-shift secret Batcave entrance, packed with comic books. It is possible there is something more personal at stake for Affleck, in wanting to drop out, especially given the fact that his divorce finalized this year. Who knows, for we do not know the man personally.
Why Would WB Push Him Out?
WB is the one who acquired the rights to Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution back in 2013. Three years later and they got Aaron Stockard to adapt it and they want Affleck to direct. WB would also like to make a sequel to The Accountant. Understandingly so, as The Accountant received critical acclaim and did decent at the box office. Therefore, there are no harsh feelings between Affleck and WB. One must ask - how are these two projects a priority over Batman? WB wants to usher out one of its biggest stars in one of its biggest properties! WB’s film studio chief Toby Emmerich even stated "Ben is our Batman. We love him as Batman. We want to keep him in the cowl as long as we can." It is possible there is some personal animosity between the two, yet, The Accountant sequel was announced only a month ago. It should be noted Affleck’s contract with WB includes two Justice League films and a Batman film. Hell, there were rumors weeks ago about Affleck signing on for more films. Yes, it is possible to get out of contract but it is no easy feat.
Maybe in the end we should stick to what he told that one reporter. What do you think - is he leaving or staying?