Another day, another (different) status update on Ben Affleck’s role as Batman in the DC Extended Universe. Justice League hits theaters in a matter of days, which means the folks at Warner Bros. are now looking ahead to see how the rest of the DC world will fill out. It’s been something of a bumpy road as the studio’s initial—and extremely ambitious—plan laid out a series of DC films that would be released up through the year 2020, including Justice League Part One and Justice League Part Two. Those plans were somewhat halted after the response to Batman v Superman, and things have further shifted as Zack Snyder left Justice League in post-production with Joss Whedon stepping in to finish the movie.
Through it all, a new Batman movie has been a high priority. Initially Affleck was slated to co-write and direct the picture, but early this year Affleck announced he was stepping down as director. Warner Bros. quickly secured War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves to take over directing duties, but he was busy finishing and promoting the third Apes movie through July and August, so he hasn’t gotten too far along with development of the standalone that people are calling The Batman.
And then of course this summer, a report surfaced in THR that Warner Bros. was looking for a way to phase Affleck’s Batman out of the DCEU entirely. Affleck insisted he was still keen on playing the Dark Knight at the time, but with Justice League about to hit theaters, it appears the actor is ready to hand the cape and cowl over to a different actor.
As part of a lengthy profile in USA Today, Affleck reveals he’s looking for a good way to phase his Batman out of the DCEU:
The new Batman movie being developed by Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) is “something I’m contemplating,” says Affleck, who originally was tapped to direct. “You don’t do it forever, so I want to find a graceful and cool way to segue out of it.”
It’s unclear if The Batman would be that segue movie—an entire film devoted to Affleck’s Batman handing over the reigns to someone else—or if the shift would occur in a different film. Rumors have swirled that the in-development Flashpoint movie could potentially change the DCEU timeline entirely using time travel, but that film still doesn’t have a director yet and seems a bit of a ways off.