Yesterday, some surprising and yet not-so-surprising news surfaced by way of a report in THR stating that Warner Bros. was making plans for Ben Affleck to exit the DCEU and no longer play Batman. Rumors had been swirling for months that Affleck, who made his debut as the Caped Crusader in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, might be opting out of the interconnected franchise. Those only intensified when Affleck decided not to direct the standalone The Batman anymore, with War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves singing on to take the helm in his stead.
“My status remains what it always is,” the star explains. “I’ve done the two movies. I’ve always intended on doing a third if Warners wants to make it. Certainly, if the Batphone rings, I will answer.”
This seems to reveal that Affleck signed a three-picture contract to play Batman, including appearances in Batman v Superman, Justice League, and The Batman. The actor/filmmaker went on to express his enthusiasm for the character, blaming rumors that he’s out as Batman on his decision not to direct The Batman. But while Affleck has nothing but high praise for Reeves, it sounds like even he doesn’t quite know what Reeves’ plans for the Batman franchise are just yet:
“I think getting Matt Reeves to come in and do it is really, really exciting. Matt hasn’t really unveiled his full vision yet. He wanted to wait until Apes came out, and he was obviously consumed with that. So I’m looking forward to hearing what his story is.”
We recently learned that Reeves is working from a new story and not the script that Affleck and Geoff Johns previously developed, and Reeves reportedly pitched a three-movie arc to Warner Bros. It’s interesting to hear that maybe he and Affleck haven’t sat down and hashed out their take on The Batman just yet, but Reeves has reiterated that he wouldn’t start working on The Batman in earnest until Apes came out, and that was only a couple of weeks ago.
So it’s clear that Affleck still wants to be Batman, which would indicate that A. THR’s report was wrong or B. WB has been quietly working on a way to replace Affleck if and when they decide to do so, whether he wants to exit the franchise or not. And with WB retooling their The Flash movie as a Flashpoint adaptation, the opportunity to “reset” the DCEU is looming.