Image copyright DC/Warner Bros. 2016
There’s been a lot of speculation and conjecture surrounding the future of Ben Affleck as the DCEU‘s Batman, and, if this new rumour is to be believed, the whole thing might even be more convoluted than we previously thought.
Since the release of Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, a lot of doubt has been put out on Affleck’s time in the role. Whilst the actor was scheduled – and then appeared – in follow up film, Justice League, everything since then has been in turmoil.
To recap; Affleck was supposed to star, direct and write the solo Batman movie, before War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves was brought in. Then, rumours started circling that Reeves wanted Affleck out, with the intention to bring Jake Gyllenhaal in to replace him. The Gyllenhaal bit has since been debunked, but that doesn’t mean Batfleck is safe.
Mario-Francisco Robles, Editor-in-Chief of Revenge of the Fans, spoke on the El Fanboy Podcast recently, and he had some news he’d allegedly heard through the grapevine.
“Essentially,” Robles said, “they want to develop this Batman movie as if it is a reboot. But they’re not gonna make any overt statements about it. They’re just gonna make a movie about a younger Batman.”
Now, whether there is any truth in this will, ultimately, remain to be seen. However, there are previous reports and rumours that Reeves’ is looking to film a younger actor in the role, which would give some credence to this rumour from Robles.
Robles continued to say;
“I believe it takes place in the past, which will create a backdoor for if [Warner Bros.] ever do want to cross-pollinate him with the other DC characters again.”
Of course, that doesn’t really make sense. Batman has already been “cross-pollinated” with the other DC characters – in no fewer than two movies (three, if you include his cameo in Suicide Squad). So, if a younger actor is to take the place of Ben Affleck, whilst still operating in the DCEU, then wouldn’t there have to be some kind of acknowledgement from the other characters? Unless they plan on shipping out a whole new DCEU, of course.
There is a third option at play here, as DC and Warner could be looking to build an entire franchise built around Batman, and, somehow, shoehorn him in whenever and however possible.
“They’re going to make Batman as his own standalone franchise, they’re gonna basically start him over again to a degree. But they’re going to leave a back door open so that, depending on how the next few DC movies, do, from there, they can decide which continuity he’s a part of and whether or not they’re gonna push forward on the shared concept and do more crossover movies.”
Whilst none of this is set in stone, the rumours just add more fuel to the dust-bin fire that the DCEU currently is. With a Joker origins movie on the way that will be released alongside the DCEU, and now this, it’s a confusing state-of-affairs that the directors must be finding themselves in.
Matt Reeves Batman movie currently doesn’t have an official release date or a cast list, and it is unclear when it’ll start production, though it could arrive in 2020 if all goes well. The DCEU will soldier on regardless, with Jason Momoa starring in James Wan’s Aquaman headed to cinemas 21st December, then, next year will see the release David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! starring Zachary Levi as Shazam and Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam hitting cinemas 5th April, before Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 makes its way to the big screen on or around 1st November.