There have been many a Batman in the past decade. From Michael Keaton to George Clooney to Christian Bale, the iconic role has been played by similarly iconic actors, and continues to be a favorite of comic book fans. And now, it's time for another passing of the torch as it has been announced that Ben Affleck is done playing Batman. Instead, a new Batman movie has been announced for June 25, 2021, per Deadline, and will directed by Matt Reeves. The lead role has not yet been cast, but one thing is clear: the caped crusader will not be played by Affleck.
News that Affleck, who has played Batman in two films in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) — Batman vs. Superman and Justice League — would no longer be playing the superhero on the big screen broke on Wednesday, Jan. 30. And shortly after the report emerged, Affleck himself commented on the news via Twitter, and he seemed genuinely excited about the new film. Quote-tweeting the Deadline article, he wrote, "Excited for #TheBatman in Summer 2021 and to see @MattReevesLA vision come to life." Reeves, who also directed War for the Planet of the Apes and was executive producer for The Cloverfield Paradox, signed on to the Batman solo movie back in 2017 as director and producer.
The news that Affleck is out as Batman isn't exactly shocking; it was reported in Jun of 2018 that the actor would not be reprising his role again, though these reports were not confirmed. And now that the reports have finally been confirmed, fans are getting even more details on why Affleck is stepping away from the role: DC is going younger. The Deadline report noted that The Batman (as the new film is currently titled) will "will focus on a younger Bruce Wayne."
It seems fans are about to get a wave of younger Bruce Waynes. In The Joker, the upcoming Joaquin Phoenix movie about the insane villain, Bruce Wayne will appear as a child, played by Dante Pereira-Olson. The film is an origin story that will reportedly feature Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne, as a major character. And while The Batman is probably not going to be about Bruce Wayne's childhood, odds are, if they're going younger, the Dark Knight could be a teenager or young adult the next time fans see him on the big screen.
Affleck might be excited to see a new Batman, but not all fans agree. Many on Twitter didn't want to accept the fact that Affleck won't be wearing the utility belt or racing through streets in the Batmobile anymore.
The news is also a blow to those who were holding out hope for an Affleck-written and directed Batman movie. In 2016, it was revealed that the actor had written a script for a standalone Batman film. Patrick Whitesell, co-CEO of WME-IMG, told The Hollywood Reporter about the project in 2016: "[Affleck]'s contracted to do at least Justice League One and Two, so at least three times wearing the cape," he said. "There's a script that he's written that is a really cool [Batman] idea, so that's out there as an option."
As for what Affleck's departure from the superhero franchise means for Henry Cavill's status as Superman, that remains to be seen. But, in the meeantime, fans can find solace in knowing that there are plenty more DCEU movies ahead, including Birds Of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, and The Joker. The future of the DC film franchise is far from bleak.