Ben Affleck leaving the position, to give a new actor the role of Batman in the DCEU could actually work.
Now before you take out your flaming torches and pitchforks, hear me out! We all love Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. We’re on the same side, but let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
The Rise Of Batfleck
Way back in 2013, I woke up to the news, on the other side of the world, that Ben Affleck was cast as the new Batman. The internet turned the news into one of those evil, dark days where you thanked your fate that you weren’t Ben Affleck. Not that I ever wanted to be, did you ever want to be? That’d be weird. Affleck got so much cyber hate and junk thrown at him that I’m sure it took his entire experience of being in the film industry to not hide in his cave. See what I did there?
The Batman We Deserved
The backlash was no surprise since he had some pretty big shoes to fill after Christian Bale’s portrayal of the character in the Dark Knight trilogy. However, Affleck had his haters eat their words with ketchup and fries after his iconic portrayal of the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). He was hands-down the best on-screen Bruce Wayne. Brooding, calculative and yet played nice with the rich crowd. Heck, he even smirked the same way.
This Batman was the deadly fighter who brutally took down the bad guys, which none of the other big screen incarnations focused on. Tom Hardy’s Bane would have broken his own back rather than fight this guy. Not to mention his cynical ability to foresee his opponents’ move. He was perfect. He was not the Batman we needed but definitely the Batman we deserved.
When Justice League came out, the character had evolved just as it demanded. A remorseful dude who knew he’d been reckless after Robin’s death ultimately causing Superman to die. He had blood in his hands and it felt natural. We can’t wait to see his portrayal in the next movie. Unfortunately, the standalone DCEU Batman movie has been in trouble for a while now. The initial script by Affleck and Geoff Johns was shelved after Affleck decided to step down from the director’s chair (to be replaced by Matt Reeves). Then came the heartbreaking rumours that he would also step down from the caped crusader’s role. Nooooooo Holy Heartbreaks, Batman!
Though the rumours were squashed at comic-con this year by Ben Affleck himself, they resurfaced soon after the release of the fan-favourite-critics-punching bag Justice League (2017). Latest news has it that Ben Affleck is said to be ‘contemplating the role’ and ‘wants to find a way to gracefully step down from the character’.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Batman?
Rumours also has it that Jake Gyllenhaal might replace Affleck as the title character. One vital clue here is that Affleck was cast as a seasoned, old Batman who’d been in the game for 20 years. Why would director Zack Snyder do that? It was puzzling until after Justice League came out this year. On more than one occasion, we see Bruce Wayne claiming to be too old to be doing what he does. So, if your bat senses are tingling, it’s possible that if Gyllenhaal does replace Affleck, it could be for the role of Batman and not Bruce Wayne. There is a tiny chance that the Batman we get in Matt Reeve’s version is drum roll Terry McGinnis.
For folks who don’t know Terry, he is the Batman of the future in an alternate timeline with old man Bruce Wayne as the ‘guy in the chair’. What about Alfred you ask? Well, he’s quite dead in that timeline. Sensitive subject, we don’t talk about it. The animated series was a cult classic and it was easily the next best thing to Batman: The Animated Adventures. The guy took down the baddies with an enhanced super-powered suit not unlike the spider suit from Spiderman: Homecoming. It was pretty cool with the camouflage, unlimited batarangs and even flight!
Also, we can all agree that there was something going on with Diana and Bruce in Justice League. So, it could be a happy ending without a morbid end to Alfred while passing down the cowl, to an able, younger guy, that could rival Wayne’s skills.
The Flash’s mentor
He’s rich and can take on two proteges. Also, Barry Allen could use a new suit. There were rumours that Batman would give Ezra Miller’s Barry his new suit at the end of Justice League. Either it was cut off (like a lot of other good things) from the movie or the idea was scrapped altogether. It would be pretty interesting for Bruce to take Barry under his bat-wing, the almost father-son chemistry was pretty good in Justice League and it could work on the big screen too. The comics also have a few interesting Batman and Flash stories that can make it to the big screen. The Batman and the Flash, how beautiful does that sound?
Anyway, if all of this works out, then everyone goes home happy. Affleck gets his graceful step down while still being the best Bruce Wayne. We get to see Terry McGinnis on the big screen played by Jake Gylenhaal who isn’t such a bad actor himself. Yay!
Fun Fact: The Dark Knight Trilogy‘s Rachel Dawes was played by Katie Holmes only to be replaced by Jake Gylenhaal’s sister Maggie in the second movie (well, well, well. There’s a pattern here.)
We can only hope that it’s not a messy send-off. Of course if Affleck is let go from the DCEU with no good reason, you can bet there’d be (a lot of) tears, flaming torches and me borrowing the pitchfork.