Warner Bros. cuts ties with another of its super-powered heavy hitters letting Ben Affleck out of his obligation to continue in the role as the Caped Crusader in the studio’s much anticipated The Batman directed by Matt Reeves.
Another founding member of the league appears to be passing on the cape and cowl. Ben Affleck who had assumed the big screen mantle portraying The Batman in the blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and continued to star as the DC Comics hero in the team-up film Justice League will not be playing the hero in the upcoming solo film directed by Matt Reeves that will be perpetuating the long-time franchise favorite.
In the week following the announcement of Affleck’s departure, the trades readily reported that he studio cited it was moving in a different direction and wanting to cast a “younger” actor to headline in Reeves The Batman which is meant to “reboot” the titular hero on the big screen. Affleck’s portrayal of a more weathered and seasoned combatant was lukewarmly received in the press, but fans had clearly begun to come around even though Justice League didn’t meet expectations.
Affleck had been attached to writing and directing The Batman’s eventual transition into the solo arena until the discussions with the studio arrived at a decisions that Reeves would be taking over the helm of The Batman as several script revisions were under way. The film is scheduled for a release date of 2021.
Affleck stepped into the kevlar armor of the hero after Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy which featured Christian Bale in the role, and perhaps the most lucrative of the franchise films. This is yet another setback for the studio which also parted ways with Henry Cavill who had played Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel introducing the connected cinematic universe much in the vein of Marvel Studios narrative and decade long dominance of the genre.
With the darker tone of Snyder’s take on the comic inspired commodities which continued into BvS and was followed up in Justice League (even though that film passed hands and was completed by Joss Whedon), the recent successes of Wonder Woman and Aquaman have suggested that the studio may be looking to rebrand their DC properties. The box office appeal of the most recent feature Aquaman with its lighter tone worked and the upcoming Shazam! will follow suit.
Though the future of the DC Cinematic Universe is still in much turmoil; though Aquaman proved successful at the box office it still only garnered a tepid response from critics, and the upcoming Shazam! may not hold its mettle against the likes of Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel and the next installment of Avengers: Endgame which will deal the climatic finale to this phase of the Marvel Cinematic empire and starting a new chapter.