Ben Affleck no longer Batman: What does this mean for the DC cinematic universe?
From the story arc focusing on the notorious Court of Owls to Mr. Whisper, there are many possible plots from the canon the new Batman movie can take on
It’s official! Ben Affleck, who brought to life, an older, jaded, and, frankly, tired version of DC’s Dark Knight, is hanging up his cowl and retiring his raspy Batman voice, to make way for another actor. Warner Bros. announced Matt Reeves’ stand-alone Batman film 'The Batman' will hit the theatres in the summer of 2021, (our birdies say June 25), and almost simultaneously, Affleck announced his own intentions to no longer adorn the cape to protect Gotham from the baddies.
Having portrayed Bruce Wayne in DC’s previous films such as ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Justice League’, Affleck revealed he is looking forward to passing the torch on to a new actor – possibly a younger one. According to the rumor mills, Reeves is looking to go in a different, younger direction for his version of the Caped Crusader, possibly finding inspiration from the ‘Batman: Year One’ arc.
‘The Batman’ is also reportedly going to focus more on the titular hero’s detective skills, in fact, the movie will reveal why he was bestowed the moniker “the world’s greatest detective.” This obviously puts a special focus on the rogues gallery, and would give a noir-influenced take on his hometown, Gotham City.
From the story arc focusing on the notorious Court of Owls to Mr. Whisper, there are many possible plots from the canon the new movie could take on. However, 'The City of Crime' story arc, where Bruce Wayne uncovers the labyrinthine conspiracy that bubbles just beneath the surface of Gotham City while investigating the disappearance of a young girl, probably, is our top pick.
Meanwhile, we are fairly concerned about what this change in Batman means for the extended DC Cinematic Universe, especially for the movies DC has announced in the upcoming years. We, of course, have ‘Shazam!,’ which is hitting theatres April 5; while the highly anticipated ‘Justice League Part Two’ is set to release June 14, an untitled DC film has been scheduled for November 1, 'Birds of Prey' February 7, 2020, ‘Cyborg’ April 3, 2020, 'Wonder Woman 1984' June 5, 2020, and ‘Green Lantern Corps’ July 24, 2020, 'Super Pets' May 21, 2021, and 'The Suicide Squad' August 6, 2021.
The interesting aspect of 'The Suicide Squad' is this will not be a sequel to the 2016 version helmed by David Ayer, but in fact a completely different version, in the vision of James Gunn. Meanwhile, DC also has a spin-off 'Joker' starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular maniacal villain in the works, and it is scheduled for an October 4 release.
Interestingly, the 'Harley Quinn' spin-off starring Margot Robbie will see the return of Jared Leto as the supervillain. This begs the question, is DC scrambling to find its identity when it comes to manifesting its extended universe on-screen? Perhaps, that has more to do with Warner Bros. than DC.
When Warner Bros. revealed the speedster Flash, immortalized by Grant Gustin on TV, would be portrayed by Ezra Miller on the big screen, a lot of fans resisted, and that could have been DC's sign to follow Marvel's cue and set permanent faces to its superheroes. On the other hand, there's no reason requiring the two take a similar approach.
Added to this, each new director comes with a new vision and story, and correspondingly a different idea of who should portray each character. While this, arguably, brings diversity in feel, tone and pace of the various productions, it hasn't been translating into as much commercial success among the viewership. Conceivably, that isn't the point.
However, it could prove problematic given there are more movies in the pipeline - including 'Aquaman 2', 'Batgirl,' and 'Supergirl' - without a decided release date. And, for now, the only real fixtures in terms of actors seem to be Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot and Margot Robbie. With the introduction of the 'Justice League' and 'Suicide Squad', we had assumed Affleck's Batman would be around a while, but it seems Affleck went the Henry Cavill way.
It doesn't seem like closures in the bigger storylines are a huge priority for DC. So, what would the departure of Affleck mean for these upcoming movies? Of course, the franchise would bring about a new story and a new Batman, with his own set of baggage, but this fan is left wondering if there is any point rooting for him and investing time and energy in a story line that could end in reckless abandon?