Where one Batman begins, another Batman ends.
After months of speculation, Ben Affleck has officially laid down the cowl and called it quits on his Batman career, with a new Dark Knight set to rise in his place. According to Deadline, Warner Bros. Pictures has dated The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes), for June 25, 2021.
Affleck’s involvement in the DC movie universe has been a will he/won’t he since the underwhelming critical reaction and box-office of 2017’s Justice League. In April 2016, shortly after the release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, news broke that Affleck would both star and direct The Batman. That changed in Jan. 2017, when Affleck stepped down from the assignment.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said in a statement at the time. “Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require.”
The next month, Reeves officially joined The Batman in late Feb. 2017. Hot off the success of his two Planet of the Apes films, the writer-director expressed excitement over inheriting the property from Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder — but Affleck’s name was suspiciously absent from his statement.
“I have loved the Batman story since I was a child. He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply. I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen,” Reeves said.
Now, with Aquaman becoming the biggest DC Comics film of all time, and Wonder Woman riding high towards her own sequel, the universe is getting a shake-up, and Affleck is part of the old guard. (Last September, Henry Cavill was also reportedly stepping down from his role as Superman).
Affleck took to Twitter to confirm the news:
Reports suggest that The Batman aims to cast a younger version of Bruce Wayne, though Reeves isn’t looking to adapt Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. The writer-director co-wrote the screenplay with Geoff Johns, who has also taken on a different role in the wake of the Justice League misstep.
Along with the update on Batman, WB also announced a handful of release dates that set the new DC Comic adaptation plan in motion: The animated DC Super Pets will open on May 21, 2021; The Suicide Squad, a sequel to the original movie penned by James Gunn, will open on Aug. 6, 2021; two WB “event films,” which may or may not be DC-related, will open on July 16 and Oct. 1, 2021, respectively.
And what’s next for Affleck? He’ll head to Universal Pictures to direct an adaptation of Kate Alice Marshall’s novel I Am Still Alive, described as Cheryl Strayed’s Wild meets The Revenant. The job should involve less spandex.