Even though Matt Reeves’ The Batman has only been shooting for a matter of weeks, in an alternate universe we would have already seen Ben Affleck’s version of the movie by now. Although his appearances as the Dark Knight came in critical disappointments Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League and a Suicide Squad cameo, the general consensus is that the 47 year-old had the potential to be one of the all-time great big screen Caped Crusaders, but was let down by the quality of the projects he starred in.
When The Batman was originally announced back in 2014, fans were excited by the prospect of Affleck pulling double duty as both leading man and director, having reinvented himself as a critically-acclaimed filmmaker over the previous few years thanks to films like Gone Baby Gone, The Town and the Best Picture-winning Argo. Unfortunately, the project was hit by a series of delays, which ultimately led to the actor quitting the role entirely, with Robert Pattinson stepping in as the Caped Crusader’s latest adventure was reworked from the ground up.
Plenty of rumors were doing the rounds at the time as to why Affleck had decided to quit as Batman, with many speculating that Reeves was always intending to recast the role with a younger actor in order to suit the story he was developing. However, it turned out that the Daredevil star’s battle with alcoholism had returned, causing him to step away from the limelight in order to focus on his personal issues.
In a recent interview, Affleck admitted that he had a script for The Batman that was ready to go, but instead decided that going ahead and making the movie wasn’t worth taking the chance of relapsing.
“I showed somebody The Batman script. They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.'”
The Batman is scheduled to hit theaters next summer, but the thought of Ben Affleck tackling a noir-driven story that followed his world-weary and grizzled take on the World’s Greatest Detective will always be one of those big ‘what if?’ movies that comic book fans will likely be talking about for years to come.