Soon after Ben Affleck announced his decision to vacate the director’s chair on The Batman, thereby allowing Matt Reeves (War For the Planet of the Apes) to pick up the torch, many believed that the actor was mulling over his future in the DC Extended Universe.
Truth be told, that uncertainty gripped the Internet for many moons, and it wasn’t until Reeves publicly thrust his support behind Ben Affleck’s Caped Crusader that that speculation was silenced. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, beyond the release of The Batman, Affleck’s days sporting the cape and cowl are numbered, with one source claiming that Warner Bros. plans to ease his Dark Knight out of the DC Extended Universe gracefully.
That tells us WB’s leading creatives will incorporate the changeover into the story itself, possibly killing off Affleck’s Bats and opening up the field for another character (Nightwing, perhaps?) to take up the mantle as Gotham’s watchful protector.
It should be noted that, despite THR’s findings, Warner Bros. continues to voice its unconditional support for Ben Affleck’s Batman, with studio exec Toby Emmerich telling the outlet that, “Ben is our Batman. We love him as Batman. We want to keep him in the cowl as long as we can.” Take from that what you will.
With reports that Shazam will be the next DCEU tentpole to step before the cameras – sans Dwayne Johnson, of course – it’ll likely be some time yet before The Batman locks down an official start date. Word is that Warner Bros. is aiming for a 2019 release though, which would surely put Reeves’ standalone pic on course to enter production sometime next year.
One way or another, next up for Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight is the release of Justice League on November 17th, and you can readily expect a new JL trailer to light up San Diego Comic-Con later this weekend.