It's not exaggerating to say it's been an exhausting time for the DC Extended Universe's Batman movie. Following speculation about whether Ben Affleck would drop out of directing it, the actor announced at the end of January that he wouldn't helm the blockbuster. Since then, there have been conflicting reports about the state of the Batman movie's script, and Warner Bros has narrowed down its choices for a replacement director. Now there's word that Affleck may not even want to play the Caped Crusader anymore.
During today's episode of Collider Movie Talk, co-host John Campea mentioned that in the past four days, he's talked with three individuals who are connected in some way or another to "what's happening at Warner Bros." While urging those viewing to take this information with a "massive, massive" grain of salt, he stated the following:
They're telling me Ben Affleck, make no mistake, he does want out. He doesn't want to be Batman anymore...I have been told that Affleck is talking with Warner Bros in an attempt to get out of being Batman. And if they do not let him out of being Batman, that the standalone Batman film that ultimately happens will be the last time we see Affleck as Batman.
Before going further, it's important to mention that John Campea himself acknowledged that he's had bad luck in the past with "scoops," so he doesn't want the above information to be considered as such. So while the information certainly sounds shocking, don't take it to the bank quite yet. Nevertheless, the possibility of Affleck turning in the cape and cowl is something worth considering, and the idea has been floated around online over the last few weeks.
Assuming something this drastic went down, you can bet Warner Bros would immediately begin looking for another actor to play Batman. He's is too big a character to simply retire. Recasting is nothing new to the world of Batman, as the original Batman movie series saw three different actors playing the vigilante. It's not even new to superhero cinematic universes, because in the MCU, both War Machine and Hulk have been played by different actors.
However, this would be the first major recasting for the DCEU, and it would be their most popular superhero to boot. Make no mistake, Affleck leaving would be a major blow to this franchise, so if there's any truth to these claims, one would imagine Warner Bros would try their best to keep him on board. Of course, assuming Affleck sticks around for the Batman movie, he'll have played the character in four movies (five if the Wonder Woman rumors are true), so it's not like he was shortchanged with leaving his mark on the Dark Knight.
As it stands now, the solo Batman movie doesn't have a release date yet, though Matt Reeves is currently the frontrunner to be the new director. You can see Ben Affleck back as the Caped Crusader when Justice League is released on November 17.