When Warner Bros. hired Ben Affleck to play Batman back in the summer of 2013, it looked like it was going to be for a very long engagement. After all, the studio was in the early stages of building their DC Extended Universe, and the Dark Knight is kind of an important figure in that franchise. Since then, Affleck has appeared in two DC Comics movies - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad - and later this year he will star in his third, Justice League. Unfortunately, however, new reports are suggesting that the upcoming Zack Snyder film may be one of Affleck's final turns playing the Caped Crusader.

The Hollywood Reporter has published a piece about Ben Affleck's future as Batman, and it isn't exactly super positive. According to the story, the actor is still attached to star in the developing Batman solo film (a project he was once going to direct), but that may not actually happen. Instead, sources are saying that the studio plans on starting a process to "gracefully" move on in a different direction without the Affleck, addressing the change in one of their upcoming projects.

One could say that signs were pointing in this direction. Not only did Matt Reeves replace Ben Affleck as the director of the solo Batman movie earlier this year, but it was revealed just a few weeks ago that Reeves doesn't plan on using any of the script that Affleck co-wrote with DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. THR also points out that Reeves has been developing plans for a full trilogy of movies, and that may not work out so well time-wise given that Affleck is now 45 years old and would likely be in his mid-50s by the time a three-feature arc wraps up. This obviously wouldn't disqualify him from the part, but the report notes the benefit of doing a soft reboot with a fresh face.

Not ignoring the elephant in the room, we can't ignore that Ben Affleck's time playing the Dark Knight has not received the ideal at-large response - even though both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad did make plenty of money at the box office. While Affleck only had a very small role to play in the latter, both films were completely torn apart by critics when they were released in 2016, and the actor's depressed reaction to that fact literally became a meme. When you consider how he had previously managed to completely turn his career around directing movies like Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo, you can begin to understand why he may want to distance himself from the superhero franchise.

There is suggestion in the new report that Ben Affleck could continue to play Batman in Justice League follow-ups while the solo films star a different actor in the role, but that idea is also dismissed as implausible given that a Justice League 2 could still be long off from now. Regardless, we should definitely be hearing about developments in the coming months - and we will certainly be curious to see if the matter is addressed during this Saturday's Warner Bros. presentation/panel at San Diego Comic-Con. You can be sure that we will be following this news very closely, so stay tuned here on CinemaBlend, and hit the comments section with your thoughts on this development!

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