If you're Batman, then you plan an escape for any and all possible situations. It doesn't matter if you're fighting the Joker or chasing Catwoman; you always need a way out. Now it looks like the man behind the Bat is no different, as Ben Affleck has already started to see beyond his tenure as The Caped Crusader. In fact, the actor recently spoke out about the possibility of hanging up his black and grey costume sometime after the release of Justice League. Here's what he said:
You don't do it forever, so I want to find a graceful and cool way to segue out of it.
This comment doesn't necessarily mean that Ben Affleck is finishing his run as Batman directly after the release of Justice League, but by his confession to USA Today, it's something on his mind. He also noted that Matt Reeves' solo Batman movie is "something [he's] contemplating," which means he doesn't know exactly when he plans to walk away. He just seems to want an exit that respects the role and provides a payoff for his arc. Affleck has played coy about his future as Batman for months, but these latest remarks seem to hint that he's finally looking for the off-ramp.
The mention of a "graceful and cool" exit from Batman seems to imply that Ben Affleck doesn't simply want to leave the role and get recast by another actor. If that's the case, then there are plenty of established ways to get him out in a way that feels respectful of the fans. Specifically, DC could "kill" Affleck's Batman in adaptations of storylines like Final Crisis, Batman: Endgame, or Batman R.I.P. Beyond that, they could allow an aging Bruce to retire and hand down the mantle of Batman to Dick Grayson (who is already set to debut in Chris McKay's Nightwing movie), or Terry McGinnis in a Batman Beyond film. DC has retired Batman/Bruce Wayne plenty of times in the past, so there's no shortage of in-universe ways to send Affleck out on a high note.
Of course, there's also the fact that the future of Batman on the silver screen may require a younger actor anyway. The Batman director Matt Reeves reportedly has a trilogy planned for the character in the DCEU, and it seems highly likely to assume that (given the crowding in the DC slate) we won't see the first installment in that trilogy for at least a couple of years. Ben Affleck is already 45 years old, and while he clearly keeps himself in good physical condition, Batman is one of the most physically demanding roles in the realm of superhero fiction.
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Whatever ends up happening with Ben Affleck and Batman, we can rest easy knowing that he's not gone yet. Affleck will don the cape and cowl once more when Justice League debuts this weekend on November 17; make sure to get your tickets for the DCEU blockbuster now and check out what critics had to say about the film after early screenings.