A very successful superhero era ended in 2012 when Christian Bale hung up the cape and cowl with The Dark Knight Rises. His run as Bruce Wayne that began with the debut of Batman Begins led to a fascinating search for a replacement, which eventually resulted in the casting of Ben Affleck for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That said, Affleck obviously wasn't the only actor who tried out, and it seems that The Hobbit star Richard Armitage auditioned for the role as well. In a recent interview, the actor explained:
There was a little flurry once upon a time just after I'd come out of The Hobbit where I auditioned for Batman. It was at the same time that Christian Bale was leaving, there were about five or six actors that were in line for that character, so I went through quite a process with that.
Replacing Christian Bale was an unenviable task for the folks over at Warner Bros. It sounds like there was an exhaustive search, and Richard Armitage stepped in for an audition following his work with Warner Bros. on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey before Affleck ultimately got the role. We have no idea what Armitage's version of Bruce Wayne or The Caped Crusader would've looked like, but it's an intriguing thought exercise to imagine his potential take on the beloved hero.
Richard Armitage stands among a long list of actors who almost got a chance to play Batman, but never did. In addition to the Captain America: The First Avenger veteran, actors like Sicario star Josh Brolin and The Social Network's Armie Hammer were all in consideration for the classic DC Comics badass at various points in time.
It also doesn't sound like Richard Armitage has soured on the idea of Batman as a character or a concept. In fact, the actor continued his interview with Digital Spy and noted that he's incredibly intrigued by the hero's fundamental darkness and sensitivity. Armitage said:
The sort of darker side of a man, and the desire to right some wrongs... I think it's really interesting, that character Bruce Wayne.
Of course, now we're left to wonder if Richard Armitage may ever have a chance to play Batman at some point. Some rumors have suggested that Ben Affleck intends to leave the role behind at some point in the near future, and at 46 years of age, Armitage could still have an opportunity to don the cowl. Although rumors in the past have suggested that Matt Reeves may look to a younger Batman, and we'll be sure to let you know once concrete information is available.
So, while we never got a chance to see this particular version of Batman, we will make sure to bring you any relevant updates related to the character as more information about the future of the DCEU becomes available to us. As for Richard Armitage, you can check him out in Ocean's 8, which is currently in theaters!