While superhero movies are everywhere, there are certain characters that carry more iconography and legacy. Chief among them is Batman, as Gotham's Caped Crusader has been portrayed in both live-action and animation. Ben Affleck's is the DCEU's Bruce, debuting only a few years after the completion of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. Affleck's experienced and jaded Bruce Wayne was considered one of the high points of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, although DC superfan and director/writer Kevin Smith was hoping Christian Bale would return to the role. Why? Because Nolan was a producer on Man of Steel, therefore opening the possibility up for a crossover and even a shared universe. As Smith tells it,
It feels like they weren't saying that Ben was Christian Bale, but they were saying like 'oh he's been around for years he's not that guy anymore.' I think I would have preferred it, and this ain't shitting on Affleck, but as a guy who loved the Nolan trilogy when they announced like hey they're making Man of Steel and Chris Nolan's a producer on it, 'I was like "oh fuckk man, so that means like his Batman and his Superman will coexist.' And then ultimately it wound up being Zack Snyder's Superman and Batman instead. I would have preferred the Christian Bale version just as a continuity freak.
Is anyone else's mind blown? While Christopher Nolan's involvement in Man of Steel was definitely exciting at the time, there was no way of knowing that Zack Snyder's Superman film was actually going to be the first entry in another shared universe. As such, the possibility of Christian Bale popping up as Bruce Wayne wasn't at the forefront of most people's minds. That is, except Kevin Smith.
Kevin Smith's comments about the Bale/Affleck debate come from a new episode of his podcast Fatman of Batman. While talking fan questions, Smith revealed how he hoped Christian Bale could continue his tenure as Batman, and therefore crossover with Man of Steel. Ultimately both Bale and Christopher Nolan turned over the mantle of the Dark Knight, making room for Batfleck and all of his sad meme glory.
In his same conversation about Christopher Nolan's involvement in Man of Steel, Kevin Smith also maintained that an organic shared universe like that would have avoided a ton of fan criticism, saying:
And also it would have been like, what does everyone bitch about DC movies doing? Oh, they're trying to be like Marvel and catch up to Marvel. They had it right there. They were like making these fucking Batman movies forever so now we're just going to connect them, so we've got a universe but instead they launched a brand-new universe.
Keeping Christian Bale on as Batman was probably a bit unrealistic, especially after he starred in three movies. And though Ben Affleck has done a great job as the character, it's unclear how long he'll keep on the helm after the less than stellar reviews of Batman v Superman, Justice League, and Suicide Squad. We'll just have to wait and see.
The next installment in the DCEU is James Wan's Aquaman on December 21st, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.