Batfleck is back, baby! News broke earlier that Ben Affleck would return to the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight for Andy Muschietti’s planned The Flash. While not a direct adaptation of the classic “Flashpoint” storyline, The Flash is expected to find Barry Allen exploring the Multiverse, where he’ll encounter other versions of Bruce Wayne (including Michael Keaton’s from the earlier Tim Burton efforts).
But for how long is Batfleck back? This is becoming the point of debate, as some see this as an opportunity for the actor to close his open loop on his time in the Batsuit. But I’m looking at it differently. I’m seeing it more as a launching pad for future Batman stories that Ben Affleck can tell, in the DCEU and outside of it.
Audiences are about to get more Batfleck in 2021, when the character gets proper treatment courtesy of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Fans fought for three years to get the Snyder Cut of Justice League secured, and it’s coming to HBO Max at some point next year. We don’t know how Affleck’s character arc will conclude in that cut of the movie, but when Snyder’s Justice League was due to drop in 2017, it was going to tease both a Justice League Part 2, and a Ben Affleck-directed solo Batman movie that was going to feature Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello).
Maybe the Snyder Cut still teases those movies?
Bringing Ben Affleck back into the fold, in any fashion, opens the door to increased involvement in the DC movies. The Flash could be a farewell… but it doesn’t have to be. Depending on how he is treated in the Multiverse, his appearance in The Flash could lead to Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne getting a theatrical movie in the DCEU.
It could also lead to him doing an original Batman series for HBO Max.
We don’t know for certain, but I’m beginning to believe that Zack Snyder is going to divide his existing Justice League footage into episodes, to make the Snyder Cut into HBO’s next Watchmen, or Game of Thrones. HBO Max needs powerful, compelling genre content to lure subscribers, so re-establishing Affleck’s Caped Crusader in The Flash so that he can continue in some form (be it a theatrical movie or an HBO Max series) makes a lot of sense.
There’s also less of a need to push for strong continuity in the projects the minute you introduce the Multiverse. Say, for example, Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) ventures off on an adventure that starts on the timeline that’s connected to the theatrical cut (the Joss Whedon version) of Justice League. But one of the multiverses that he visits is the SnyderVerse that we see in Snyder’s HBO Max presentation. Then Affleck is free to continue in that format, without disrupting any timelines.
Also, have you seen Affleck lately? That dude looks ready to keep playing Batman for a decade.
If anything, I’m surprised that Affleck’s return vehicle is The Flash. I thought he’d either get to do his own thing, or collaborate with Zack Snyder on a project. But agreeing to be in The Flash opens all sorts of portals into future projects that Affleck can do in the Batsuit, so long as he is willing and able. That’s my bet. What’s yours? Vote in the poll below, and let’s see where this goes!