Can the DC movie universe survive swapping out Ben Affleck’s Batman?

According to the latest batch of rumors, fans shouldn’t get too attached to Ben Affleck as Batman. If that does happen it could be a disastrous blow for Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe series.

The Hollywood Reporter says Warner is working on a plan to ‘gracefully’ send Affleck packing. One of the main reasons is War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves is working on a new Batman trilogy. There’s already been some reason to believe there’s some tension on that front. Reeves revealed he wasn’t using Affleck and Geoff Johns’ script for the Batman standalone film.

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THR says Affleck’s age — 45 years old — is a factor. Best case scenario if Reeves’ trilogy only took six years to complete, he would be 51, a year younger than Robert Downey Jr., who’s winding down his stint in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Downey’s Iron Man doesn’t require the same level of physicality needed in a Batman film.

Batman-V-Superman-Dawn of Justice Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman-min

Of course, this begs the obvious question of why Warners didn’t consider Affleck’s age when they initially hired him for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Affleck’s co-stars, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, are 34 and 32 respectively. BvS director Zack Snyder wanted to go for an older Batman to signal his long years under the cowl. Snyder has stepped back from the DC Extended Universe for personal matters while Joss Whedon completes Justice League so maybe there’s an overall change in philosophy now?

With the success of Wonder Woman, it’s likely Warner Bros. wants an entirely fresh take with as few ties to the Snyder era as possible. But this deep into a franchise, swapping out major characters is a risky move.

Marvel had to replace Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle for the supporting role of James Rhodes. Edward Norton got replaced with Mark Ruffalo in the role of The Hulk. That worked out fine for Marvel Studios, but the timing is terrible for Warner.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Both Howard and Norton only appeared in one film in the then developing Marvel Cinematic Universe. Affleck’s Batman has already been side to side in the same film with Cavill’s Superman and  Gadot’s Wonder Woman. To further complicate matters, Affleck has been heavily featured in the Justice League trailers and promotional art. Swapping him out now would be like replacing Chris Evans as Captain America in the MCU after the first Avengers film.

Having a different actor in Reeves’ trilogy might not be a bad decision. It’s not like Wonder Woman’s success hinged on a Batman cameo. A main factor depends on if Warner Bros. wants Reeves’ Batman to be fully incorporated into the overall connected universe.

Either way, Affleck will definitely be in Justice League set for a Nov. 17 release. Beyond that? It’s a riddle. Better call in Edward Nygma.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

 

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