UPDATE (2/14/17): Looks like I might have been pretty prescient about this. Rumors have been circling for a long time that Affleck has been unhappy with his role as Batman, but a new round of rumors say that he’s approached a few people at Warner Bros. on how to remove himself from the role of Bruce Wayne. If this is true, this is pretty much the death knell for the DC Extended Universe. We’ll stay on top of this if anything develops. Check out mine and Brian Linder’s reaction and discussion about this rumor.
Original article is below.
The Batman has a lot riding on it. It's fair to say that the DC Extended Universe films have not been warmly welcomed by most fans. The only aspect that seems to have garnered some significant praise has been Ben Affleck's portrayal of Bruce Wayne. His involvement with the character has been in-depth to the point of being in charge of this new solo Batman film. Or will he be?
Recently, Affleck talked about the upcoming film and stressed that it does not yet have a script. The Batman is still in the early stages of development. But, if it doesn't get to a point that Affleck is happy with, will it even happen? Speaking to The Guardian, Affleck said, "If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great, I’m not going to do it."
Live by (Dark) Night
Look, it's clear that Affleck has become somewhat perturbed at the response to the DC films. He was dead-set on reversing his superhero fortunes after the misfire that was Daredevil. Affleck is a golden boy over at Warner Bros. and their mishandling of the DC films has been a strong point of contention between Affleck and the studio. He wants these movies and characters to be critically beloved. So far, they have not been.
It wouldn't be surprising to see Affleck leave this series if the reception to Justice League suffers the same fate as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If Affleck does decide to abandon the character, it would probably mean the end of the DC Extended Universe. Batman is the flagship character of that world (sorry, Clark) and there's no way audiences would accept such a big piece of recasting. If Justice League tanks in the critical sphere, it might be the last time we see Affleck in the Batsuit.
Affleck is a talented director and I'd love to see his take on the Dark Knight. But, if things don't start looking up, it's sounding like Affleck might be thinking of an escape plan. Could he possibly know something about Justice League's quality already? Or is this just a simple case of a director negotiating in public? If Warner Bros. is smart, they'll let Affleck have final cut on The Batman and let it be made with as little interference as possible. Or maybe he'll hand over directing duties to someone else and still perform in the film. At this point, things seem to be up in the air.
Justice League opens on November 17. Keep your fingers crossed that it's good.