- Warner Bros.
- Actor Ben Affleck is reportedly heading back to rehab for alcohol addiction treatment.
- This raises further speculation about Affleck’s role as Batman, which has already been called into question numerous times.
- “The Batman” director Matt Reeves reportedly wants a younger version of the character, which means that Affleck would most likely not return.
- Warner Bros. has also reshaped its strategy for its DC films, and is moving away from a shared cinematic universe in favor of standalone stories.
Actor Ben Affleck is heading back to rehab to seek treatment for alcohol addiction, first reported by People and corroborated by multiple other outlets. That’s a subject that should not be taken lightly, but it also raises speculation about Affleck’s standing within the universe of DC films in which he portrays Batman.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the actor can receive the help he needs and also continue in his role as the Dark Knight, who he has played in three movies so far (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad,” and “Justice League”).
But even before this report, Affleck’s future as the Caped Crusader, especially in director Matt Reeves’ (“War for the Planet of the Apes”) upcoming solo film, had been called into question numerous times.
First, The Hollywood Reporter reported last July that DC and Warner Bros. were looking for a way to “usher out” Affleck’s Batman, and address the change in a future film within the DC Extended Universe. Since then, rumors have consistently suggested that Affleck would be out, Warner Bros. has reshaped its entire DC film strategy, and “Justice League” tanked critically and financially when it opened in November.
After a series of failures, Warner Bros. is moving away from its shared cinematic universe of DC Comics properties to focus on standalone stories. “Wonder Woman” proved to be a critical and commercial hit, and it’s no coincidence that it was largely removed from that broader universe. The sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984,” will likely follow suit, as will the upcoming “Aquaman” and “Shazam!” movies.
This suggests that Affleck’s take on Batman no longer fits into Warner Bros.’ plans. Furthermore, Reeves’ screenplay for his solo film, tentatively titled “The Batman,” reportedly features a younger version of the character, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Affleck wouldn’t make an appearance, perhaps as an older Bruce Wayne who trains a next-generation Batman. But it’s becoming more and more apparent that Affleck will probably not headline the movie.
“The Batman” does not have a release date set yet, but if Reeves has finished a draft of the script, it’s likely that it will move forward sooner rather than later – and that doesn’t bode well for the chances of Affleck’s return.