Once upon a time, Ben Affleck was going to make a Batman movie. A lot of us assumed he took the Batman gig specifically because he would get to make a Batman movie. Then, as his run of movies as the caped crusader started rolling out and dividing audiences and each movie got worse than the last, he went from starring in, writing, and directing a Batman movie to just starring in and writing it. And then Warner Brothers and DC Films hired Matt Reeves to direct a Batman movie, and we started the Batfleck Is Done countdown clock. And now it is official: Matt Reeves’ The Batman is slated for June 25, 2021 and Ben Affleck will not star in it. He is done as Batman.
However, because Warners/DC won’t just come out and admit when a thing is dead, the door remains open a sliver. The Batman will feature a younger Bruce Wayne (this is going to be a nightmare round of casting roulette), so Affleck will not reprise the role as he is playing an older, grizzled, miserable version of the character. But this doesn’t mean Batfleck couldn’t come back in another movie of his own, it just means he’s not in Matt Reeves’ movie. I mean, we all know he’s done, we’ve all known he’s done for a while. It became clear even before word that Henry Cavill is done as Superman got out. And while they are making it clear that Affleck won’t be involved with Reeves’ movie, look at how they leave the door that tiny bit open for Batfleck. Even Ben Affleck’s tweet is vague enough to not be a straight “I’m done”.
I wish they would just call it like it is and confirm all these people and versions of these characters are done. Don’t dance around Henry Cavill’s future with “he’s still our guy…it’s just we have no immediate plans to make a movie with him”. Don’t confirm Affleck is out of one Batman movie without also confirming he’s exiting the role entirely. It is transparent to us that is what is happening, and by not just admitting it, Warners/DC looks like a substitute teacher who won’t acknowledge they’ve lost control of the classroom. I get the publicity perspective of not admitting that they’re tossing several years’ worth of movies and storytelling because it just didn’t work out—they’re under so much pressure from their shareholders to compete with Marvel and that would not go over well on an investor call—but I really don’t think the soft-pedal approach is any better. We’re not dumb, we understand the Zack Snyder experiment didn’t work and the grimdark DCEU is dead. Just make it official.
Speaking of, how about an official plan for The Flash? Ezra Miller’s solo movie is expected to film this year, and was rumored for a 2021 release date. But Warners just dated a bunch of movies for 2021—that’s how we found out about Affleck—and The Flash is nowhere to be seen. You know what is? Suicide Squad 2 with James Gunn at the helm. That’s due August 6, 2021. And taking the May 21, 2021 spot “DC Event Film” is….DC Super Pets. Which, don’t get me wrong, could be SO CUTE. But it’s not a Flash movie. So what is going on with The Flash? I’m calling it—an Ezra Miller Flash movie won’t happen. They’ll never admit it, but they’ll keep pushing this movie back until it just doesn’t happen.