How to Replace Batman in the DCEU

Abel Loza Abel Loza
Expert Contributor
August 1st, 2017

If you give me the chance, ill talk your ear off about comic books. As the legend states, "Abel's first words were 'Batman.'" #TeamBatman

How to Replace Batman in the DCEU
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The nerd community has recently been on an emotional roller-coaster since rumors began to circulate at San Diego Comi Con about Ben Affleck’s departure from the DCEU. These rumors were seemingly put to rest by Affleck himself as he proclaimed that he loved the role and that he loves Matt Reeves, director of the upcoming solo film, The Batman. ComiConverse’s Batman expert, Abel Loza, doesn’t necessarily think that this is the end of the story, and he gives us different options on how to replace Batman, who could replace Batman, and analyzes how much the actor playing Batman matters.

How to Replace Batman in the DCEU

One of the biggest pieces of news that broke during San Diego Comi Con, was that the future of Ben Affleck as Batman in the DCEU is uncertain. Originally reported by The Hollywood Reporter, it was believed that Warner Brothers was planning on ushering out Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader and replace him. The articles justified the report by stating that because Affleck has slowly backed away from the film The Batman, first departing as director then as the screenwriter, Warner Brothers is trying to make the move away from Affleck as Batman completely and remove him entirely from the DCEU.

Affleck’s slow separation from the project wasn’t the only reason reported as being a factor. The article cited age as a major factor as to why WB wanted to move away from Affleck, “In addition, Affleck will turn 45 in August, and so he would be pushing 50 before The Batman arrives in theaters. If Reeves makes a trilogy, Affleck would be in his mid-50s at best by the time that’s done. Maybe Tom Cruise could pull that off, but Affleck’s body hasn’t exactly been a temple,” wrote Kim Masters, author of the article.

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These rumors were seemingly put to rest by Affleck during the Warner Brother's panel Saturday at SDCC ( You can ciew the video below):

For many, Affleck’s words brought relief as their Bruce Wayne would not be leaving the DCEU after all. For me however, these words were not as reassuring as I would have hoped. Although Affleck praised how cool it was to be Batman and how amazing Matt Reeves is, he never flat out stated, “I will not be leaving as Batman.” Perhaps I’m looking too much into it, but I would hate to see my favorite big screen Batman leave the DCEU, especially since the universe has now picked up momentum after the success of Wonder Woman and the newly released Justice League Trailer.

I think that Affleck’s decision is one that lives in the moment. A lot will be determined with how successful Justice League is with critis and audiences. Affleck was obviously hurt by the negative reviews for Batman V Superman, as we have all seen the “Sad Affleck” meme from last year. Most can agree though that besides the first appearance of Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman was the highlight of Batman vs. Superman.

All that aside, I want to analyze the worst case scenario: Ben Affleck decides to leave Batman and the DCEU. What would that do to Batman in the DCEU? If that comes to pass, we will need to answer three important questions: 1) How do they replace Ben Affleck as seamlessly as possible? 2) Who can replace him as Batman? 3) How much does the actor playing Batman ultimately matter?

How does DC replace Ben Affleck as seamlessly as possible?

There are many great storylines in the almost 80 years of DC comic books that could seamlessly explain a Batman replacement within the DCEU. Here are few story lines that can make way for a new Batman:

Knightfall

replace batman

Credit: DC Entertainment

In the Knightfall storyline, Bane comes from the island of Santa Prisca to break Batman’s back in his own house. This is one of the greatest Batman storylines of all time and could give way for a possible angle where Affleck could be replaced. In the DCEU it has been established that Bruce Wayne is already a seasoned crime fighting veteran, a broken back by the hands of Bane might sideline him for good. Robin (there have been rumors circulating of a Nightwing movie) could take over as Batman. This storyline would also give way for a more comic-accurate Bane. Although I was a big fan of the Christopher Nolan Bane, I would love to see a juiced up Bane break Batman’s back on the big screen.

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Batman Beyond

replace batman

Credit: DC Entertainment

A Batman Beyond movie would be really interesting for a couple of different reasons. The first is that Batman Beyond is one of the most unknown and underrated version of Batman. Secondly, the answer to a Batman change could play into the Knightfall storyline which saw our previously injured Batman make a return as a withered, broken mentor to the new Batman.

The only problem with this angle though is Terry McGinnis needs Bruce Wayne to be his mentor, and if Ben Affleck refuses to come back to reprise the role this idea could be done.

 

Nightwing

replace batman

Credit: DC Entertainment

There have has been talks about creating a “Bat-Universe” inside the DCEU. Batgirl, The Batman, Gotham City Sirens and Nightwing have all been rumored. If the plan is to fully replace Batman, Nightwing could take up the mantle if Bruce Wayne decides to hang it up. If DC establishes Nightwing as a viable character in a solo film, then it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Dick Grayson as the heir apparent to the Bat suit.

Flashpoint

replace batman

Credit: DC Entertainment

Warner Brother announced during SDCC that the upcoming Flash movie, which has been in production hell, will be titled Flashpoint. Flashpoint is not only one of the greatest crossover events in DC history, but there is no better fix to a problem than time travel. If there is going to be a change, this is the easiest way to accomplish it. Whether or not a Flashpoint story line can translate to the big screen is another question, but as far as a solution to Warner Brothers’ Batman problem, this is the best choice.

Side Note: How awesome would it be to finally see an adaptation for the Dark Knight Returns? If Affleck is open to a return, I think he could play the perfect old(er) Bruce Wayne. If they use the Nightwing angle, Bruce Wayne could retire, something could happen to Nightwing and BOOM! You have the chance to do a Dark Knight Returns live action adaptation.

Who’s next in line?

If a replacement does have to be made, who should step in for Affleck?

Armie Hammer

replace batman

Credit: DC Entertainment

To me, Armie Hammer would be the best pick to play Batman in the case of a switch. Hammer was picked by director George Miller to play Batman in his now famously scrapped film Justice League: Mortal, which was slated to come out in 2009.  Hammer is only 30 years old which means that there would be no concerns about age. Hammer would also be a great Nightwing.

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Jon Hamm

replace batman

Credit: DC Entertainment, AMC

Another actor who has the Bruce Wayne look to him is Jon Hamm. Hamm showed us in Mad Men that he can play a sophisticated rich type and with a good script Hamm could really shine in a Reeves directed Batman film. Also, that jawline would be great under the cowl.

 

Christian Bale

replace batman

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Although many would like to see Bale reprise his role of the Dark Knight, this would lead to a bunch of confusion to casual fans as to if the Nolan trilogy ties into the DCEU Batman trilogy and I think executives want to avoid that. So I’m pretty certain Bale would not be picked to play Batman again.

Does it ultimately matter which actor plays Batman?

Ultimately, does it matter who plays Batman? Is the character a big enough property that even an unknown could play the Dark Knight and draw big crowds to the movies? My answer is, not really.

Batman is arguably the most popular superhero in the world. Batman is a dream role for any actor. However, even great actors like George Cooney have stumbled when donning the cowl.

The upcoming The Batman trilogy is going to be helmed by Matt Reeves, who recently directed the magnificent second and third films in the recent Planet of The Apes prequel trilogy (check out the ComiConverse review for War for The Planet of The Apes by our resident film critic Jordan Samuel). Both of these movies have been critically and commercially successful, so it can be said that the upcoming trilogy will be in good hands under Reeves. This might also make the presence of a a star actor as Batman less necessary. An unknown actor, who is well suited to the role, like Tom Holland in the recent Spider-Man: Homecoming, could be cast as Batman.

replace batman

Credit: DC Entertainment

All of this aside, I hope Affleck doesn’t leave. Affleck has been the most comic-book-accurate Batman that we have seen on screen. That warehouse scene from Batman vs Superman is made entirely from my childhood dreams. (and don’t get me started with this “He killed people!”. Have you seen the original Batman? Batman flung a guy from a church steeple!) . If Justice League is as good as the trailer looked, I think we are in store for at least three more Bat-ffleck Batman Movies and we can all breath a collective sigh of relief.

However in the event that we do have to get a new Batman, I outlined a few ways that DC should do it, who could possibly replace Affleck and does it ultimately matter who Batman is (Probably not).

Abel Loza is a contributor to ComiConverse. Follow on twitter: @st_abel45

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