The writing may have been on the wall, or at least it was enough to get some less optimistic fans speculating. When Ben Affleck stepped down as director of The Batman, a movie he was originally co-writing, directing, and starring in, some saw it as the beggining of the end for the actor in the role, despite the vast majority of fans and critics enjoying what he'd done in his one go so far.
Then new director Matt Reeves dropped the script Affleck had co-written with Geoff Johns, the DC Films co-head and DC Entertainment CCO and president, indicating he wanted to start fresh. Word that Reeves was looking to do a trilogy fueled the rumors further that Affleck might step down before The Batman even spread its wings.
Friday, in the heat of Comic-Con, the first report from a Hollywood trade came in that this was the case; Affleck, originally contracted for at least three full movies, may bow out after two, and DC Films / WB want to make the transition as graceful as possible, but may acknowledge it somehow within the films.
Putting aside any legacy character stepping into the role of Batman (look, they're not going to make a Batman movie without Bruce Wayne in the role, not at this stage in the game), that likely means casting a younger actor as Batman. Then they either make it a plot point (something something Mother Box Darkseid Flash time travel something something), or just put him in there and tell the audience these aren't the droids they're looking for. Sure, The Batman and its potential sequels could take place in the past, but this actor would probably have to be in the next Justice League as well.
It's almost unbelievable to be doing this before his second full appearance as the character, and maybe something will work out for Affleck, but just in case, here are five actors who could take up the mantle of the Bat. We're sticking mostly with TV actors, ready to graduate to one of the highest-profile film roles they could get.
Let's get this one out of the way -- yes, Armie Hammer is a perennial suggestion for various DC characters. He's been on lists for Superman, he's been rumored for Hal Jordan Green Lantern. But assuming that's not the case, he could pull off a great Batman, too. While he's a little lighter-hearted than most Bruce Waynes we've seen, his chemistry with Henry Cavill has already been tested, he's a strapping and young (turns 31 next month) man and has years of possible superheroics in front of him. Look, we still want him as Hal Jordan more, but there's a little-known law that he must be included on all these lists until he's cast in a superhero role.
Another favorite of lists like these, it's only a matter of time before Matt Bomer puts on some kind of super suit. The actor, 39 years old, has expressed his interest in the past, and has at least voiced a hero - Superman - in an animated film. At 6'0", he can look Cavill eye-to-eye, and at 39, he has six extra years to build up the character over Affleck while still being able to pull off a more seasoned Batman. It'd make for a less dramatic transition and still allow them to really play with one actor for awhile. His only big problem? He definitely looks more Superman than Batman.
Fresh off a(nother) return on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it's time for Brett Dalton to graduate to the big League. The square-jawed, smooth-talking and charming Dalton has shown his ability to play a character who's harboring a dark secret, flipping between branches of his personality like a light switch. 6'2" and 34 years old, but most importantly with the personality to play both Bruce Wayne and Batman (even in his darker DCEU moments), this is an actor with the bonafides, and the comic book cred, to step into a new role.
The 37-year-old star of Grimm has an opening in his schedule after the series came to a conclusion this year. He's another TV and genre actor who can look fresh-faced or grizzled, who can charm his way into your heart or terrify you into bending to his will. That basically describes Bruce Wayne and Batman right there. He has big budget experience with 13 Hours, and in what may be a case of destiny, Giuntoli's second-ever acting credit was on Veronica Mars, where he's credited as "Sneed Batman Guy." Boom.
If you've seen this man on Black Sails, where he played Billy Bones, you know one thing for sure: he has that "peak physical condition" thing down pat. Hopper has been stuck in period roles, playing Sir Percival in Merlin and a guest appearance on Game of Thrones, and it's time to bring him into the present. He's 6'5", 32 years old, has the muscles, the charm and even the fight training down already. His character on Sails has been beaten down, but also been a leader - two essentials for Batman. His classical acting background doesn't hurt, either.