Last week brought some good news to the often embattled DC Films universe when it was reported that War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves has been chosen to direct The Batman, Ben Affleck's first solo outing as the Caped Crusader. That news came after frequent rumors of script trouble and, more importantly, after Affleck himself stepped down as director to focus on starring in and co-writing the flick. Reeves is a hot genre director who could provide some much-needed new perspective for a budding cinematic universe, but now more bad news could be on the horizon.
On Monday's episode of Collider Movie Talk, Collider's John Campea revealed that he'd heard from three sources connected to Warner Bros.' DC Films who told him that Affleck is ready to drop out of the Batman role altogether.
"They're telling me Ben Affleck, make no mistake, he does want out," Campea said. "He doesn't want to be Batman anymore is what I've been told. I've been told that Affleck is talking with Warner Bros. in an attempt to get out of being Batman, and if they do not let him out of being Batman, that the stand-alone Batman film that ultimately happens will be the last time we see Affleck as Batman."
Campea cautioned repeatedly that we should take his report with a big grain of salt, and so we shall. Still, if this is true, it would put DC Films in its most awkward situation yet. Rewrites have been ordered, extensive reshoots have happened, and directors have even departed over creative differences, but this would be the first time the franchise has lost one of its Justice League stars. For his part, Affleck has joked in the past about the frustrations of fan demand for his Bat-performances, so perhaps the franchise grind really got to him.
If it's true, and Warner Bros. does talk Affleck into staying, that would leave him with two films still to go: The Batman and the second half of Justice League. It's unclear what exactly would happen if he leaves early. Perhaps he'd just return for the Justice League sequel to be killed off or retired, and then someone else could make a solo film. Perhaps something else will happen entirely.
Again, take this all with a grain of salt. We don't know everything that goes on behind the scenes at Warner Bros. and Affleck may very well stick around. At the very least, though, this presents more bad optics for an already troubled franchise.