Warner Brothers is looking to remove Ben Affleck from his Batman role, possibly even before The Batman shoots, according to THR.
While studio chief Toby Emmerich has previously stated a desire to retain Affleck "as long as we can," and The Batman director Matt Reeves says he wants Affleck for the role, THR's source claims that the actor will be transitioned out of the role in one of the upcoming DC movies.
It's the latest in a string of hard knocks against Affleck: first dropping out of directing The Batman, then having his script scrapped by new director Reeves. According to Deadline, Affleck also recently dropped out of Netflix thriller Triple Frontier, to focus on wellness and family.
There's a lot going on in this uncertain but plausible story. For one thing, despite the quality of his performance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck hasn't had the best time of it personally, and given his continuing struggle with alcohol addiction, a retreat from punishing superhero schedules could be best for everyone. A recasting also allows Reeves, fresh off completing one of modern cinema's finest trilogies with War for the Planet of the Apes, to hire a new actor for his potential Batman trilogy that fits his particular vision. And of course, this doesn't do the troubled DC Cinematic Universe any favours from a PR perspective.
Affleck is expected to appear at SDCC this weekend to promote Justice League, but his Bruce Wayne may end up merely forming the League, then leaving it. Given the studio's apparent intention to address the recasting in its upcoming films, does this mean that Wayne will hand over the cowl to a new character, as has happened numerous times in the comics (and on TV in Batman Beyond, and in cinema, just barely, at the end of The Dark Knight Rises)? Or will it simply be a straight-up recasting?
Whatever the solution, Matt Reeves' take on Batman may have just become a lot more unique.