Funny how the news of Ben Affleck's departure from the director's chair for The Batman has already become quite well-trod territory, despite the story only breaking last night. So I will spare you a recap of what's gone on. You can check out The Affleck Dossier for that. Instead, let's talk about what else may be in the cards for The Batman.
While Affleck was very adamant that he was going to stay on as the producer and star of The Batman, we mustn't forget that he was equally adamant that he was directing the movie when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live mere weeks ago. So this has people wondering the next big question:
Will Affleck Drop Out Of Playing Batman As Well?!?
Something you've got to understand is that whispers of his departure as director of The Batman have been going around for quite some time. Several of my peers have been talking about it, and everyone seems to have a source that's told them in recent weeks, "Oh yeah, Affleck is not directing The Batman." There's clearly some very tumultuous stuff going on behind the scenes with all of these mixed signals, and so people are really starting to question the value of Affleck's word.
One man in particular posited one particularly fascinating bit of speculation. Mark Hughes, of Forbes, says his confidence has been shaken by these latest developments. Like me, he's heard all of the rumblings of Affleck's departure for weeks now, and he's someone who's been a pretty staunch defender of Warner Bros. and the DCEU. He even came out and railed against film blogs who took some comments from the Shmoes Know podcast about Wonder Woman two weeks ago and ran in really sensational directions with them. So he's not someone who simply throws gas on the fire.
In his report on last night's big news, Hughes noted that he thinks there's a real possibility that Affleck could eventually exit the project and stay on only as a producer/writer. That part comes as no shock, obviously. But what came next was some speculation that perked my ears up, and so I simply had to share it with you:
[Reminder: This is just the speculation of a journalist! Not an official rumor; Not something he claims he heard from a source; Just something he put out there, with all of the knowledge he has of the situation]
Back in December, rumors started to circle around that Armie Hammer was set to board The Batman. He was seen burning the midnight oil alongside Joe Manganiello, who's playing Deathstroke. At the time, much of the speculation was that he'd be playing Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern. I recall finding that to be a bit far-fetched, and I actually ended up suggesting he could be playing Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing (For that, and other casting suggestions for The Batman you've gotta CLICK HERE).
Well, Hughes seems to be of a like mind, as he thinks one option that could/should get considered is the idea of Affleck "passing the cowl" to Grayson (played by Hammer) in The Batman. Remember, in the comics, there have been a couple of times where Grayson has taken on the mantle and become Batman. So it wouldn't be unprecedented.
Then there's the matter that one of the rumored replacements for Affleck's vacated director's chair is George Miller, the man behind the Mad Max movies. Miller was once attached to direct Justice League Mortal, several years ago for Warner Bros.
Who did Miller cast to play Batman in the movie, you ask? Armie Hammer.
So it's a fascinating bit of speculation that a Plan B (or C or D) for Warner Bros. and DC CCO Geoff Johns might be to write out Affleck's Bruce Wayne, and have Dick Grayson become the new Batman for the DCEU. And hey, Hammer has already teamed up with Superman (Henry Cavill) when they made The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for Warner Bros.
On a gloomy day, in the wake of the depressing news of Affleck's decision to not direct The Batman, I figured you may all enjoy that fun bit of pure speculation. And now it's your turn to chime in! What do you think is going to happen? Will Affleck stay on as the star as the film? Will he bow out and create a situation where WB/DC has to pull something like what I've described? Have a better idea? Sound off!