Rumours of Ben Affleck’s exit from Warner Bros.’ DCEU have been swirling for years, but were finally confirmed to be true last month when the actor announced that while Matt Reeves The Batman is now scheduled to hit cinemas in 2021, he won’t be the one wearing the cowl.
Reactions to the news have been mixed between those who saw Affleck’s performance as part of what made Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League such disappointing films, and others who felt the actor was merely hamstrung by the movies themselves.
In the past, Affleck’s agreed with some of the critiques of the DCEU, and this week he explained why, from his perspective, it was high time for him to move on.
Speaking to Jimmy Kimmel, Affleck described that as much as he was game to direct The Batman and continue bringing the character to the big screen, he realised that he just wasn’t the right person to make that happen:
I tried to direct a version of [Batman], [I] worked with a really good screenwriter, but kinda just couldn’t come up with a version. Couldn’t crack it. I thought it was time for someone else to take a shot at it. And they’ve got some really good people.
Regardless of which side of the Batfleck debate you fall on, it’s refreshing to see a celebrity levelling with the public, and coming out directly to let people know that they’re just straight-up done with a commitment like this. Especially when you consider how much of the meta-narrative of the DCEU has been shaped by people’s preoccupation with Affleck himself.
Warner Bros. and DC aren’t giving up on Batman movies in the least, but with Affleck stepping out of the picture and the studios shifting their focus to other characters for the foreseeable future, this might be the first step towards bringing the Dark Knight back into the fold in a way that makes him a more central part of the DCEU.