Recent rumors have circulated that Warner Bros are ready to replace Ben Affleck as Batman after the Justice League movie is released in November, but would this keep things interesting or would it hamper the progress made by the DCEU in catching up with Marvel?
Kevin Feige, the current president of Marvel Studios, has hinted that the current Marvel universe could come to a close after the Avengers: Infinity War sequel in 2019. If this does happen, then Marvel would have created something extremely unique after making more than 20 movies that are relatively consistent with each other; minus perhaps Ed Norton getting a runout as Bruce Banner.
From Iron Man to Thor: Ragnarok and beyond, the same actors have played the same characters, wearing more or less the same capes which is something Warner Bros haven’t quite managed with the DC heroes. 6 different actors have played Batman since 1989, starting with Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s Batman reimagining up to Ben Affleck. Batman v Superman was supposed to launch the DC Extended Universe and put it into a position to rival Marvel’s own universe, although despite being a financial success, it didn’t quite have the intended impression. The Batman v Superman movie was not well received and stands as a reminder that however popular the character might be, a good movie needs a good story.
Then came Suicide Squad and the less said about that the better. It was a clumsy movie with a bad storyline that should have been made very differently. Despite being an awful movie, Suicide Squad was another DC financial success, although much of this was viewers paying to see how bad the movie could actually be. Warner Bros could not keep releasing dud movies and turning a profit, so it was a relief to both producers and DC fans when Wonder Woman came along and blew audiences away. Wonder Woman was an enjoyable movie with a great cast and a solid story. Wonder Woman was so good in fact, that many are predicting it to get a few Oscar nominations.
The big test for the DCEU comes in November, when the first Justice League movie is released worldwide. The main characters, minus Superman, are billed to star in an epic action move that should loosely follow the story from Justice League War from 2014. Reports have circulated in the media that Warner Bros might remove Affleck after the Justice league movie is released and replace Batman for a scheduled standalone movie in a 2018.
Replacing Affleck would be a huge mistake. Affleck has developed Batman into a darker character than we’ve seen before and it works well in modern cinematography. Batman could potentially feature in any of the planned DC movies, as well as the movies he is already scheduled to appear in; Suicide Squad 2, The Batman, Justice League Dark and Batgirl. He also stands a chance of at least a cameo in Shazam, Green Lantern Corps, The Flash, and Wonder Woman II.
Joss Whedon and Matt Reeves have an important job on their hands as they oversee the Justice League and Batman movies. They need to understand what has worked well in successful superhero movies and what went wrong in the failures. They also need to understand that Batman is crucial to the franchise, and they need to turn him from a grumpy middle-aged git to the leader of the Justice League and the savior of the human race. We need audiences to fall in love with Batman, as they did with Christian Bale’s Batman in the Christopher Nolan movies. Joss Whedon has a harder job on his hands to make people warm to Ben Affleck’s batman as he hasn’t yet had a chance at his own movie. What we could see is the Flash resetting the timeline and giving us an opportunity for a new caped crusader after 2020. Until then, changing actors and pretending movies never happened is not a good idea when the franchise wants to create a cinematic universe to rival Marvel.