The Batman is dead, long live the Batman! This is how it is for fans of the caped crusader. Sure, Bruce Wayne may be ageless and eternal in the pages of DC Comics for 80 years, but mere mortals age. Michael Keaton is more like Bruce Wayne in the Batman Beyond series than the character he played in Tim Burton’s Batman. Val Kilmer, Christian Bale, and (only slightly) George Clooney are all different, older than when they donned the cape and cowl. When Ben Affleck got the bat-nod, they employed a smart strategy. Instead of trying to play younger, he played Bruce Wayne older. He could age into the role. At least, that was the plan before Ben Affleck stopped being the Batman.
Last year, the long-reported exit of the Argo director and star became official when they cast Robert Pattinson as the new Batman. Fans were devastated. Not just because all Batman fans are devastated when the new guy gets cast. Batfleck (as he’s fondly known) never really got his chance to shine. We were supposed to get a trilogy of Justice League movies and a new story about Batman in the twilight of his superhero career. Now, for the first time, Ben Affleck opened up about why he stopped being the Batman. No, it wasn’t over some silliness about the Snyder Cut or anything like that. It was simply because he had to get healthy.
From The New York Times:
Africa in 1900 is a long way from The Batman, which Affleck was supposed to direct himself. He stepped aside, allowing Matt Reeves to take over (and Robert Pattinson to don the cowl), after deciding that the troubled shoot for Justice League had sapped his interest. Affleck never seemed to enjoy his time as Batman; his sullen demeanor while promoting Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 resulted in the hit meme Sad Affleck. “I showed somebody The Batman script,” Affleck recalled. “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.’”
Image via Warner Bros,
As much as fans want to see Zach Snyder’s actual vision for Justice League, I would love to read Affleck’s take on the Dark Knight. Nonetheless, supporting a massive superhero franchise on his broad shoulders while going through a divorce and getting sober would never work. Just as we may have missed out on something special from Snyder, we missed out on the heights that Batfleck could have achieved. Still, that’s selfish. We should be happy that Affleck seemingly found equilibrium and is back to making the sort of movies he wants to. (The “Africa” reference in the above quote is about the film King Leopold’s Ghost about colonialism in the Congo.
Update: More Batman Talk on The Way Back Press Tour
Below you can find a video where Ben Affleck opens up about “losing the passion” for telling Batman stories after his experiences working on Batman v. Superman and Justice League.
What do you think? Are you sad that Ben Affleck stopped being the Batman or are you glad that he stepped away for his health? Share your takes in the comments below.
Featured image via Warner Bros.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.