Warner Bros. have just announced that Ben Affleck is set to star as Batman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman vs Superman film. The as-yet-untitled sequel to Man of Steel, which will again be directed by Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, has also been given a release date of July 17, 2015.
According to the press release, Affleck and Snyder will create “an entirely new incarnation of the character”, suggesting a re-boot for Bruce Wayne and his heroic alter-ego. The release goes on to say, “Snyder successfully re-imagined the origin of Clark Kent/Superman in the worldwide blockbuster “Man of Steel,” which has earned more than $650 million worldwide to date, and climbing. The director will now create an original vision of Batman and his world for the film that brings the two DC Comics icons together.“
Snyder said of his casting choice, “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.” In addition, Henry Cavill will return as Superman together with Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White.
While Christian Bale had emphasized he would not be returning to the role he had made his own over seven years and a trilogy of films, many were hoping that the outcome would be different, especially as the Batman vs Superman film is, as rumored, depicting an older Batman, which would have picked up nicely from where The Dark Knight Rises left off. Interestingly Affleck is two years older than Bale, suggesting that it was Bale’s choice not to return.
While fans will undoubtedly be disappointed by this decision, it is unclear to what extent they will get behind Affleck, whose previous venture into superhero territory – as Marvel’s Daredevil, in the 2003 Fox-produced film – was not particularly well-received. Although he maintained some nerd street-cred for his cameos in Kevin Smith films (at least until Jersey Girl) and he has now re-established himself as a critically-acclaimed director, most recently for Argo, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture earlier this year, replacing a much-loved actor such as Christian Bale in an iconic role such as Batman is not easy and will require a serious PR push to get fans on board.
After all, just ask Mark Ruffalo.