Will Warner Bros. Studios have to bring a Crisis into the DC Universe to explain Ben Affleck's possible departure? A report broke earlier today that WB could be transitioning Affleck out of the Batman role due to his age and future plans for a trilogy of Batman films.
While WB has successfully switched out Batman actors before, this time they're in a unique conundrum due to the growth of a unified cinematic DC Universe. With Batman central to the creation of the DC Extended Universe's Justice League, it might be a bit difficult to simply switch out actors with no explanation while the rest of the cast remains the same.
However, there is an easy "out" for DC if they look to the comics. In 2008, DC Comics famously killed Batman off in the pages of Final Crisis when he confronted and fatally wounded Darkseid during Darkseid's occupation of Earth. After the event was over, Batman's first sidekick Dick Grayson took up the cape and cowl for several years until he discovered that Bruce Wayne wasn't actually dead, but trapped in time.
WB has strongly hinted that Darkseid will be the "big bad" of the DC Extended Universe and the upcoming Justice League movie will feature several of the Apokoliptian warlord's lieutenants and lackeys as the villains of the film.
While Final Crisis is a bit dense for a straight up movie adaptation (the comic features the collapse of time and space and a battle between an alternate universe army of Supermen and an evil interdimensional being attempting to eat all of reality,) it's possible that WB could lift Batman's sacrifice from Final Crisis as the means to end Affleck's involvement in the DC movie universe.
Of course, this is all pure conjecture. Although THR is reporting Affleck's eventual departure, it's possible that they're wrong and Affleck will announce he's staying on as Batman for life. We'll have to wait and see if more news breaks at SDCC. But, if WB announces that the next Justice League movie will have the word "Crisis" in the title, don't be shocked if it ends with Batman taking an Omega Beam to the head and heart.
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In Justice League, fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes -- Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash -- it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder, from a screenplay by Chris Terrio, based on a story by Snyder and Terrio, Justice League stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Ciarán Hinds, Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, and J. K. Simmons.