The latest reports from DC insiders are indicating what we've all seen coming for some time: Ben Affleck is likely out as Batman. After portraying the role of Bruce Wayne in three live-action films, the actor probably isn't going to don the cowl again.
So the hunt for a new Batman is sure to begin in the near future. The latest rumors for Matt Reeves' upcoming movie, The Batman, indicate that the writer/director is looking to go in a different, younger direction for the titular character, possibly taking from the "Batman: Year One" comic arc.
With that in mind, it's time to look ahead at the Caped Crusader of the future, and pick out a few actors who could take on the role after Affleck officially departs.
Now, there are a lot of actors who could probably play Batman at some point, I get that. So I put in place just a couple of rules/guidelines to help me focus the search.
- The newest reports suggest that Reeves' Batman is going to be much younger than Ben Affleck, so I tried to stick to actors between 25-35 years old. If there's one or two that are a little older, it's because they look younger than they are.
- Race doesn't matter. As long as the actor can pull off the characteristics of Bruce Wayne and Batman, who cares? (Well, some people do but that's just absurd and no one cares what they think.)
- I'm not going to pick someone who already has a major superhero role. For example, Chris Evans can't be Batman. We need to be realistic. If an actor has made an exit from a big franchise however, that's a different story.
That's it, just those three simple rules. After a thorough search, I managed to narrow the field down to just ten actors (plus one honorable mention) that would be perfect in the role of Batman going forward.
And here we go...
When I think of casting a new Batman, the very first name that comes to my mind is Armie Hammer, and it's not even close.
This guy has the charm, sensibility, and wit that it takes to play Bruce Wayne, as well as the dramatic chops and physical prowess to fight crime in the dark streets of Gotham. Hammer truly has everything it takes to absolutely crush it as the next Dark Knight.
On top of everything, Hammer has already signed on to play Batman once in the past, in George Miller's scrapped Justice League: Mortal movie in 2007. Everyone has always believed that Hammer is the right fit for the Caped Crusader, so why not finally give him the chance?
If you haven't figured it out by now, Riz Ahmed is one of the most talented young actors working in Hollywood today. Period.
Ahmed has stolen scenes on the big screen with roles in Nightcrawler and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. On the TV side of the world, the actor has been nominated for Emmys already, taking home the prize for his captivating performance in HBO's The Night Of. That role alone is enough for me to hand him the leading part in pretty much any major franchise.
The one thing that we still haven't seen a lot of from Ahmed is his work hand-to-hand combat, but that may change with his appearance in Venom later this year. Either way, fighting can be learned, but you can't teach raw talent, which is something that Riz Ahmed has absolutely no shortage of.
Dacre Montgomery burst onto the scene with his leading role in the recent Power Rangers movie, which wasn't exactly a hit amongst critics or fans. However, despite the film's shortcomings, Montgomery did an admirable job leading a fairly talented young cast.
It was the role after Power Rangers that got Montgomery on this list, though. I'm talking of course, about Billy Hargrove in Stranger Things.
Yes, Billy is an awful person, and acts as an antagonist to the heroes of Stranger Things. But look a little more closely at the layers beneath the character. He's a guy with a million secrets, and Montgomery was always able to capture that with the utmost sincerity.
That's what we need from Bruce Wayne, and that's what Montgomery can definitely deliver.
This one might cause a little bit of an issue amongst DC TV fans, seeing as how Tyler Hoechlin is Superman in The CW's Arrowverse. However, he hasn't shown up in that universe in a couple of years, so can't he just slide over the big screen and take over as Batman?
Throughout his career, Hoechlin has taken action-driven performances, and made them thoughtful and nuanced. He's got just the right balance needed to play both Bruce Wayne and Batman effectively.
My only worry about Hoechlin is that it's just so hard not to trust any character he's playing. If he can show off a sinister side, the sky is the limit for him as The Caped Crusader.
Ryan Guzman may be one of the least recognizable names on this list, but that might actually work in his favor. Despite his classic good looks, this guy could stand out amongst all of the other actors who have portrayed Bruce Wayne over the years.
In addition to his turn in Heroes Reborn, Guzman is most well-known for his turn as Tyler Hoechlin's best friend/right-hand-man Roper in Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!! While just about every actor in that ensemble could make their case for a shot at Batman, it's Hoechlin and Guzman that would emerge as the strongest candidates.
In case you were wondering, the "B" actually stands for Batman.
Yes, I said it. I don't care that he was in two different Marvel franchises already, his roles there are over and done with. Killmonger is dead, and it's time for Michael B. Jordan to take his rightful place at the head of one of the world's most recognizable franchise.
Jordan has quickly become one of the most sought-after actors working today, and for good reason. Anyone who watched Creed or Black Panther knows that this guy is destined for a place amongst the biggest stars of all time.
A performer like Jordan only comes around once in a while, so Warner Bros. should capitalize while they can and get this man in a cowl.
At times, Ben Barnes can be the suave, elegant, well-mannered man that Bruce Wayne often needs to be. However, there are other times when this guy can portray a vengeful, cutthroat maniac, which represent some of Batman's darker shades.
What makes him the perfect candidate for this role is the fact that he has taken both sides of that coin and brought them into the same character on more than one occasion. In both Westworld and The Punisher, Barnes has displayed the ability to flip his dramatic switch rather quickly, without either side suffering in the performance.
I've long advocated for Zach McGowan to take over for Hugh Jackman as the next Wolverine, but I might like the idea of him as Batman just a little bit better.
McGowan could provide a gritty, rough-around-the-edges Batman, the likes of which we haven't seen on film before. If the story picks up during, or right after, Bruce's time with Ra's al Ghul, McGowan's take on the character could really capture the transition from lethal warrior back to upper-class citizen.
Think back to when Daniel Craig was first cast as James Bond. His take on the iconic character was much darker and more grounded than the ones that came before, but he was able to transform the role and make it his own. I believe McGowan could do the same for the Dark Knight.
Some people like their Batman to be a little bit bigger in size, and Tom Hopper certainly fits that bill.
From roles in Game of Thrones and Black Sails, Hopper has shown that he can be an absolute force in action sequences, already setting him up as a great Batman candidate. Fortunately, his strength on screen is matched by his ability to capture a scene, which is a skill not many actors possess.
If Matt Reeves wants a younger take on Ben Affleck's Batman, and not a total revamp of the character, Hopper is the best bet.
I think we can all agree that Jamie Dornan deserves a better franchise than 50 Shades, and Batman provides that opportunity.
If there is one thing that the 50 Shades franchise did show us about Dornan though, it's that he knows how to play a rich playboy extremely effectively. However, in some of his other roles, Dornan has also shown the ability to handle himself in combat and intense dramatic sequences. You might not want to admit it, but Christian Grey kind of has it all.
To top it off, this would be a great way to get an entire group of fans into the theaters that wouldn't normally give a Batman movie a shot. The comic community and the 50 Shades followers could combine forces to take Batman back to the top of the box office once again.
Okay, so I listed Mustafa Shakir as an "honorable mention" instead of putting him on the actual countdown strictly because he goes against the rules that I set. He's too old to play the version of Batman we're talking about here.
That said, I can't seem to shake the idea of this guy taking on Bruce Wayne. He's quickly becoming my favorite candidate, giving even Armie Hammer a run for his money.
Shakir has the perfect build for Batman, for starters. He's incredibly built, but also fairly lean, and he has a fantastic jaw line that would look awesome underneath the cowl. The dude also looks impeccable in a suit, as we all noticed in Luke Cage Season 2. More than the looks though, Mustafa Shakir is one hell of an actor, and he could find that balance of vigilante justice with the greatest of ease.24comments
I know he's too old for this take on Bruce Wayne, but what if the reports about Reeves' script are somehow inaccurate? If this Batman isn't super young, Shakir is undoubtedly my choice for the Caped Crusader.
What do you think of this list? Let me know by dropping a comment below, or hitting me up on Twitter @CharlieRidgely.