After more than a year of rumors that Ben Affleck was done playing the Dark Knight detective, a new report suggests that he is hoping to suit up as Batman one more time before he retires the cape and cowl.
Affleck, who premiered as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and then had a minor appearance in Suicide Squad before leading Justice League alongside Gal Gadot, has drawn generally favorable reviews for his performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman, even as the films he appeared in have left most critics cold. His original plans to direct and star in The Batman, though, fell apart in slow motion, eventually leading fans to wonder whether Justice League would prove to be his inadvertent swan song.
“He is back in shape not only for his health but he has a new-found love on doing Batman at least one more time again,” a source close to Affleck told Hollywood Life. “He feels he isn’t finished with what he wants to do with the character. There has been talk about replacing him, but he is now seeing what he might lose and really wants to play the character again. Especially seeing what Joaquin Phoenix is doing with the Joker character.”
According to the source, Affleck is working with Warner Bros. to figure out a way to make it happen. It might be a longshot, though. Affleck has reportedly voiced an interest in working with Phoenix, who has not only traditionally scorned sequels but whose Joker reportedly exists outside of the shared universe of DC's current movie slate.
Still, if they could make it work, the ages for Affleck and Phoenix just about line up and an exploration of an older, wiser Batman and Joker who have been playing cat-and-mouse for years is familiar territory to comics fans but something completely new to live-action audiences.
If Warner and Affleck were to somehow make it happen, it would be an interesting transition of Affleck's Batman out of the shared universe (presumably to be replaced by whatever, younger actor director Matt Reeves eventually casts in The Batman) and into the stand-alone films.
Some recent rumors have suggested that, given Affleck's recent trip to rehab for substance abuse issues, it might be prohibitively expensive to insure a $200 million blockbuster with Affleck in the leading role.
Joker is expected to debut in theaters on October 4, 2019. Upcoming DC Extended Universe films include Aquaman on December 21st, Shazam on April 5, 2019, and Wonder Woman 2 on November 1, 2019.