Frequent Zack Snyder collaborator and storyboard artist Jay Oliva believes Ben Affleck's never-made Batman movie would have "made fans proud" with the actor and director's version of the Dark Knight. Oliva, the storyboard artist behind the Snyder-directed Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, worked with Affleck on his planned standalone Batman movie until the Argo filmmaker exited the project — and the DC Extended Universe. When Affleck confirmed his retirement from the cape and cowl in 2019, he said he "couldn't crack" his version of The Batman scripted with co-writer Geoff Johns. According to Oliva, the fandom would have embraced Affleck's abandoned Batman movie:
"I was working with [Affleck] personally just prior to him leaving the project and not once did he seem like he didn't want to be Batman," Oliva tweeted in response to a critic's allegation that Affleck "didn't want to be Batman anymore" after Batman v Superman.
"His version of Batman in his solo movie would have [made] fans proud," Oliva added.
I'm curious where you got this info from Scott? Did Ben tell you this because I was working with him personally just prior to him leaving the project and not once did he seem like he didn't want to be Batman. His version of Batman in his solo movie would have mad fans proud.— Jay Oliva (@jayoliva1) December 29, 2020
Warner Bros. retooled The Batman as a reboot with director Matt Reeves and a story about a younger Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) in his second year as a costumed crime-fighter. Reeves' Batman is not a prequel and takes place on a new Earth separate from the DCEU continuity, where Affleck's Batman has waged war on Gotham City's criminals for two decades by the time of Justice League.
Snyder, who returns to the SnyderVerse with his never-before-seen version of Justice League coming to HBO Max, recently expressed support for the Affleck-directed Batman that would have pit the Dark Knight against Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello):
"Look, I would love for Ben to make that Deathstroke movie. That would be amazing," Snyder told John Doe Movie Reviews. "I don't know that he's going to, or that they [studio Warner Bros.] want him to, but I would love for him to do it. That would be so cool. And Joe is amazing."
Affleck envisioned a "really dark" Batman movie inspired by seminal Daredevil comic book storyline "Born Again," according to Manganiello, who reprised his role for additional photography on Zack Snyder's Justice League.
"It was a really dark story in which Deathstroke was like a shark or a horror movie villain that was dismantling Bruce's life from the inside out," Manganiello told Yahoo! Entertainment. "It was this systemic thing: He killed everyone close to Bruce and destroyed his life to try and make him suffer because he felt that Bruce was responsible for something that happened to him."
"It was really cool, really dark, and really hard," Manganiello added. "I was very excited for it."
Explaining his decision to leave The Batman, Affleck previously told IGN he was "never happy enough with it where I thought it was worth going out and making it because I just didn't want to do a version that I wasn't really excited by."
In March, months before Affleck would unexpectedly reprise his role in the Ezra Miller-starring Flash movie also bringing back the Michael Keaton Batman by way of the multiverse, Affleck told GQ he lost enthusiasm for The Batman:0comments
"[Warner Bros.] said, 'Would you want to direct and star in a solo Batman movie?' I found that I had lost my enthusiasm or passion for it. This should really be made by somebody for whom it's their wildest dream come true and, for me, it had become something different and it was clear to me that it was time to move on," Affleck said. "But I do have some really fond memories, particularly of Batman v Superman, and how exciting that was. And how energizing it was and how much fun we had."