It looks like Warner Bros. is embracing DC Comics' approach to the multiverse as a new report confirms that Ben Affleck will reprise his role as Batman for The Flash, joining Michael Keaton as the second actor to return as Bruce Wayne for the upcoming take on the timeline-altering comic event Flashpoint. The news comes ahead of DC Fandome, the Comic-Con replacement event taking place entirely online after mass gatherings were placed on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This will make Affleck the third actor playing the role of Batman in live-action, alongside Keaton and after the debut of Robert Pattinson in The Batman.
The report of Affleck's return was confirmed by Vanity Fair, and it makes for a surprising return for the actor who was last seen in the poorly received Justice League. But he'll return for director Andy Muschietti's first superhero film, as he tackles the big-screen solo debut for the Scarlet Speedster in The Flash.
"His Batman has a dichotomy that is very strong which is his masculinity—because of the way he looks, and the imposing figure that he has, and his jawline —but he's also very vulnerable," said Muschietti said. "He knows how to deliver from the inside out, that vulnerability. He just needs a story that allows him to bring that contrast, that balance."
Muschietti added, "He's a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck's Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven't seen before. It's Barry's movie, it's Barry's story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that's one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That's where the Affleck Batman kicks in."
"I'm glad to be collaborating with someone who has been on both sides of the camera, too," Muschietti said. "He understands."
Affleck's tenure as Batman was marred by various setbacks, especially due to studio interference with director Zack Snyder's work on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. The situation with the latter film is well documented and aggressive fan reaction has resulted in the release of the Snyder Cut of Justice League, coming next year to HBO Max.
New leadership at Warner Media might have lead to Affleck coming around on his decision to step back into the Worlds of DC, where he will play the Caped Crusader alongside Pattinson and Keaton and possibly many other actors. This new approach seems to be embracing all different takes on various DC Comics heroes, understanding that fans will not be confused due to the many different iterations that have been in the spotlight over the last few decades.