Batman reveals an upgraded tactical suit for Ben Affleck's Dark Knight. Before Robert Pattinson donned the cape and cowl as a year-two caped crusader in The Batman, Affleck developed a standalone Bat-movie set in the shared DC Extended Universe. The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star was attached to direct the screenplay he had co-written with Geoff Johns — about Batman battling the assassin Deathstroke (Justice League's Joe Manganiello) — but Affleck dropped out of the director's chair in 2017. Warner Bros. brought on Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves, who turned down directing Affleck's script in favor of a rebooted Batman.
Revealing designs for The Batman "before it switched director and star," concept artist Keith Christensen shared a look at Affleck's re-imagined Batsuit on ArtStation. Christensen "wanted to make a suit that felt like real ballistic materials while still maintaining the icon," which you can see below.
Christensen redesigned Affleck's cowl, extending the shorter ears and envisioning a multi-layered helmet with articulation points for easier removal. In Christensen's newly revealed designs from 2017, the Batfleck cowl has "non-Newtonian gel pads sandwiched between kevlar-like layers, covered with a composite shell," with ears that are "sharp and dangerous."
"I read a script that they had that was a totally valid take on the movie. It was very action-driven," Reeves explained to Esquire of Affleck's script for The Batman. "It was very deeply connected to the DCEU, with other major characters from other movies and other comics popping up. I just knew that when I read it this particular script was not the way I'd want to do it."
The Affleck and Johns script was a "totally valid and exciting take," Reeves added, but the "almost James Bond-ian" Batman "wasn't something that I quite related to." In Reeves' noirish and detective-driven version of The Batman, a younger and reclusive Bruce Wayne (Pattinson) investigates a murder mystery involving not-fully-formed interpretations of Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), Penguin (Colin Farrell), and the Riddler (Paul Dano).
"I said look, I think maybe I'm not the person for this," Reeves said of an Affleck-starring Batman movie set in the DCEU. "And I explained to them why I love this character. I told them that there have been so many great movies, but if I were to do this, I'd have to make it personal, so that I understood what I was going to do with it, so that I know where to put the camera, so that I know what to tell the actors, so that I know what the story should be."
Ben Affleck's Batman returns in The Flash, in theaters June 23, 2023. Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell star in The Batman, now playing in movie theaters.