Fan Clip Shows How Ben Affleck Could Be Digitally De-Aged to Play Younger Bruce Wayne in ‘The Batman’

A fan-edited Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice clip shows the potential in digitally de-aging star Ben Affleck to portray a younger Bruce Wayne in The Batman.

College student Landon O’Leary debuted the 46-second clip on Twitter. O’Leary said he used only Final Cut Pro and FaceApp, which offers “neural face transformation filters,” to skim decades off Affleck.

Rumors have persisted the Justice League star, now 45, will be withdrawing from Warner Bros.’ DC Films universe even as War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves readies The Batman, the superhero’s first solo movie since 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Neither Reeves nor Affleck have confirmed the star’s involvement in The Batman: there’s been a constant will-he-or-won’t-he surrounding Affleck, and Reeves stepped around questions about his potential leading man when fielding inquiries about The Batman during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour earlier this week.

Reeves’ appearance came after a mid-June report by The Hollywood Reporter, which claimed the filmmaker submitted the first act of a screenplay centered around a “young caped crusader,” a direction that could preclude Affleck from donning the cape and cowl.

As digital de-aging technology continues to progress, its effects are used more and more in Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters: Ant-Man famously de-aged Michael Douglas during a late ’80s-set scene, a trick employed by recent two other Marvel Studios heavyweights, Captain America: Civil War and Ant-Man and the Wasp, for Tony Stark actor Robert Downey Jr. and Janet van Dyne actress Michelle Pfeiffer.

Other movies — like Terminator Genisys and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — used similar tactics to varying degrees of success to rewind the clock on Arnold Schwarzenegger and freeze Orlando Bloom in time, and filmmaker Martin Scorsese is in the process of de-aging stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino for Netflix’s costly The Irishman. That film’s budget ballooned to the excess of $140 million because of its repeat usage of the de-aging technology.

Reeves recently shot down rumors The Batman was an adaptation of Year One, among the more famous Batman stories that recounts a young Bruce Wayne’s first steps into vigilantism.

The director said his iteration of the character is not an origin tale and is not based on “any particular” comic book, but will instead draw from decades of material to tell a story that is “definitively Batman.” He described his spin on the franchise as a “noir-driven” detective story that is “emotional and yet is really about [Batman] being the world’s greatest detective.”

Affleck said during last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con — ahead of the poorly-received and financially disappointing Justice League — he would “be an ape on the ground for Matt Reeves, never mind being Batman,” referencing Reeves’ pair of Planet of the Apes blockbusters.

Warner Bros. famously encountered a snafu with digitally altering the face of Justice League star Henry Cavill when the studio was forced to apply digital “makeup” to erase Cavill’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout facial hair, which he was prohibited from shaving when he was tapped to return for Justice League reshoots.

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That work was both expensive and time-consuming for Warner Bros. and has since drawn the continued mockery of internet commentators who continue to reference the shoddy digital effects work.

The Batman has yet to mark a release date.