Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film had everything it could ever need back in 2015: a grizzled Batman with a taste for blood, a talented cinematographer, a comics-accurate source, pitch-perfect casting, and an Oscar-winning director in the back and front seats. Affleck was the best of both worlds: he shares Zack Snyder’s penchant for pathos and carnage without going overboard. As a storyteller, he is somber and thoughtful without necessarily being dour and pretentious, and excessively so. With Affleck behind and in front of the camera, Batman’s first solo movie since The Dark Knight Rises had the potential to replicate Marvel’s success without having to copy its formula, or settle for the extremes like Snyder, and yet it suffered a production blow of nearly-mythic proportions. Affleck wasn’t able to assemble a script he could be satisfied with and Warner Bros. feared a repeat of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a superhero team-up that could have surpassed The Avengers but instead frustrated and divided fans, and technically bombed at the box office. Unfortunately, the movie was aborted before a screenplay could be decided on. Affleck was out and Matt Reeves was in, and Warner Bros. cast a new Batman.
But following the unexpected success of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, word goes, Warner Bros. bigwigs are once again broaching the possibility of making a Batman series with Ben Affleck, but this time a beat-em-up in the style of the Arkham games, Geekosity’s Edwin Francisco reports. That’s right. A video game inspired by Rocksteady’s awardwinning action-adventure series may be happening over at AT&T, and it’s Ben Affleck executives are eyeing, not Robert Pattinson. For anyone who isn’t aware, AT&T owns WarnerMedia, the parent company of Warner Bros., the studio tasked with developing the DC Extended Universe. While Warner Bros. Entertainment has made it crystal clear it only no longer wants anything to do with Zack Snyder and the characters he originated, if AT&T calls for Affleck’s return, there’s really no stopping execs from rubber-stamping a new movie or series starring Ben Affleck’s version of the Caped Crusader.
But with the studio’s cinematic DC properties currently in disarray, AT&T is considering an entirely new video game instead. The premise borrows extensively from the last game in Rocksteady’s Arkham franchise, Batman: Arkham Knight, and will retell the story of Batman’s fallen Robin, Jason Todd, from Batfleck’s eyes. The only complication: in the DC Extended Universe, Dick Grayson is the Robin who died, not Jason. Jared Leto’s Joker was implied to have killed him, causing Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne to crack and rapidly spiral out of control. Snyder confirmed this retcon multiple times in interviews. This casts a wholly different light on the game’s suggested plot, since Grayson was beloved by fans from the very beginning while Todd was literally voted to die in a poll that did eventually result in the character getting bludgeoned by the Joker. Grayson also shares Batman’s centered approach to crime; he doesn’t believe in eliminating their enemies and has enough faith in the justice system to keep the Bat family’s rogues gallery constantly locked up. In contrast, Todd is always critical of Batman’s whole mindset on crimefighting and finds his mentor’s “antiquated sense of morality” harmful to Gotham’s well-being. It was this level of resentment that drove Arkham Knight’s Jason Todd to face the Batman in battle. He felt abandoned after Bruce refused to kill the Joker, a sentiment Grayson never shared. How AT&T plans on turning Grayson into a grudge-bearing assassin is anybody’s guess at this point, however, though Titans’s iteration of the character might be a good place to start.
The video game series starring Ben Affleck intends to go in-depth into the method behind Batman’s madness — the way he has succumbed to rage, vengeance, and insanity — a character trait Snyder already teased in Batman v Superman and provided the setup for. In Arkham Knight, the World’s Greatest Detective begins hallucinating the Joker as he tries to cope with losing Jason Todd. Eventually Todd does turn up alive; he is the Arkham Knight, later re-dubbed the Red Hood, a vindictive murder-for-hire trained by Deathstroke to take down Batman. Robert Richardson, the cinematographer Ben Affleck hired to help develop his Batman’s complicated relationship with Dick Grayson’s death, had this to say about the Bruce Wayne he and Affleck were originally trying to conceptualize: “So, I think you would’ve seen something a little darker than what we’ve seen in the past and more into the individual, who was inside Batman — what element may be sane and what element may actually not be sane.”
A live-action movie centered around Dick Grayson’s Nightwing was green-lit some time ago with The Lego Batman Movie’s Chris McKay directing. Joe Keery from Stranger Things was rumored to have been in consideration for the lead role, but that report remains uncorroborated. The project has also been shelved indefinitely; there haven’t been any updates recently. In many ways, a Batman video game starring Ben Affleck is the next best thing. The 48-year-old dramatic actor is scheduled to reprise the role of Bruce Wayne one last time in Andy Muschietti’s The Flash. Affleck will be sharing the Bat spotlight with Tim Burton-era Batman Michael Keaton, in a live-action adaptation of Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert’s Flashpoint also starring Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen. This film will effectively reboot the whole franchise. Regardless of whether it’s Keaton or Robert Pattinson, whoever is going to take Affleck’s place as the DCEU’s Prime Batman has some pretty big combat boots to fill. The Flash comes out on November 4, 2022.