IN A NUTSHELL
The Batman project helmed by Ben Affleck would have led the Caped Crusader down an unprecedented path unseen in cinema history. This venture was praised as “spectacularly impressive” and intended to delve into untouched Batman narratives. Sadly, Affleck’s personal circumstances led him to withdraw, but the project continues to be held in high esteem by those who were part of it.
It’s been six years since Ben Affleck relinquished his directorial and acting role in his Batman film. A critical contributor to the DC Extended Universe recently shared some insights into the potential of a “Batfleck” feature film—it appears it would have guided the Dark Knight on an unparalleled journey in cinematic history.
Affleck chose to disengage from the project named The Batman due to personal complications, primarily his ongoing divorce at that time. In a 2020 New York Times interview, Affleck revealed his struggles. “I let someone read The Batman script,” he confessed. “Their response was, ‘The script is impressive. But it seems like you’ll drink yourself into oblivion if you endure the same experiences again.”
Storyboard artist Jay Oliva, who had worked extensively on the DC Extended Universe and directed animated films like The Dark Knight Returns and Flashpoint Paradox, offered some insights to Inverse about the aborted Affleck project, despite not being able to provide specifics.
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures
“I’m not in a position to share much, except to say it was incredibly amazing. It was simply the best. To my knowledge, a few drafts of it existed. When I joined, whether it was the second draft or some other version, it was what Geoff Johns and Ben [Affleck] had shared with me.
“Having worked on several Batman projects, the intriguing part was its ability to connect several untapped Batman narratives. Ben’s story was poised to explore a theme that comics hadn’t delved into yet, but was built upon the Batman lore from the past 80 years with a fresh approach.”
The most celebrated Batman films have usually drawn inspiration from the revered comic book series. But it seems like this film aimed to bring a novel approach to the story, a vision that, sadly, won’t get a chance to materialize.
“It was an ingenious concept, and there were aspects of it that I deeply admired and wished had come to life,” Oliva remarked. “It was a promising project initially. Ben had to withdraw for personal reasons, and I completely empathize. But the period I spent with Ben on this project was delightful. Hopefully, someday I can divulge more, but I’m still not at liberty to discuss it.”
Affleck reprised his role as Bruce Wayne one last time in The Flash in 2023, before being succeeded in Barry Allen (Ezra Miller)’s timeline by George Clooney, another previous Batman. Robert Pattinson assumed the role of Bruce Wayne in a revamped version of The Batman, which was directed by Matt Reeves and gained both critical and commercial success in 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ben Affleck’s Batman Project
What kind of Batman film was Ben Affleck planning to make?
Ben Affleck was planning to direct and star in a Batman film that aimed to explore untapped storylines and take the character in a fresh direction not previously seen on the big screen.
Why did Ben Affleck step away from the Batman project?
Affleck stepped away from the project due to personal issues, including the end of his marriage. He expressed concerns about the impact of the project on his health in a 2020 interview with the New York Times.
What is the general opinion of those involved in the project about the cancelled Batman film?
Despite the project’s cancellation, those involved, including storyboard artist Jay Oliva, regard it highly, describing it as “spectacularly impressive” and regretting that it didn’t come to fruition.
Did Ben Affleck portray Batman again after stepping away from this project?
Yes, Affleck reprised his role as Bruce Wayne one last time in The Flash in 2023.
Who played Batman after Ben Affleck stepped away from the role?
After Affleck, George Clooney played Batman in Barry Allen (Ezra Miller)’s timeline, and Robert Pattinson took on the role of Bruce Wayne in a retooled version of The Batman released in 2022.