EXCLUSIVE: WB Has Soured On Affleck, And Is THE BATMAN Part of The Shared Universe?

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It’s really rather incredible that we’re still asking questions about The Batman. The development of this film could be a movie all on its own (Quick! Someone get Jon Schnepp on the line for another “What Happened?” documentary!). I’m working on a comprehensive report, complete with insider intel, that will be available later this week. It’ll detail the game of Bat & Mouse we’ve all unwittingly been playing with Ben Affleck, Warner Bros., and now Matt Reeves, for the last three years. For now, though, let’s address the latest rumor going around.

The latest hot rumor about The Batman actually comes courtesy of my good friends over at Batman-on-Film. I’ve got a great relationship with Bill “Jett” Ramey, and I think the world of BOF. So when I read the report, I didn’t know what to think. As I wrote about two months ago, I was told- in no uncertain terms- that The Batman was going to be a part of the shared DC Universe, and not some sort of disconnected off-shoot like that Joker movie Todd Phillips is developing.

I trust Bill, and his reports on Justice League echoed my own– and we were both ultimately vindicated after months of mudslinging from fans when everyone saw we were right about the extensive overhaul of the film. So I know he gets his hands on reliable intel. And yet, since even he was careful to label it a rumor and not an outright scoop, I thought I’d better do some digging myself. I reached out to someone I trust over at Warner Bros., and here’s what they had to say:

“None of these Batman rumors are true. Reeves Batman is DC films.”

Wow. Short and sweet. I dig it.

But I pressed a bit further, to make sure we were on the same page. I asked, specifically, if this meant The Batman was part of the same continuity as the rest of the already-established shared universe.

“Batman is DC proper. Reeves’ Batman is connected. Just its own story.”

And there it is. That highlighted part at the end. I think that’s where the confusion lies. Because this isn’t the first time a rumor like this has sprung up. Last year, Reeves was quoted as saying, “When they approached me what they said was, ‘Look it’s a stand alone, this isn’t part of the Extended Universe.” He would then later clarify things in a series of tweets:

In many ways, it comes down to this distinction where The Batman will technically be part of the shared universe, yet the story will be so self-contained that it won’t even matter if it is or not. Reeves is approaching the story in such a way that Batman is the total focus. What’ll tie it to the DCU are the actors. Regardless of whether or not Affleck stays (more on that in a moment), the fact that Bruce Wayne/Batman will have an Alfred played by Jeremy Irons and a Commissioner Gordon played by J.K. Simmons. Those actors will likely be the only solid connection Reeves allows The Batman to have to the DCU.

The director’s insistence on making Batman the sole focus is why even people behind-the-scenes are confused about the film’s continuity. They hear it’s “its own story” and they think it must be an offshoot. An understandable mix-up.

In reality, it all falls in line with what Geoff Johns and Diane Nelson told Vulture a few months back- about how they were going to loosen the connections between their DC films. They pointed to Wonder Woman as an example of how things are going to be, moving forward. That film, aside from a few nods to what came before it (Batman v Superman) and where things were heading (Justice League) was really a standalone story about Diana.

On the connections moving forward:

“They’re are in the same box. There just won’t be many winks. Not in Aquaman for sure. Or Batman.”

As for the latest in the Will They?/Won’t They? romance between Ben Affleck and Warner Bros., as it pertains to his future as Batman, here’s what I’ve got for you.

It’s been an enormous tug-of-war between both parties (Affleck and The Studio) since 2016. More often than not, the studio has pulled out all of the stops to try and convince him to stick around. Yet there have also been times when he’s been tempted to stick around and finish his contractual obligations while they’d be happy to see him take a hike.

I’m told that now, as of this writing, the studio is officially over Affleck.

I was asking my source for any updates regarding what I wrote a couple of months back- namely “Is Gyllenhaal officially our next Batman yet?

“Gyllenhaal is probably Batman. Affleck is not out of it yet. That’s the thing, he still has a contract. But the studio is sour on him. If Ben rolls, Jake is in. Kind of a weird web. These guys both know they control each other’s destiny.”

Gee, that sounds like a wonderful work environment, doesn’t it? You get the sense that if we ever see Affleck in the cowl again, it’ll be strictly to satisfy that contract- and explicitly to give Affleck’s tenure some sort of closure. That makes it way more likely it’ll happen either in Suicide Squad 2 (directed, coincidentally, by his The Accountant collaborator, Gavin O’Connor) or in Flashpoint (if that even proceeds in its current form), and not in The Batman.

Regardless, we’re inching towards the moment when Affleck officially vacates the batcave and Jeremy Irons pulls out a chair for the next Bruce Wayne.


About Post Author

Mario-Francisco Robles

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Superman-On-Film. Can be found on Twitter as @iDJWeddings.
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40 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: WB Has Soured On Affleck, And Is THE BATMAN Part of The Shared Universe?

    1. It’s safe to say you’ll be getting some Nightwing news soon 🙂

      But no, I wouldn’t expect to see him in The Batman. Reeves is very serious about keeping this film very insular.

      1. Hey, nice website and I wish you the best of luck with it’s launch going into 2018!
        Got the single most important question which I believe its TRUE answer could shed enormous light into the whole situation and perhaps predict a whole different outcome! That I’d obviously love for you to answer, or even better, go back to your source and press for them to answer!
        WHY isn’t Affleck out (of Reeves’ trilogy plans) YET?
        What’s taking him SO LONG? What are THE REASONS?
        I can only speculate… But, perhaps, among them being is that he WAITS for Reeves to finish his outline so he can judge the merits of the material before deciding whether to be part of it? Unlike how in the past he jumped on board for BvS after Zack Snyder only pitched to him the general character and story directions?
        So if he were to love the material, he would jump onboard and star in the film, but if not, then walk away, right? This is perhaps the most logical (and important) explanation as to why Affleck isn’t out of the picture (no pun intended), yet…
        Another reason that comes to mind is that the terms that WB is imposing for him to star in Reeves’ film are what’s prohibiting him? For example, that they (Reeves included) demand that if he jumps onboard for the first one, then he’ll HAVE TO star in the next two without questions asked? Plus starring in a couple more JL sequels and also having his presence felt in the batfamily projects?
        But really, the “WHY” of it all is perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of it all that we are not even considering! Would love to hear your thoughts on it. Even better if that question’s answer were to be next update on the whole Batman situation!

      2. I’ll try to address that in my full-fledged Batman Report later this week, chronicling the full game of Bat & Mouse we’ve unwittingly been a part of since 2014.

      3. what about tim drake.jason todd or even introducing damian wayne. we already had solo batman adventures with the nolan movies.its time to expand imo.

      4. For now, I think their focus is on rehabilitating Batman after his last three appearances weren’t received that well. I think Nightwing will be as far as they explore the Bat Family for now.

  1. ““They’re are in the same box. There just won’t be many winks. Not in Aquaman for sure. Or Batman.””
    So no Legion of Doom set-up anymore?

    Are they still planning on doing Harley Quinn related movies like SS, GCS etc, or Batiglr/Birds of Prey type films in the future, if Reeve’s Batman is going to be standalone? Though it does make it easier for Jake to cameo in the other films if they’re still in the same box, I just wonder who has control over casting and characterization if another director want to use say Catwoman, or Batgirl in their BCU movies.

    1. They’re referring to the movie itself not having any winks. The after-credit LOD scene is still in the works.

  2. […] Also of note is that, according to Variety, they initially offered the Flashpoint directing job to Ben Affleck, who passed on it. Makes you wonder if they were trying to sweeten the pot to allow him to use the film as his long-rumored exit from the DC Universe. Alas, he didn’t take the job which still leaves the question: Just how will he handle his exit? […]

  3. Interesting. A lot of dancing around Affleck’s contract and whether he wants to continue with finding him a graceful exit.

    Suicide Squad 2 could be interesting, especially if they decide on a story more like Assault on Arkham (which was great) where there’s a but more Batman. Still not around all the time, but more prominent and he hovers over the entire story. I like that plot and retooling it to fit a film while providing some twists and turns would be interesting. Could be a nice last hurrah for Batfleck since it appears he is not set on leaving the role before the contract is fulfilled.

  4. […] In fact, they barely respond to rumors at all. Even when they’re deafening rumors, from reliable sources. Even when they’re the hottest trends online. An official statement about how much of Justice League was directed by Whedon? Nope. A statement on the rumored Zack Snyder Cut of the film? Nope. A statement about any of the supposed four movies featuring Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn? Nope. Or how about a clear statement about Ben Affleck’s future with the DCU? Nope! […]

  5. Why Jake Gyllenhaal? Nothing against him, but for god’s sake, when are they ever going to cast someone who actually fits the character? Gyllenhaal is frankly a weird-looking guy. He’d make a great Riddler, but Batman?

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