The Batman is in theaters now, and fans are eating up this Matt Reeves-directed vision of Gotham. DC's latest has been breaking records in its run so far at the box office, with many showing their love for the film's stellar cast led by Robert Pattinson. However, this was not always going to be what the new version of Batman looked like. Because Reeves and Pattinson were on board, Ben Affleck was set to direct and star in his own Dark Knight epic.
Affleck - known for his directing work in Argo and The Town - was originally set to helm this take on a solo caped crusader story. The project was announced back in 2016 with the title The Batman and was originally set to debut sometime in 2018.
However, in January 2017 Affleck announced he would be departing The Batman, and from there, Matt Reeves was brought in to pick up the pieces. It is unknown as to how much of Ben Affleck's work made it into the final version of The Batman, or if any of it did, for that matter.
But now, pieces from art from the first version of the film have made their way out into the public eye.
Ben Affleck's The Batman
After having spent time working on Ben Affleck's version of The Batman, concept artist Keith Christensen revealed what early concepts for Affleck's caped crusader in the film would have looked like.
The concept sketches included full looks at what this take on Affleck's hero would have looked like. This work was all done before Affleck departed the film; Matt Reeves was ultimately brought in to take over the project in the aftermath.
This version of the iconic hero would have mostly done away with the heavily armored look seen in Batman v Superman and Justice League, offering up a much more streamlined design that was more akin to that of The Dark Knight trilogy.
This is not to say the costume was going to be made up of one piece of spandex (à la Batman from 1989). Instead, it was made up of smaller tactical pieces that all fit together to form one complete suit.
The aesthetic was similar to that of Matt Reeves' The Batman; however, it does not feel quite as pieced together or practical as what was seen in the final cut of the film.
Just for comparison, Pattinson's version of the hero sported less tailor-made pieces to the suit, with visible pads and such showing that this is a younger/less experienced take on the character.
A Different Kind of Batman
For many fans, the Ben Affleck solo Batman movie is the DCEU breakthrough that never was. After the actor's work directing beloved films like The Town, it felt like a perfect fit for him to take on Gotham City both as the Bat and the main man behind the camera.
However, that is not what the world got. And despite the idea of a Ben Affleck-directed version of The Batman sounding rather enticing, Matt Reeves seemed to do a pretty bang-up job telling a fantastic story surrounding the Dark Knight.
Getting a first real good look at what this original version of The Batman is quite the revelation for fans. For a hero who many complained was too bulky in his time on screen, Ben Affleck's costume in this film was going to be a change of pace.
The suit is way slimmer and does not feature the bulk that the Bat armor did in Dawn of Justice or the traditional suit in Justice League. Even the hero in these drawings himself feels less burly than how he appeared in other DCEU films.
And there are certain pieces of this look that eventually (intentional or not) made their way into the final cut of The Batman. This can be seen most prominently in the cowl and the utility belt. This utility belt feels like the character could actually use the gadgets on it, whereas the belt in other DCEU Batman suits felt like it was just for show.
And looking at the cowl, one can see the plating on the sides with screws in it. While no screws appear on Pattinson's cowl, they do very much invoke the overall aesthetic of the suit fans ultimately got.
While Affleck's future as the DCEU's Batman is still uncertain, Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson's take on the character can be seen in theaters worldwide now.