It's safe to say Ben Affleck has had a rocky road as Batman, having appeared in 2016's Batman v Superman and 2017's Justice League before stepping away from the role for several years, only to return for the Snyder Cut reshoots in late 2020.
The DCEU's Batman actor has been vocal about the troubles and alcohol abuse he suffered while shooting Justice League under Joss Whedon, seemingly leading him to leave the franchise for good after Snyder's exit.
But this year saw Affleck make his big return to DC for a minor role in The Flash, which even included some of his self-proclaimed "favorite scenes" as Batman.
Ben Affleck's Final Batman Appearance Explained
In July 2022, during the post-production of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, star Jason Momoa revealed he had returned to set to film scenes with the DCEU's Batman actor Ben Affleck.
The news followed reports that Michael Keaton had also filmed scenes as Batman for Aquaman 2 following his return in The Flash. So what exactly is going on, and which of these Bruce Waynes will appear in the Atlantean sequel?
Momoa hyped up Affleck's role in Aquaman 2 by opening up about how much he "[loves] that guy" and how they had "too much fun:"
"I mean, it’s just hugs and kisses, I love that guy. We get along too well, and it’s very good to see him again. Too much fun, it’s too much fun."
The Aquaman actor appeared to confirm his shooting with Keaton too, stating how he "shot with a couple different Batmans," but he seemed to be unsure "what the end product is:"
"I shot with a couple different Batmans, but you just don’t know what’s going on and we’ll see what the end product is."
Why Ben Affleck's Batman Cameo No Longer Makes Sense
Aquaman 2 was poised to mark the third movie in Keaton's Batman comeback after replacing Affleck as the DCEU's Caped Crusader in The Flash and subsequently appearing in Batgirl and Lost Kingdom.
But after the release order shifted to place Aquaman 2 before The Flash, Affleck was brought in to take Keaton's place as the older Batman wouldn't have yet replaced him as expected - something which reportedly confused test audiences.
Of course, most of these circumstances no longer apply, as Aquaman 2 is no longer releasing before The Flash. The latter had its ending changed so Keaton no longer replaced Affleck as Batman; that honor instead went to George Clooney.
Following the events of The Flash, neither Affleck nor Keaton's Bruce Waynes appears to be around anymore. So, unless Aquaman 2 takes place before the Multiversal event, it doesn't make much sense for either to show up.
In fact, as Jason Momoa's Aquaman appeared in The Flash's post-credits scene in the timeline where George Clooney was shown as Bruce Wayne, the Batman & Robin star, in theory, should be the actor for Aquaman 2's Dark Knight cameo.
Is Ben Affleck's Aquaman 2 Cameo Scrapped?
According to insider KC Walsh, Ben Affleck's Batman joining Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom came as a result of Warner Bros. abandoning Michael Keaton's role in the movie as it left audiences confused by how he made his way to the DCEU.
However, Walsh has since revealed neither Keaton nor Affleck's Batman appeared to have made its way into the latest test screenings as Aquaman 2 had "cut a major scene" that made the Dark Knight's role "no longer necessary:"
"Without spoiling anything I’ll just say they cut a major scene and it appears the Bruce Wayne scene is no longer necessary."
The insider explained on Twitter how both Keaton and Affleck had shot the "same scene," but ultimately, the studio ended up just "cutting it altogether."
So although the latest official world states Ben Affleck's Batman will appear in The Flash - while Michael Keaton's role was never directly acknowledged - there is plenty of reason to believe it may have been scrapped.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom hits theaters on December 20.