Ben Affleck refuted any notion of him being involved with James Gunn's DCU and said he would not direct anything for the cinematic universe.
DC Studios co-CEOs Gunn and Peter Safran announced their plans for the future of DC, Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters, at the end of January. While plenty of projects were announced like Superman: Legacy and The Brave and the Bold, few writers or directors were attached to any of the upcoming movies.
The film that is being teased to reset the DCEU is director Andy Muschietti's The Flash. After chaos unleashes once Barry Allen tries to change the past, he receives help from several Batmen.
Michael Keaton is back after 31 years, donning the cape and cowl along with Ben Affleck's iteration of the character. Affleck made his premiere as Bruce Wayne in 2016's Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice, but his DC future is in question after the Summer 2023 blockbuster.
Ben Affleck Won't Direct in DC's GunnVerse
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, actor and director Ben Affleck said he was oule "absolutely not" direct something for James Gunn's DC:
"I would not direct something for the [James] Gunn DC. Absolutely not. I have nothing against James Gunn. Nice guy, sure he’s going to do a great job. I just wouldn’t want to go in and direct in the way they’re doing that. I’m not interested in that."
This conflicts with previous statements from Gunn when he tweeted that he "met with Ben [yesterday] precisely because he wants to direct & we want him to direct; we just have to find the right project."
Gunn mentioned Affleck again in the aforementioned official announcement of DC Studios' plans. Gunn, at the time, confirmed that neither The Batman actor Robert Pattinson nor Ben Affleck would be in The Brave and The Bold but said the latter "has been a part of our team:"
"We’re working with Ben Affleck, who has been a part of our team trying to bring things together and he really wants to direct one of our projects. We’re excited for him to do that."
Could Ben Affleck Direct an Elseworlds Story?
Based on Ben Affleck's comments, it seems clear that he has no intention of directing within an interconnected cinematic universe. James Gunn has gone as far as to say that Chapter 1 of the new DCU is "a lot more planned out than Marvel" was during Phase 1.
From a fan's perspective, that should be exciting, especially considering the universe-building woes DC has faced since 2013. But as a creator (writer, director, etc.), it may be hard to sign up for something that comes with a lot of restrictions.
However, Gunn and Peter Safran introduced the idea of Elseworlds stories being a part of DC going forward. More specifically, projects like The Batman - Part II and Joker 2: Folie à Deux will both be labeled as Elseworlds.
Affleck specifically said he's not interested in "[directing] in the way they’re doing that." More Elseworlds stories could present in a different way and give Affleck the creative freedom he wants to direct a DC project.
Ben Affleck returns as Batman in The Flash, which speeds into theaters on June 16.