The future of the DCEU is currently unclear, but the upcoming DC FanDome should change that. The virtual convention will provide fans a slew of incredible reveals and surprises about the future of the franchise. In addition, the idea of the multiverse has been the major point of discussion among DC fans, and it is expected that all will be revealed during the event.
2022's The Flash will play a major role in terms of mapping out the next wave of DCEU properties because of its time-travel and multiverse element. The Ezra Miller-led project is heavily rumored to feature Michael Keaton's Batman from Tim Burton's Batman films from the 90s.
Keaton's involvement led to the confusion of many fans since it doesn't answer the in-universe question of how Ben Affleck's Batman will be written out entirely. Surprisingly, a new report may have shed some light on Affleck's future in the DCEU.
In a report, Vanity Fair has learned that Ben Affleck will return as Bruce Wayne in Ezra Miller's The Flash. The outlet spoke to The Flash director Andy Muschietti about the recent development.
Muschietti pointed out that Affleck's Batman has a "dichotomy that is very strong but he's also very vulnerable" while citing that the character is a "very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie:"
“His Batman has a dichotomy that is very strong which is his masculinity—because of the way he looks, and the imposing figure that he has, and his jawline —but he’s also very vulnerable. He knows how to deliver from the inside out, that vulnerability. He just needs a story that allows him to bring that contrast, that balance. He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before.
Muschietti also shared interesting tidbits about the dynamic between Bruce and Barry, revealing that the "characters are more related than we think:"
"It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in.”
Muschietti also acknowledged Affleck's experience behind the camera:
“I’m glad to be collaborating with someone who has been on both sides of the camera, too. He understands.”
Barbara Muschietti, sister of Andy Muschietti and producer on The Flash movie, also addressed Affleck's involvement in the film. She commented on Affleck's departure from the role after Justice League and stated that Affleck's role in The Flash is a "pivotal" yet "fun" part:
“There have been some all sorts of stories and things he said himself about having a very hard time playing Batman, and it had been difficult for him. I think it was more about a difficult time in his life. When we approached him, he’s now in a very different time in his life. He was very open to it, which was a bit of a surprise to us. It was a question mark... We are all human and go through great times in our lives and terrible times in our lives. Right now he’s in a place where he can actually enjoy being Batman... It's a pivotal role, but at the same time it’s a fun part.”
In a separate report, Deadline pointed out that Affleck's role is only a cameo. Not only that, Affleck reportedly received the script of the movie last week and agreed to board the project.
WHAT THIS MEANS
It seems that the days of Ben Affleck as Batman are far from over. Last year, the internet-stopping reveal of Affleck departing the role of the Caped Crusader sent shock waves around the entertainment industry. The actor's departure led to a massive shift in terms of mapping out the already-confirmed The Batman film while also sending a domino effect that steered the direction of the DCEU's future. And now, the actor's return to don the cape and cowl should give his Batman a proper exit while also pleasing fans in the process.
The dynamic between The Flash and Batman during the original Flashpoint storyline is an emotional one. Muschietti's comments about the significance of Affleck's inclusion to the silver screen adaption of Flashpoint should indicate that a similar bond will be portrayed. In a certain standpoint, having a possible scene where Miller's Flash and Affleck's Batman share their past trauma about losing their parents would call for a touching moment between powerful heroes.
It remains to be seen if The Flash will be the last hurrah of Affleck's Batman in the DCEU. If anything, the reveal of Affleck agreeing to be on board after reading the film's script says a lot about the captivating storyline of the film.
Aside from reprising his role in The Flash, Affleck will also return next year in Zack Snyder's Justice League, and it is expected that his role as Batman will be fleshed out even more. Whether if this is the final ride or not, it is only fitting that a storyline like Flashpoint serves as the proper send-off for the character. However, with the multiverse in play in the near future, it goes without saying that the possibilities are endless for the character moving forward.