The DCEU has been struggling to find its footing for a long time, with bumps in the road leaving key players like Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman out of the picture since 2017's Justice League.
One of the two made their return last year as Cavill's Man of Steel popped up in Black Adam while the other will be returning this summer in The Flash. But Affleck won't be the only Batman in the film, as Michael Keaton is set to reprise his 1989 role.
This is expected to mark Affleck's final DC appearance now that his already-filmed cameo in December's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has reportedly been cut and the Dark Knight is expected to be recast for James Gunn's DCU reboot.
Ben Affleck’s Batman Return To Be Brief
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the DCEU's Batman actor, Ben Affleck, touched on how his superhero adventures became "repetitive... and less interesting" for him before addressing his upcoming role in The Flash.
To the disappointment of many, Affleck noted that while he believes he "nailed" his Batman role in the speedster epic and that his part in the movie only amounts to "five minutes." This likely doesn't serve as an exact indication of the actor's screentime in The Flash, but more generally points to a smaller role:
"The 'Justice League' experience, the fact that those stories became somewhat repetitive to me and less interesting. Yeah, I did finally figure out how to play that character [Batman], and I nailed it in 'The Flash.' For the five minutes I’m there, it’s really great."
Affleck added that much of figuring out how to play a character is "just tone" before sharing his fondness for his time in the DC universe, specifically in his debut under director Zack Snyder:
"A lot of it’s just tone. You’ve got to figure out, what’s your version of the person? Who is the guy that fits what you can do? I tried to fit myself into a Batman. And by the way, I like a lot of the stuff we did, especially the first one ['Batman v Superman']."
Affleck's Batman featured in two separate scenes of The Flash trailer, the first of which comes with a daytime action sequence involving a Batcycle chase.
The second sees him as Bruce Wayne in an alleyway at night with Ezra Miller's Barry Allen as he warns him of the potential dangers of time travel.
The news that Affleck will only have a minor role in The Flash has come as a great disappointment to many across social media. Reacting to the news @ChrisTough7 appeared shocked at the actor's "short" screentime:
"5 minutes? That's short!"
@Olexio1 will seemingly "not be watching" The Flash after hearing Affleck will have little more than an extended cameo:
"Only 5 minutes out of 160 minutes?
Yeah We will not be watching this movie."
@BenPatterson180 was expecting "more" time with the DCEU star on his return:
"5 MINUTES? I thought it would be more ffs"
@SonL629 expressed disappointment that fans "won't see [Michael] Keaton and Affleck interacting:"
"Damn so does that mean that we wont see Keaton and Affleck interacting? Man that sucks"
@Snyder_Cut_240 called the short screentime "a waste" of the actor and character:
"Ben Affleck confirms to be in 'The Flash' for a five minute cameo. What a waste."
@DJWasteland questioned whether Affleck was telling fans not to "waste [their] money" seeing the movie:
"Yep it's almost like he's telling us don't waste your money I'm only in it for 5 minutes."
@NandanMano decided they are "going to skip that one" after hearing the news:
"Yeah, now I'm definitely going to skip that one."
"God I cant wait for this hunk of garbage to flop"
How Ben Affleck's Batman Fits Into The Flash
Ben Affleck's Batman only having an extended cameo in The Flash shouldn't come as a huge surprise as the actor reportedly wrapped his time with the DC flick after just one week of filming in September 2021. Nonetheless, this will come as a disappointment to many as the movie will likely mark the final appearance of Affleck's Dark Knight after his Aquaman 2 cameo was seemingly cut.
With Affleck's Bruce Wayne advising Barry Allen against messing with the timeline in the trailer, his scenes will probably come early in the film before all the Multiverse and time travel shenanigans kick off as the speedster completely ignores the words of wisdom from his Justice League colleague.
Once that does all kick into gear, Allen will seemingly continue the rest of the film in a totally different universe in which he teams up with Michael Keaton's Batman, who unlike Affleck is expected to be a main character and co-lead.
There's no telling how things will ultimately play out from there, but when all is said and done, The Flash is expected to "reset" the DC universe and kickstart James Gunn's new DCU where Affleck will no longer be Batman as a new actor takes his place in the years to come with Brave and the Bold.
There were rumors at one point that Affleck would appear in a scene at the end of the blockbuster to set up his return in a Crisis on Infinite Earths movie, despite being "very much done" with the DCEU after The Flash. Although that was the endgame plan from the old regime prior to Gunn's takeover so has likely been cut.
Between one action setpiece and a wholesome talk with Barry Allen, it makes sense that Affleck's Batman would only be around for a few minutes during The Flash's short time in the current universe. Hopefully, that time will offer a satisfying conclusion for the DCEU's Dark Knight before he is swiftly recast.
The Flash hits theaters on June 16.