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Batman: 8 Rumored Stars That Would Be Better Than Ben Affleck (And 8 That Would Be Worse)

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Since rumors started in November that Ben Affleck might not continue his role as Batman, everyone began speculating which actor could play the superhero next. It should be clarified that these rumors have not been confirmed by any ironclad source, but it has been mentioned that Affleck’s days as Batman are limited.

The 45-year-old actor played the caped crusader in three movies starting with the polarizing movie Batman vs Superman, the semi sequel to Man of Steel. He then appeared briefly in Suicide Squad before starring in last year’s Justice League. While the DC Cinematic Universe hasn’t received the best of praise by audiences and critics, the general consensus is that Ben Affleck’s weathered version of Batman is pretty awesome. Which raises the question… who could play Batman if Affleck decides he is done saving Gotham?

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The question is impossible to answer since an actor’s performance is only a fraction of what makes or breaks a superhero adaptation. Do they want a younger or older version of Batman? Is the role still based on Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns? Every Batman we’ve seen on the big screen was different from the last.  It would be silly to compare Christian Bale’s Batman to Ben Affleck’s. But regardless of who plays Batman, they should be able to convey fear and mystery. We can’t forget they also need to match Bruce Wayne’s charm and sophistication.

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So the question still plagues fans… who should play Batman next? Here are our favorite 8 actors who can top Affleck’s performance and 8 actors who wouldn’t be a great choice.

16. Idris Elba - Better

There is no doubt that the British actor can bring the intimidation and fearlessness required to play Batman and if people are ready for changes in other classic characters, like James Bond or Doctor Who, surely audiences can apply that to Gotham’s vigilante. Idris Elba has made a name for himself on several occasions. He’s been praised for his performance and American accent in The Wire and went on to serve his own brand of justice as the rough detective John Luther in BBC’s series Luther.

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Why he’d be better:

Ben Affleck was an unexpected choice for Batman, but ended up surprising many. If Warner Bros. wants to continue the storyline of a battered, older Batman, then Idris Elba could be better than Affleck. He’s played a wider range of characters, he looks the part of Bruce Wayne and, honestly, the idea of him in the bat suit kicking butt is too cool to pass up.

15. Ryan Gosling - Worse

When Warner Bros. announced Batman vs Superman the first time, The Hollywood Reporter created a list of A-list actors who could potentially play Batman. Amongst those names was the ever stylish Ryan Gosling, who’s made a name for himself in romantic leads in The Notebook and La La Land. When it comes to playing a womanizing, detached billionaire, surely Gosling can play the part.

Why he’d be worse:

Gosling has a few things going against him. First, much like Gyllenhall, he is younger than Ben Affleck therefore the transition won’t be as seamless. Second, even though Gosling has played dangerous roles in Driver, Gangster Squad and recently in Blade Runner 2049, his brand of edginess in very one-note. It works for silent intimidation, but whomever plays Batman needs to be a more brutal, out of control beast in the night that preys on criminals.

14. Michael Fassbender - Better

If Warner Bros. doesn’t actually have Fassbender’s name on their shortlist to play Batman, they really should. Known for playing a variety of characters, from a stealthy assassin in Assassin’s Creed to a power hungry Magneto in the latest X-Men franchise, the Irish actor could carry on the grittier version of Batman that Affleck has brought to life.

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Why he’d be better:

While he is five years younger than Affleck, Fassbender as the charisma and magnetism to play Bruce Wayne, but has also shown us through various intense roles that he could take on a more violent, and even cruel, version of Batman. Much like with other members on this list, the issue with casting Fassbender would be his contract with Marvel. Would audiences agree with an actor playing a villain in one universe and the hero (at times) in another superhero storyline? It is a big risk to take, that's for sure...

13. Keanu Reeves -  Worse

Look, it’s very hard to say anything bad about Keanu Reeves. He is a lovely human being that we love and we forgive many of his movies because he is Keanu Reeves. There is no doubt he is an awesome action movie actor, as he’s shown in The Matrix trilogy and more recently in the John Wick movies. However, to hear Keanu Reeves and Batman in the same sentence is like hearing: ‘I am the Batman… whoa’.

Why he’d be worse:

While Reeves would have no problem taking on the action part of the role and fans would surely get amazing fighting choreography out of it, it’s his monotone and limited acting skills that would make Bruce Wayne seem one dimensional.

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12. Josh Brolin - Better

 

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Out of all the actors in this list, Josh Brolin might be the one with the longest and most diverse resumé.

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Why he’d be better:

Brolin has played the hero. He’s played the villain, even the villain you love to hate. If you don’t believe it then you haven’t seen Sicario. There is no doubt Brolin has the presence and the build to play a fearsome superhero you don’t want to encounter in a dark alley if you’re a robber. He has also shown a rougher side in his performance in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. The biggest problem with casting Brolin is that he already plays the ultimate villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos. Some actors have played roles in both MCU and DCEU, but no one has played the major villain and protagonist hero in both.

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11. Ashton Kutcher - Worse

No. Just…no. Fans might love him as the gangly less-than-bright Kelso in That ‘70s Show, but it’s very hard to translate his usually goofy persona into a brooding, crime fighting vigilante. It might be very hard for audiences to see Bruce Wayne instead of just Ashton Kutcher underneath the mask.

Why he’d be worse:

Kutcher has played several heartthrob and goofy roles in Just Married, A Lot Like Love and –who can forget?- Dude, where’s My Car?  If you want a silly romantic comedy or just a plain silly guy’s movie, he’s the man for you. However, whenever Kutcher has tried to branch out into more serious movies, the critics are never kind. One of his first attempts, The Butterfly Effect, has been forgotten by many and while he looked the part in Jobs, his acting range just wasn’t enough.

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10. Jeffrey Dean Morgan - Better

Ever since Jeffrey Dean Morgan played Thomas Wayne in Batman vs Superman, he’s teased the idea of playing the role of Batman. When it comes to portraying a character with a no-holds-barred attitude, Dean Morgan has delivered many times with roles like Negan in The Walking Dead or The Comedian in The Watchmen.

Why he’d be better:

Much like Brolin, the 52-year-old actor can play an older version of Batman which is fitting with the current DC Universe timeline. However, ever since Warner Bros. confirmed a Flash movie focusing on comic book story arc in Flashpoint, there’s been interest in Dean Morgan playing once again Thomas Wayne who, in this alternate universe, becomes Batman when the robber kills Bruce instead of him and Martha. This would be a great and different way to maintain continuity in the DC Universe and Jeffrey Dean Morgan can come back and become a unique version of Batman.

9. Jason Clarke - Worse

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Jason Clarke is an incredible actor. Even with supporting roles in Zero Dark Thirty and Lawless, the Australian actor has a presence that commands the audience’s attention. He’s now moved into starring roles in movies like Everest, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and recently Winchester, where he plays Dr. Eric Price who comes to assess an heiress who is certain she is being haunted by evil spirits.

Why he’d be worse:

On paper Clarke has everything needed to play Batman/Bruce Wayne. He’s done action roles, dramatic roles and has already worked with Matt Reeves in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. However, there is just something about his look that doesn’t immediately scream Bruce Wayne. Then again, that is what many said about Ben Affleck playing Batman. Maybe Clarke will surprise us if he does land the role.

8. Jon Hamm - Better

Ever since Warner Bros. announced Matt Reeves would be directing the new Batman movie, rumors surfaced with the idea that Reeves was favoring the Mad Men star for the lead role. Other sources presented that Jon Hamm was eager to play the role and it could be a seamless transition, since Hamm is closer to Ben Affleck’s age than other actors gunning for the role.

Why he’d be better

When it comes to playing a charming womanizer in a suit, Hamm has this one in the bag. Since he is mostly known for playing Don Draper in Mad Men, Hamm should have no issue playing Bruce Wayne. As for the action part, he’s proved recently with his role in Baby Driver that he’s got what it takes to kick butt on screen. He’s also worked with Gal Gadot before in Keeping up with the Joneses, so audiences already know there is chemistry between the two actors.

7. Colin Farrell -  Worse

Colin Farrell has stepped in and out of the limelight over the past ten years. After becoming an immediate sensation during the early 2000s in movies like SWAT and Minority Report, the Irish actor gravitated to more independent parts. Every now and then, he’d show up in a major commercial film like Horrible Bosses or Oscar nominated films like Saving Mr. Banks.

Why he’d be worse:

Colin Farrell has done it all. He’s been the villain. He’s played comedy surprisingly well and he’s also been the flawed hero. However, it seems Farrell does much better in indie parts than he does in big Hollywood productions, which is not necessarily his fault. Heck, if Ben Affleck could have a second chance after Daredevil, surely Farrell deserves the same, but maybe not here.

6. Karl Urban - Better

Easily one of this generation’s most versatile actors, Karl Urban’s name is still not one you quickly recognize in the credits. He is best known for his role as Lenard ‘’Bones’’ McCoy in the latest Star Trek trilogy but he’s been in plenty more movies that people forget about. He played Eomer in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Vaako in the Riddick trilogy and Judge Dredd in the latest adaptation Dredd.

Why he’d be better:

His performance as Dredd might be seen as an audition to play the type of Batman that doesn’t hold back on his attacks or judgment, something many fans love. The question is where can Urban play Bruce Wayne, though. While there isn’t much on his resume that indicates he can play a millionaire womanizer type, surely Urban has the chops to play this dual role and even surpass Affleck.

5. Kyle Chandler -  Worse

Kyle Chandler is an actor who’s been in many TV Shows and movies people have seen, but have not necessarily taken notice of him. He’s played supporting characters in Argo, The Spectacular Now and Peter Jackson’s King Kong. His most well known protagonist role is in Netflix’s original series Bloodline, as a detective in Islamorada who discovers his family’s dark secrets when his brother, the black sheep of the family, returns home.

Why he’d be worse:

While Chandler has been working consistently for years, his starring roles are few and far in between. Maybe he hasn’t gotten the break he deserves, but his resumé doesn’t indicate he is memorable enough to play such a high-profile superhero role. Even though he has played other authoritative roles in Zero Dark Thirty and The Wolf of Wall Street, he has yet been able to steal the show.

4. Luke Evans - Better

Whoever is cast as Batman should have the looks, the build and the presence to be intimidating yet charming. The Dracula Untold actor has proven he can do it all. With his recent rise to fame in Disney’s live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast and the thriller Girl on a Train, Evans shows yet again he can be charismatic when needed but also brooding and volatile.

Why he’d be better:

If Ben Affleck were to throw in the cape, Luke Evans would be a great choice as the Caped Crusader and aristocrat womanizer. He’d easily peel off all the layers of Batman’s anger, solitude and his need to protect all the voiceless victims of Gotham. Not to mention he’d have no problem settling into an action packed role as he’s done in movies like The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.

3. Eric Bana - Worse

Eric Bana has already delved into the superhero world and didn’t come out unscathed. Ang Lee’s 2003 film Hulk did not receive critical praise and Bana’s interpretation of Bruce Banner was not the saving grace of the film. Regardless of Hulk, the Australian actor has shown he’s got the acting chops for both action and dramatic roles. One of his most memorable roles was as a Mossad agent in Steven’s Spielberg Munich. Set in the ‘70s, Bana plays a trained killer in charge of hunting down the people responsible for the attack on the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Why he’d be worse:

Bana has the looks, but he’s done very little in the past few years that makes him stand out from a list of other potential actors. Since playing the romantic lead in The Time Traveler’s Wife in 2009, his starring roles have dwindled.

2. Jake Gyllenhaal - Better

When it comes to rumors of who will play Batman next, Jake Gyllenhaal always shows up at the top of the list. With incredible performances in Prisoners, Nocturnal Animals and Nightcrawler, and undeniable star power, Gyllenhaal just might be the perfect pick for Gotham’s caped crusader.

Why he’d be better:

The 38-year-old actor has consistently transformed himself for the roles he’s undertaken. He’s been able to tap into an unhinged dark side for roles like Det. Loki in Prisoners and even more so as Louis Bloom in Nightcrawler, a quality that will serve him well if he plays the world’s Greatest Detective. He’s also shown his physicality in movies like Southpaw and End of Watch, which gives audience the security that Gyllenhaal can take on the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne and do it justice.

1. Josh Hartnett - Worse

Christopher Nolan considered Josh Hartnett for the role of Batman back in 2004, but the actor rejected the part and he’s regretted it ever since. In an interview, Hartnett confessed turning down the role has haunted him ever since. He rose to fame as Hollywood’s new heartthrob in movies like Pearl Harbor and 40 Days and 40 Nights, but his fame exponentially diminished after his last big film Black Dhalia.

Why he’d be worse:

Hartnett has lost a lot of his star power throughout the years. He’s jumpstarted his career in the past couple of years by playing the American werewolf in the supernatural thriller series Penny Dreadful. Apart from playing Ethan Chandler, a suave nonchalant man struggling with a tortured past, Hartnett doesn’t have much else in his resumé that shows he has the acting skills to take on the part of the Dark Knight.

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Who do you want to see replace Affleck in the future? Let us know in the comments!

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