A Younger Batman Doesn't Have To Mean The End Of Ben Affleck

Matt Reeves has reportedly turned in the first part of a new script for The Batman, one featuring a younger version of the Caped Crusader, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's time to recast Ben Affleck as Batman just yet. Rumors of Affleck staying or going have been swirling for months now, but just because a younger version of Batman joins the universe doesn't mean his days are numbered.

When director Zack Snyder first cast Ben Affleck for the role of the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he was picturing a very different version of Batman. Snyder's Batman was a vigilante who'd been battling against Gotham's darkness for decades and had paid a terrible price for his war on crime. He'd lost hope, abandoned principle, and become far more violent than the traditional interpretation, and it took Superman's sacrifice to inspire him to become a hero once again. It was an atypical take on Batman, but it gave Warner Bros. the opportunity to assume years of backstory for the Caped Crusader, giving him an established rogues' gallery and weaving characters like Harley Quinn, Joker, and Deadshot into Suicide Squad with little difficulty.

Related: Is Matt Reeves' Batman Really Rebooting Batfleck?

The latest reports suggest Matt Reeves, writer and director of The Batman, is taking a very different approach. He's believed to have just turned in a script, one focused on a younger version of Batman. If this is accurate, then it implies Ben Affleck won't be starring in the film after all. But it doesn't mean Affleck is leaving the DCEU.

The Batman Could Be A Prequel

If Matt Reeves's script does indeed call for a younger Batman, this is more likely to be a prequel film. Any other approach - simply rebooting the character in a younger form - would clash with the narrative of the DCEU to date. It would also sacrifice the relationships that were core in Justice League, such as Batman's father-figure role with Flash.

Thus, if the film is indeed part of the DCEU, it's most likely set in the past and delves into the Dark Knight's DCEU backstory. There's precedent for this approach; Wonder Woman was set during the First World War, and Wonder Woman 2 is based in the '80s. Both explore the history of Diana, and presumably will ultimately explain how she became the hero we first encountered on the big screen in Batman V Superman. In just the same way, Matt Reeves's film could reveal how Bruce Wayne began his journey as Batman. Sequels could explore just how the legend of the Batman became so prominent in Gotham, how he encountered important members of his rogues' gallery, and how he gained - and lost - Robins

While knowing the ultimate outcome of this version of the character could be a bit constraining for Reeves, the references to Batman's past in the DCEU so far have been vague enough to leave the writer/director a lot of room to put his own spin on events. In fact, so long as Reeves doesn't kill off Batman, Alfred, or Comissioner Gordon, he can basically do whatever he wants up until the events of the Kryptonian invasion

Not only would this give Reeves freedom to tell basically any Batman story he wants, but could also add more backstory to Affleck's version of the character, showing fans some of the events that occurred on his journey to the world-weary fallen Batman introduced by Zack Snyder.

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Key Release Dates
  • Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
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