Warner Bros. announced today that they have cast Ben Affleck to play The Dark Knight, opposite Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel in their Batman vs. Superman film slated to hit theaters in 2015.
There have been several casting rumors about who would take over the reigns of Bruce Wayne, now that Christian Bale has hung up his cowl. WB/DC said they were looking for an “older” Batman. Names like Dredd‘s Karl Urban, or Oldboy‘s Josh Brolin were thrown out; there was even a (wildly inaccurate) rumor that Bale had been offered upwards of $50 million to return to the role. Well, Affleck, 41, certainly fits the bill and his casting puts all those rumors to bed.
This isn’t Affleck’s first foray into the superhero realm; he, of course, donned the red leather suit of Daredevil in Mark Steven Johnson’s unpopular 2003 film and portrayed George Reeves (television’s first Superman) in the underrated 2006 film Hollywoodland. You may not know, however, Affleck was also in the running to direct the first Man of Steel film. Affleck reportedly turned down the chance to direct that film; whatever his apprehension was, it apparently does not extend to the front of the camera.
The billion dollar question is: Will Affleck make a good Batman? Ten years ago? I would have said absolutely not; he wasn’t ready to take on a character like Batman/Bruce Wayne back in the “Bennifer” days. Since then, we were lucky to have had someone who was perfect for Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, Christian Bale. Affleck’s career renaissance in recent years, with great films like The Town and Argo, has taken him from tabloid fodder to Academy Award winner, and I personally can’t wait to see his take on the iconic caped crusader, especially since we know the film–currently titled Batman vs. Superman and hopefully to be titled Man of Steel 2: World’s Finest (or some variation thereon) in the future–will be at least partly influenced by Frank Miller’s popular 1986 comic book miniseries The Dark Knight Returns.
To date, Man of Steel has made over $650 million at the worldwide box office, and that’s even without having been released in Japan, yet. Once the film hits the Japanese box office, Man of Steel could surpass the $700 million mark. The sequel will hit theaters on July 17, 2015; Snyder returns to direct, with Amy Adams, Diane Lane, and Laurence Fishburne returning as co-stars with Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck.