(UPDATED 7/22 with Affleck’s Comic Con appearance)
As the months have passed, it seems like Ben Affleck has been establishing distance from himself and his projects. First, he elected not to direct the eventual solo Batman film, as many expected him to do. Soon after, the script he had written was replaced with a new one so that the movie could pursue a different direction. Then, he recently decided to leave the Netflix project, Triple Frontier. Now Affleck may also choose not to reprise his role as Batman altogether.
While Toby Emmerich has espoused positive views of Affleck’s Batman, saying that they “want to keep him in the cowl as long as [they] can,” it may not be feasible. Despite this, sources behind the scenes acknowledge that Affleck may be done with the franchise. This means that his returns may be limited to what has been shot: the upcoming Justice League film. On the other hand, he may return to the screen as Bruce Wayne again, but he will most likely not be up for completing an entire trinity of Batman films, a concept which has been floating around in the company. In other words, his time as Batman most likely is ending sooner rather than later.
While he may be missed as a DC hero, it sounds like the actor is taking steps to prioritize his own health and his relationships with loved ones. In a statement concerning Affleck’s departure from Triple Frontier, it was explained that his exit occurred so that he might be better able focus on “his wellness and family.” Hopefully fans will respond with understanding.
At the Warner Bros Comic Con panel this weekend, Affleck was in attendance with fellow actors from the Justice League, including Ezra Miller, Gal Gadot, and Ray Fisher. Affleck was in high spirits to promote the superhero team-up as well as his upcoming Matt Reeves-directed standalone film, saying “I’m so thrilled to do it — it’s fucking amazing.” Whether this also includes the remainder of the proposed trilogy or future Justice League films is still unclear, though.
It is often important to remember that while actors may play characters we care about, they do not owe audiences a performance that may jeopardize their health or their personal relations. Just like any other people performing a job, actors deserve privacy, support, and consideration. This lesson is often forgotten, especially when the distance between audiences and actors is removed due to mediums like Twitter and Instagram, which often make it difficult for fans to perceive what acceptable and unacceptable expectations are. This nuanced divide serves to complicate relationships between content creators and content consumers.
That being said, no matter what unfolds with Batman in the films, support goes out Affleck and the direction he takes to focus on his wellbeing.