Ben Affleck may not star in The Batman after all

Big shake-ups may be coming to the DCEU. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros. may be looking for a way to end Ben Affleck's tenure as Batman, with the actor reportedly stepping away from the Caped Crusader before Matt Reeves' The Batman.

Rumors that Affleck wants out of the Batman role have abounded in recent months, and they were supported even further when the actor stepped out of the director's chair earlier this year. When Affleck's name was left out of the release announcing Reeves as director, many took it as a sign that he had left the project; however, Affleck later confirmed that he was still set to star.

Warner Bros. film studio chief Toby Emmerich confirmed to THR that Affleck is still the studio's Batman, saying that they "want to keep him in the cowl" for as long as they can. However, THR's source contradicts this, saying that the plan is to "gracefully" transition Affleck out of the role in one of DC's upcoming films.

How and when this would happen is still unclear, although it's possible that it could happen in November's Justice League, which Affleck will star in. Joss Whedon is currently overseeing reshoots for the film, which could potentially write in some sort of exit for Affleck. There are other possibilities for how Affleck could depart the franchise, but THR notes that, no matter where the exit happens, it's good money to bet that Affleck won't star in The Batman.

Affleck's inclusion in The Batman is put further into question by the fact that Reeves has discussed a planned trilogy with the character. With Affleck's age and with his increasing reticence to suit up as the character, it seems unlikely that he would want to sign on to three films; however, Warner Bros. is probably happy to pursue the larger set, especially considering the success Reeves has had with the Planet of the Apes trilogy.

A source close to the situation says that there is precedent in the comics for some of the possibilities of how Batman could depart the rule, with Bruce Wayne previously handing the moniker to others or with there even being two Batmen in Gotham at the same time. While it's unlikely that Dick Grayson would take up the moniker as he did in the comics due to the character's upcoming standalone Nightwing film, there are other possible characters who could take up the mantle. Warner Bros. could also just decide to recast the role of Bruce Wayne, although that may become confusing in the studio's planned Justice League follow-up.

It remains to be seen if Affleck will actually depart the Batman role, and it's unlikely that we'll get real answers on his involvement anytime soon, even with the actor heading out to San Diego Comic-Con this weekend to promote Justice League. Affleck's reps declined to comment for the story. While we wait to see if Affleck will remain on as Batman, see where every DC project currently in development stands.