Your Next Batman Is ... Ben Affleck.

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 23 2013 12:54 AM

Your Next Batman Is ... Ben Affleck.

166189835
"I'm Batman."

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Sorry, Richard Dreyfuss. In a development sure to delight at least Kevin Smith, the next Batman will be none other than Ben Affleck. Affleck will play the caped crusader in Zack Snyder’s sequel to his Superman reboot, Man of Steel. The untitled film, which will feature the two iconic superheroes together, is set to come out July 17, 2015.

For Batfans, the casting news may be a bit puzzling, but I don’t think it should be all that disconcerting. While Affleck has proven himself a stronger director than actor, the success of a Batman movie, especially outside of an origin film, doesn’t actually have all that much to do with the man in the Batsuit. After all, the actor tends to spend most of the movie behind a mask, and—since most of the pesky character development is already out of the way—the focus tends to turn to other elements, like the mood and the writing and, especially, the villains.

What is required is that the actor match the tone of the films, and Affleck should fit in perfectly in Snyder’s bulkier universe. If the role is anything like Henry Cavill’s in Man of Steel, then he will mostly be required to clench his square jaw and brood, and, as Affleck amply demonstrated in Argo, he can brood with the best of them. (If he has to occasionally deliver a smile and a glimmer of charm, he can handle that, too.)

For fans of Affleck, on the other hand, it’s surprising to see him take the keys to the Batmobile at this point in his career. Most actors have used a role like this one to launch themselves into superstardom—Keaton, Kilmer, Clooney, and Bale weren't as established as they then became—but, fresh off a leading role in a movie that also won him Best Picture, Affleck is already there. In fact, he already did a superhero movie (2003’s Daredevil), and it wasn’t much of a success. Some Affleck fans might rather see him continue as a director, since that’s where he seems to most excel.

In the meantime, we still don’t know what Warner Bros. has planned for the character. With a Justice League movie rumored to be on the horizon, perhaps Affleck is just trying to get within shooting range to latch his grappling hook onto the director’s chair.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 22 2014 9:39 AM Adrian Peterson Has a Terrible Contract, and Cutting Him Would Save the Vikings a Lot of Money
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 22 2014 9:12 AM What Is This Singaporean Road Sign Trying to Tell Us?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Science
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.