Let’s get one thing clear before we dive in: Ben Affleck has not dropped out of Batman vs. Superman as of this writing. But the situation is taking a turn that suggests Affleck might not be moving into the batcave anytime soon.
If you’re keeping track of the flurry of rumors regarding this production you’ll know that it’s been a bumpy ride from the outset. Coming off the heels of a delay to 2016 we’re now hearing whispers from an inside source that a lengthening shooting schedule as well as reported clashes with scriptwriter David Goyer are leading to a potential parting of ways between the actor/filmmaker and the project. At the forefront of Affleck’s issues is a script that’s miles away from where he feels it needs to be. This is further compounded with the actor/filmmaker’s concerns that the BvS shoot will conflict with his plans to direct the adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night in the fall. Between the power Goyer has been wielding over both this film and Justice League (of which he’s contracted to write both) and an ever-increasing amount of conflicting studio notes, it’s all getting to be a bit much for the man who would be Batman; so much so that our source says Affleck is telling WB to get their house in order ASAP or find another Caped Crusader.
What’s interesting is that Warner Brothers so wants to continue in the Ben Affleck business that they’ve reportedly expressed a willingness to let the man bow out gracefully and without damaging their non-DC projects currently in-house (including but not limited to geo-political thriller King of Heists). The ball is totally in Affleck’s court should he decide to stay or go.
Not that the Argo director needs my advice, but I’ll offer it up anyway: Walk. Leave this troubled Batman vs. Superman in the dust and continue a career resurgence that doesn’t need the sort of fervor and tentpole expectations inherent with the Batman franchise. Affleck’s inclusion here never fit in the sense that dude can pretty much write his ticket in Hollywood right now. He doesn’t need Batman, and I’m not even convinced a name actor is best-suited for a reboot of this magnitude.
Don’t be surprised if Warner scraps entirely and fasttracks a sequel to Man of Steel, one more focused on telling a self-contained Superman story that hints at a more expanded universe down the line. That last part is merely speculation, but major shakeups are already occurring in the form of the studio allegedly gutting the project’s pre-viz team over the weekend. Could a greater overhaul, one that sees an increasingly crowded* Batman vs. Superman scrapped for a more subtle and longterm approach, be far behind?
*This source also names Jason Momoa as the frontrunner for Aquaman, compelled to action by the effects the world engine had on his ocean kingdom in MoS.