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Ben Affleck, who suited up as the Dark Knight for the first time in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, returns as the Caped Crusader in Justice League, which opens Friday. But hearing Affleck talk about the role, it sounds more and more like he's ready to hang up the cowl. Speaking with USA Today, Affleck made yet another comment suggesting he's not going to be patroling Gotham City for much longer. "You don't do it forever, so I want to find a graceful and cool way to segue out of it," Affleck said.
This isn't the first time the actor has waffled on the subject of playing Batman. But his latest comments are the most explicit he's been about eventually leaving the Batcave behind. Affleck is no longer directing a stand-alone Batman film—Matt Reeves is currently overseeing that project—and DC's upcoming films don't necessarily have to involve Batman at all. (Seeing him in Gotham City Sirens opposite Margot Robbie would be incredible, though.)
Affleck wouldn't be the first actor to leave Bruce Wayne behind, and he won't be the last. But his stepping aside could open up all sorts of possibilities to delve deeper into the Batman canon. Here are some possible Batmen that bring those stories to cinematic life.
David Harbour - Frank Miller's Dark Knight
Frank Miller's version of an aged Batman busting skulls in a dystopian future Gotham requires a rage that none of the preceding Batmen were able to pull off. (Christian Bale got closest.) David Harbour—recognizable to most genre fans as Chief Hopper on Stranger Things and soon to be seen as Hellboy in the rebooted film franchise—could knock an old, angry Bruce Wayne out of the park.
Glen Powell - Batman Beyond
The animated series Batman Beyond, which ran for three seasons, from 1998 to 2001, is another future visiom of Gotham. But this one is centered on Terry McGinnis, a young man who stumbles on the Batcave, dons Batman's upgraded cowl and is trained by an elderly Bruce Wayne. An actor like Glen Powell has appeared as effervescent smooth operators in Everybody Wants Some!, Hidden Figures and Scream Queens and could believably capture McGinnis's swagger. Plus, we just want to see him let loose as an action star.
Bill Skarsgård - Justice League Metal
Imagine for a moment that Batman post-Affleck isn't a hero anymore. That's a possible direction if DC adapts Scott Snyder's popular comic Justice League Metal, which imagines how familiar superheroes respond to evil doppelgangers of their friends—who happen to all be nightmarish versions of Batman. Capturing one of the evil alt-Batmen, The Batman Who Laughs, would take the kind of intricate, gruesome acting Bill Skarsgård showed off in Stephen King's It this year....Read more