Even as this petition with super-clever artwork has garnered more than 72,000 supporters calling for Ben Affleck’s removal from the role of Batman he hasn’t actually played yet, Warner Bros. nevertheless seems intent on keeping the actor in the part, suggesting it’s somehow unconcerned with the preemptive judgment of the sort of people who would draft web petitions. Perhaps that’s because, according to this Hollywood Reporter analysis, it’s a decision they’d already been pursuing for many months, ever since Zack Snyder reached out to Affleck after Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling both passed on enduring this exact same criticism.
Potentially causing that criticism to somehow become even more enraged, the article notes that Affleck first wanted to talk about “story and character,” the things that explain why Batman is punching people and who he’s punching, and this suggests that Affleck will be heavily involved in helping to shape this new incarnation of Batman (especially as Christopher Nolan moves to a more hands-off executive producer role). Affleck’s input is also something that could dictate much of the character’s future, as he’s reportedly signed for “multiple movies”—possibly including Justice League, which THR hints Affleck may change his mind about directing, now that it gives him the chance to work with his favorite actor.
Just how many movies he’ll star in is a matter of pure, unfounded speculation, also known as the lifeblood of the Internet. If you want to believe Cosmic Book News and its completely unsourced report, it’s as many as 13—though you should keep in mind that the very same site also insists Bryan Cranston has been officially cast as Lex Luthor in six of those movies, a decision no one else has yet reported on (even among the typically overeager “scoop” sites), and also that Matt Damon is “being considered for Aquaman or Martian Manhunter,” a supposition absolutely no one else is reporting or even contemplating floating as a joke. But what is known for sure is that Affleck—after taking time to star in Gone Girl this fall and also to shoot Live By Night next fall—is obviously going to play a very crucial part in defining the future of Batman, as well as the future of bitching about Batman.