Stop us if you’ve heard this one: by day, Ben Affleck is an Oscar-winning director of crowd-pleasing political thrillers and gritty, social-minded crime dramas. But by night (and also by day, pending shooting schedules), the Boston-minded performer is rumored to spend his time running around on studio sets, dressing up like a bat and pretending to beat up lunatics, criminals, and gods from space. It’s all enough to make you ask yourself: why have you never seen director Ben Affleck and Batman V. Superman star Ben Affleck in the same place, huh?
Now, even more fuel has been thrown onto the speculative fires, with Deadline reporting that two of Affleck’s non-superhero films, The Accountant and Live By Night, have both been pushed back by Warner Bros. The former, directed by Warrior’s Gavin O’Conner, cast Affleck as a mild-mannered assassin, while the latter will be the director’s second time adapting a book by Gone Baby Gone author Dennis Lehane. On the surface, the moves—from January 2016 to October for The Accountant, and from late 2016 to some time the next year for Live By Night—don’t seem like that of a big deal, but it’s possible that they’re reflective of ongoing developments in the brewing Batman-Affleck urban legend.
You see, comicbook.com has reported a rumor that Warner Bros. executives recently got their first look at the completed Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, the studio’s big 2016 tentpole film. The rumor states that the movie was greeted with a triumphant standing ovation by the assembled bigwigs, with much of the praise going toward Affleck’s cowl-festooned performance. (The actor-director may or may not have been categorized as “the definitive Batman,” a mythical hero who wages a one-man war against superhero hype and expectations.)
There were already hints floating around that Affleck might helm a standalone Batman film some time in the near future (possibly with the help of DC Comics writer Geoff Johns), but now that hypothetical project has potentially tripled into three quasi-possible movies. Affleck was already committed to appearing in the upcoming Justice League movie (currently set for November 2017), which was going to make his shooting schedule for the next year or so superhumanly packed. If Warner has started moving projects around for the director and star, it might just mean Justice League is going to need more of his time than previously anticipated. Or, it might be hinting at a brand new Batman franchise for Warner Bros.’ suddenly-proven Bruce Wayne, the sort of implausible, strictly hearsay conspiracy that only makes sense if you think the studio wants to make a ridiculous amount of money by making a bunch of new Batman films as quickly as they possibly can.