In a shocking turn of events, Ben Affleck will reprise his role of Batman for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, coming to theaters March 17, 2023.

Despite stepping down from the role following Justice League in 2017, Ben Affleck reprised his take on Batman for Zack Snyder's Justice League and 2023's The Flash. The latter appeared to be a swan song for Affleck's Caped Crusader, given that it will also feature Michael Keaton's Bruce Wayne. Keaton will return as Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Batgirl, starring Leslie Grace, while Affleck seemed to have no other DC projects in line. 

In a surprising twist, however, The Flash won't be the only upcoming DC adventure in which Affleck's version of the Dark Knight will make his presence felt. As it turns out, he is also expected to return for Aquaman and the Lost Kindgom. The film's star, Jason Momoa, took to Instagram to drop the surprise, sharing a picture of himself alongside Affleck in costume as Bruce Wayne, coupled with a video of the actor's involvement in the film being uncovered by WB Studio Tour visitors: 

Momoa wrote in the caption: "REUNITED bruce and arthur. love u and miss u Ben WB studio tours just explored the backlot alright. busted on set all great things coming AQUAMAN 2 all my aloha j."

The picture shows Affleck sporting his signature Bruce Wayne look. It appears that the reveal was motivated by WB Studio Tour visitors spotting Affleck and Momoa together during filming, as the latter stated in the video, "Well, we tried to keep it a secret."

No more details were provided about his part, though Affleck's appearance in Aquaman 2 doesn't necessarily mean he will continue playing Bruce Wayne for the foreseeable future. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled for release in March 2023, and The Flash (which seems to be Affleck's last time playing the character) will be released three months later, in June 2023. 

It's worth noting that Momoa appeared to indicate that he was filming with Affleck recently, which is curious, because James Wan announced in January of 2022 that filming on Aquaman 2 had wrapped.

If these pictures are indeed recent, Ben Affleck's Batman is likely a late addition. While speculating on what exactly that means for his part is difficult given how little is known about the plot of the Aquaman sequel, it could be he is being saved either for a tag (similar to his appearance in the post-credits scene of Suicide Squad) or a cameo. 

When Affleck's involvement as Bruce Wayne in The Flash was officially revealed by Vanity Fair, the film's director, Andy Muschietti, teased an important role for the actor: 

"He's a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck's Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven't seen before. It's Barry's movie, it's Barry's story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that's one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That's where the Affleck Batman kicks in. He's the baseline. He's part of that unaltered state before we jump into Barry’s adventure. There's a familiarity there."

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be released on March 17, 2023. 

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