5 Most Likely Ways Warner Bros. Could "Usher Out" Ben Affleck's BATMAN After JUSTICE LEAGUE

Ben Affleck has denied that he's calling it quits with the DC Extended Universe but also once insisted that he would direct The Batman! So, how could Warner Bros. go about getting rid of his Dark Knight?

A few days before Comic-Con, we heard that Warner Bros. was working on a plan to gracefully usher out Ben Affleck's Batman from the DC Extended Universe. No specific reason was given but the actor's age and mixed response to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have been among the most popular theories as to why he wants to move on, not to mention creative differences over The Batman.

At the event itself, Affleck insisted that he would be going nowhere but what else did you expect him to say? The studio is already facing something of a PR night in regards to Justice League, after all! 

Assuming Affleck's time as the Caped Crusader is nearing its ends, we take a look here at five different ways Warner Bros. could remove him from the DC Extended Universe without recasting or having to drop Batman from future movies. One of these could even happen as soon as Justice League...

5. Kill The Caped Crusader

This is a drastic solution but one which would definitely work. Like most superheroes, Batman has died a number of times over the years and one of those occurred during a battle with Darkseid. Recreating the iconic scene above would definitely be a cool thing to see in live-action but is Warner Bros. willing to "kill" Batman for the second time? 

They've been down that route with The Dark Knight Rises but having the Caped Crusader fall in action would be a pretty definite end to Affleck's tenure as the iconic DC Comics superhero. In a way, it makes sense that Bruce Wayne would die after leaving his mark by being the one responsible for uniting the world's heroes and him sacrificing himself for, say, Superman would definitely be poetic given their past. The problem with killing Batman is what that means for the character's future but we'll get to that a little later in this post. 

4. Break The Bat

It sounds like Ben Affleck really doesn't want to keep playing Batman, something that can probably be blamed on the mauling his first appearance as the hero received (which was directed at the movie itself rather than his performance) and the fact that splitting his time between shooting DC Comics movies and helming Live by Night didn't seem to work out that well for the latter. However, is it possible that Warner Bros. could convince Affleck to take on a smaller role in the DC Extended Universe?

One way to achieve that would be to leave Bruce badly injured by the time Justice League ends. A move like that leaves the door open to some potentially major changes down the line but could still mean we get to see Affleck play some sort of role in these movies even if it's just a supporting one. It would also make any potential alteration to who dons the cape and cowl a little more seamless too. 

3. Batman Beyond

Talking about changing who's wearing the cowl, could now be the right time for that long rumoured Batman Beyond movie? While it would be a shame not to have the new trilogy from director Matt Reeves focus on Bruce Wayne, there are plenty of big screen outings featuring the Caped Crusader which have, so there's really nothing to say that now isn't the right time for Terry McGinnis to get the spotlight.

The big question here is whether or not it would be best to have this movie take place in the present or future (where Affleck could don old man make-up). The latter would be faithful to the comic books but the problem with that is it means there would be no Batman in the Justice League movies and it wastes actors like J.K. Simmons and Jeremy Irons. Ultimately, a Batman Beyond movie could prove to be too much of a headache for the studio but it's definitely a somewhat likely possibility. 

2. Make The Trilogy A Prequel

Matt Reeves sounds determined to make a trilogy of Batman movies to rival Christopher Nolan's but that's not going to be easy if Ben Affleck is about to ditch the cape and cowl! One simple solution, however, would be to have this series of movies set in the past. Actors like Jeremy Irons and J.K. Simmons could easily be made to look younger and with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice making it clear that the hero had been operating in Gotham City for two decades, there are lots of gaps in his history to fill in.

Why not go back and reveal how Robin's costume wound up in the Batcave or even revisit Jared Leto's Joker before he got all those stupid tattoos? The only tricky thing about this one is the fact that it would be a tad disconcerting to suddenly have a different actor playing a younger Batman who probably doesn't look all that much like Affleck but it may very well be the studio's only choice at this stage. 

1. Nightwing Dons The Batsuit

Nightwing is supposed to be getting his own live-action movie from The LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay but what if those plans have changed? There was no mention of Dick Grayson's solo outing at Comic-Con so it's entirely feasible that Warner Bros. will now follow the comic books and have the former sidekick take over as the new Batman. For that to work, the studio is going to have to give him the spotlight elsewhere first to make us actually care about him and that could be in The Batman (which Affleck is likely to star in before moving on from the role).

Dick was actually an excellent Batman and many fans were disappointed to see Bruce return and take the mantle back so exploring this on the big screen could work really well. Ultimately, it depends on whether or not Nightwing's transition from sidekick to lead hero would be of interest to Matt Reeves but this has a lot of potential if handled the right way.

If Ben Affleck is going to be ushered out of the Batman role, how would you guys like to see it happen? This way or another? As always, share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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