Here's A Complete Timeline Of Ben Affleck's Infuriating Will He/Won't He Relationship With THE BATMAN

Ben Affleck's history with The Batman is in equal parts fascinating and frustrating. Here, we take a look back at where it went wrong and look ahead to what may or may not come next for his Dark Knight...

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If you're a big Batman fan and keen to see him back on the big screen in a solo adventure, it's been a very frustrating five years or so. It was actually in 2015 that we first learned Ben Affleck would write and direct The Batman but ever since then, the project has failed to get off the ground, losing its director, release dates, and seemingly becoming stuck in development hell without a lead star. 

Where did it all go wrong, though? After all, there was a time when it looked like a Batman movie directed the talented filmmaker would hit
theaters (with a heavy influence from comic book God, Geoff Johns) by 2017 at the latest, adapting a truly beloved storyline in the form of "Under the Hood."

Here, we go right back to the beginning to look at how The Batman came together and ultimately fell apart. When you look at this timeline, it becomes clear that Affleck had his doubts from the start and it's interesting to examine where those started creeping in and how it ultimately killed his version of the movie. We also take a look to the future and what's going to become of the DC Comics movie.

Batman Begins

2012 - Shortly after the release of the critically acclaimed Oscar-winning movie Argo, Ben Affleck was named as the frontrunner to take the helm of Justice League. At that time, the movie was being written by Gangster Squad scribe Will Beall but those talks appeared to stall as Warner Bros. instead chose to focus on the release of Man of Steel, a movie actually delayed from 2012 to 2013.

2013 - We knew that Warner Bros. was looking for an actor to play Batman in the untitled Man of Steel sequel but Affleck's casting came literally out of nowhere. The news shocked fans and in the days that followed, it was revealed that 71% of the reactions on Twitter during the hour following this casting announcement were negative. Fans simply didn't want him to play the Dark Knight!

Batfleck Backlash

2013 - The backlash showed no signs of slowing down and after mentioning in an interview that the studio had warned him about there being negativity from fans, Ben Affleck later revealed that he was initially reluctant to take on the role of the Caped Crusader. This was his first admission but NOT the last. 

2014 - It was in the May of this year that Warner Bros. revealed the first official image of Affleck as Batman and the response was...mixed. The moody black and white image was a hit in the respect that people loved the Batmobile and costume but the "Sad Batman" meme was born thanks to this shot and the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice title reveal was also met with ridicule.

The Batman

2014 - Completely out of the blue during an investor's meeting (proving that Warner Bros. has a lot to learn from Marvel Studios), a full slate of DC Comics adaptations was revealed. While there was no mention of The Batman at this time, it was mentioned that solo movies for both the Dark Knight and Man of Steel were in the works and rumours about the former quickly started popping up. 

2015 - Our first mention of The Batman (as it would become known) came shortly before Comic-Con when Deadline reported that Ben Affleck was writing the movie alongside Geoff Johns and was also being eyed to direct. Excitement was through the roof but with no official announcement at the event - as we expected - this was filed a rumour. Despite that, it was widely claimed that Affleck and Johns were basing the movie on the death of Robin and his return as the Red Hood. Fans loved it!

Dawn Disaster Of Justice

2016 - Ben Affleck admitted before the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that the pressure was on the movie to succeed and, well, it sort of did? The movie had a massive opening weekend but the reviews were abysmal and those box office numbers started plummeting when word of mouth got out there. Fans and critics alike started turning on the DC Films Universe. 

That wasn't the worst thing that happened during the movie's release, though. In a UK-based interview which took place AFTER the reviews came out, Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck were asked about the response to Batman v Superman and "Sad Affleck" was born when a YouTuber took that footage of a very depressed looking Ben and played Simon & Garfunkel’s "The Sound of Silence" over it.

Image result for sad affleck gif


The Batman Is Announced But Ben Isn't So Sure

2016 - Kevin Tsujihara officially announced The Batman in April, bringing months of rumours about the project to an apparent end. Alas, it wouldn't be quite that simple, though, as a visit to the set of Justice League saw Ben Affleck make it clear that he wouldn't commit to the project until the script was in place and they simply weren't at that point when the movie was made official. 

Later on in the year, Affleck reprised the role of Batman in Suicide Squad, an apparent good sign that he was committed to playing the hero. However, that too was torn apart by fans and critics alike.

Affleck got everyone talking in October when he appeared to confirm that the movie would be called The Batman but he later walked back on those comments and by the time Christmas rolled around, he was quick to point out that he would not be rushed to meet the 2018 release date mentioned by the studio. It was now starting to look like this movie was never going to happen. 

2017 - Happy New Year! Or not! Affleck kicked off 2017 by making it clear that there was no script and he would not be pressured into making the movie if he couldn't be sure it would turn out great. He later admitted to being frustrated by the expectations to start work on The Batman, calling it a "pain in the ass" and saying every mention he makes of the movie was turned into "clickbait."

Everything Starts Going Wrong

2017 - After spending January venting his frustrations about the pressures surrounding The Batman but promising he was still working on the movie, it was officially announced that he would no longer direct the movie. Fans were shocked and rumours that he wouldn't play Batman quickly resurfaced.

One month later, it was announced that War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves would be taking over the project and that he planned on scrapping Affleck and Johns' screenplay. That was disappointing but at least the movie had a pretty damn impressive director so fans took solace in that.

After months of rumours that Affleck was planning on walking away from the role, Reeves attempted to reassure fans by saying he would still play the hero but that changed as we rolled into Comic-Con.

Batman, No More?

2017 - Comic-Con is supposed to be a happy time of year for fans but the day before Warner Bros.' big panel at the event, convincing reports surfaced stating that the studio was looking for ways to gracefully usher Ben Affleck out of the role. He wouldn't comment on those claims but seemingly made it clear that he was committed to the Dark Knight by hyping Justice League up in a big way. 

The following month, comments from Casey Affleck once again put his brother's future as Batman in doubt and it created such a stir online that Casey's representatives had to clear things up with a statement claiming he was just joking. Needless to say, pretty much no one was convinced by that. 

Justice League Fails To Make Things Right

2017 - November rolled around and fans were hopeful that Justice League would be a hit and Ben Affleck would be convinced to change his mind about walking away from Batman. Unfortunately, the actor now seemed to be far less sure about returning in interviews and stories started popping up that Reeves might set the story away from the DC Films Universe with Jake Gyllenhaal taking over the title role. Despite that, fans remained optimistic that Justice League would set things right.

It didn't. The movie was another critical and commercial bomb for Warner Bros. and while Affleck was praised for his performance, he said the following month that while it had been a blast to return as the Caped Crusader for the superhero ensemble, he would have to evaluate future appearances on "the merit of the material." He also seemed a tad disappointed not to be directing The Batman.

The Beginning Of The End

2017 - What a difference a year makes! With 2017 nearing its end, it was revealed that Warner Bros. was planning to bring Ben Affleck's tenure as Batman to an end by having him appear in Flashpoint but not The Batman. Instead, that would be a standalone story with a new actor in the role.

2018 -As a new year begins, Matt Reeves provides a brief but positive update on The Batman saying he finally has the story worked out but confirms that there's no script in place. As a result, it's pretty obvious that the movie is a long way off and Ben Affleck's involvement remains a mystery.

However, another new report once again claims that The Batman will be fully standalone and that a new actor will be cast in the lead role (most likely Gyllenhaal). It's also said that Affleck's farewell will come in either Flashpoint or even sooner than that in Suicide Squad 2 which starts shooting this year.

That wasn't all, though, as a conflicting story says that the movie WILL be set in the DC Films Universe but Affleck has the option to return if he chooses. If not, Gyllenhaal is waiting in the wings.


So, What Next?

We don't know but there's a very good chance the movie is going to happen as Warner Bros. is well aware that Batman = $$$. Whether Ben Affleck will be involved in that isn't clear but it seems highly unlikely. Thankfully, Reeves appears to be committed to sticking around but so did Affleck not that long ago so who knows what might happen next. It seems we'll have to wait and see...

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