‘The Batman’ Set For 2021 Release Sans Ben Affleck, Search On For 9th Actor To Play Big Screen Caped Crusader

The eighth actor to portray iconic DC Comics superhero Batman on the big screen, Ben Affleck, is bowing out of the franchise for the upcoming film 'The Batman.'

Iconic DC Comics superhero Batman in a grim pose
Krikkiat / Shutterstock

The eighth actor to portray iconic DC Comics superhero Batman on the big screen, Ben Affleck, is bowing out of the franchise for the upcoming film 'The Batman.'

The next film in Warner Bros’ seemingly never-ending Batman franchise will hit multiplex screens on June 25, 2021, according to a report by Deadline on Wednesday — but the upcoming film will not feature 46-year-old Ben Affleck in the role of the iconic DC Comics superhero, because director Matt Reeves plans to focus on a younger Batman, in an adventure set early in his career.

Instead, a search is now on for what will be the ninth actor to portray the “Caped Crusader” and his alter ego, wealthy industrialist Bruce Wayne, in a live-action, big screen production.

The first appearance of Batman in a comic book came in Detective Comics No. 27, released on March 30, 1939, according to the comics industry news site Bleeding Cool. Just four years later, in 1943, actor Lewis Wilson became the first to don Batman’s distinctive cape and cowl in the 15-part movie serial Batman, as the science fiction site Tor has chronicled. In 1949, the serial’s studio, Columbia Pictures, tried again with the serial Batman and Robin, this time with actor Robert Lowery as Batman.

Adam West portrayed a tongue-in-cheek version of Batman in the 1966 Batman: The Movie, a feature film spinoff of the then-popular Batman TV series. The “Dark Knight” then disappeared from the big screen until he was portrayed by Michael Keaton in the 1989 Batman and Batman Returns, per Den of Geek. Two more sequels followed, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, featuring Val Kilmer and George Clooney, respectively, as Wayne/Batman.

Ben Affleck poses at 'Justice League' photo call.
The eighth actor to play Batman in a live-acton movie, Ben Affleck, has donned the cape and cowl for the last time. Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images

Starting in 2005, director Christopher Nolan made a trilogy of Batman films, as Screenrant documents, each with Christian Bale in the title role. Affleck took over the role as an older, more grizzled Batman in the 2016 blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, also appearing briefly in Suicide Squad, and then as a featured character in the 2017 Justice League.

As the Inquisitr has reported, Mad Men star Jon Hamm had been rumored to replace Affleck for the next entry in Warner’s Batman series, but with The Batman featuring a younger Batman, Hamm appears to be an improbable choice. Born in March of 1971, Hamm is actually 17 months older than Affleck, according to Biography.com.

But Affleck will not be completely absent from the upcoming film. The Batman will reportedly derive from an original script by Affleck, which he co-wrote with DC Comics writer Geoff Johns, according to Deadline.