Evidently, January 30th is not the best day in Batman history, at least for Ben Affleck. Yesterday, it was announced that Ben Affleck had officially left the role of Bruce Wayne in The Batman, after years of speculation that he would quit the DCEU. While this news was certainly heartbreaking to many DC fans, it wasn't entirely a surprise.
Now let's step back two years to January 30th, 2017. On this day, Ben Affleck and Warner Bros. Pictures revealed to Variety that Ben Affleck would be stepping down as director of The Batman. At this time, Affleck stated that he still intended to star in and produce the project, which is evidently no longer the case. Here is Affleck's statement when he announced he was dropping out as director.
"There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world."
Around the time when The Batman was first announced, it was revealed that Ben Affleck would not only star in the movie as Bruce Wayne / Batman, but that he was also working on a script that he intended to direct. Ben Affleck has a great history behind-the-scenes in Hollywood, with his greatest achievement being Argo, which won three Oscars, including Best Picture. Fans were hoping that Affleck would bring this great quality to The Batman, which evidently was something too good to be true.
Ben Affleck's departure as director was primarily credited to his personal life. He was still going through a divorce at the time, which would certainly add a lot of strain to his life. Extra strain is certainly not something you want to have when you're directing, producing, writing and starring in a movie as massive as The Batman. It was also partially credited to the release of Live by Night, a movie released only a month before Affleck's 2017 announcement that he directed, produced, wrote and starred in. Live by Night proved to be a failure, both with critics and at the box office, which surely would have hurt Affleck's self-esteem and more than likely played a large role in him deciding to step down as The Batman's director.
Despite all of these setbacks with Ben Affleck, we still hope that DC and Warner Bros. will be able to pull off The Batman. Perhaps the movie may even be better without Affleck, considering that he has now broken all of his promises from his 2017 statement to Variety. The path to The Batman has certainly been rocky, but we remain optimistic in Warner Bros. going forward, assuming that the two January 30th's between now and The Batman's release date don't do any more damage.