It’s actually a really interesting story, and there are also a few things I would like to clear up.
A lot’s been written about this potential Batfleck series on HBO Max.
I’ve seen sites claim that Ben Affleck had signed on to star in a Batman series.
Some reports even went a step further to claim that he’d also signed on to star in more Batman films.
Now, I’m not here to disprove any of those claims.
We’re going to go over how the idea of Ben Affleck’s Batman HBO Max series came to be, how much was completed, why it hasn’t happened and if anything from this project will ever make it to the screen.
Was there ever a Batman series being discussed for HBO Max?
The first thing I can say is that people inside HBO Max and also over at Warner Bros. were discussing the possibility of making a Batman series.
This series would have starred Ben Affleck as Batman.
However, these talks were going on before Justice League was released in 2017.
One of the things I was told by a former WarnerMedia employee was that:
Ben Affleck and Warner Bros. at the time were talking up a solo Batman movie and a spinoff series.
This was back when Ben Affleck planned to star and direct the film.
He was also interested in starring in and directing a few episodes of the spinoff Batman series.
I was specifically told that these plans were in place before Zack Snyder left Justice League, but then Joss Whedon came into the picture and things changed.
One thing I wasn’t able to confirm was whether Affleck’s experience with Whedon was one of the reasons he didn’t want to continue playing Batman.
It does, however, go without saying that the timing of all these events needs to be noted.
Ben Affleck is known for being professional when it comes to other directors and if he did have an issue with anyone it was probably addressed behind closed doors.
With that said, I was told that he felt a lot of pressure when he was tasked with writing and directing the Batman film.
It’s a safe bet to say everyone asking him about The Batman when he was trying to promote Live By Night, a film he shed blood, sweat and tears to make – and was very personal to him – didn’t help either.
Ben Affleck felt the pressure of making a Batman film
In the end, he opted to leave it to one side and let someone else step in and do what they wanted with the DC Comics superhero.
It’s not like he was leaving them with nothing.
He had a story fleshed out and wrote a screenplay with Geoff Johns that he could leave to Warner Bros.
Did that, or any of that make the cut?
We’ll come back to that in a bit.
Ben was feeling the pressure with the Batman movie. He thought it would be best to let someone else do it. Someone who really wanted to do it.
This then put a spanner in the works as far as the Batman series was concerned.
However, there were still vague plans in place to do the series with Ben starring.
He just wouldn’t be as involved as he was in the beginning.
In other words, he wouldn’t write, direct and produce the show.
With the original plan for Ben Affleck not happening anymore, they tried to have the best of both worlds.
There were talks of having Ben direct the pilot.
They believed this would really help them sell the series on that fact.
But then things for the Ben Affleck Batman HBO Max series then took a real nosedive when Warner Bros. hired Matt Reeves to make the upcoming The Batman movie.
Now, there are also a few things I want to clear up about that movie.
Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns had already done a substantial amount of story work, so did Reeves use what they had done?
If not, has he used anything?
Short answer, no.
Even though the titles are the same, Matt Reeves’ movie does not share any other similarities to the script that Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns were writing.
Matt Reeves’ Batman spinoff series threw a spanner in the works
Reeves came in with a brand new idea.
He completely scrapped everything that Ben and Geoff had done up until that point.
Now, why would Warner Bros. allow this? It happens all the time in Hollywood.
One instance that comes to mind is when Tim Burton signed on to do Superman with Nicolas Cage.
He had a “Pay-or-Play” deal and also in the contract he was allowed to bring on whomever he chose.
This is why Kevin Smith’s script was not even considered as Tim Burton wanted to use his own writer.
So, Matt Reeves just finished his financially successful Planet Of The Apes run for FOX.
It’s a fair bet to say Warner Bros. gave him a similar kind of deal.
We can only speculate as to how Ben Affleck felt about all his work and time being wiped away with the signing of a contract, however, he was probably happy to move on and focus on other things in his life that needed attention.
The other nail in the coffin for the Ben Affleck Batman series was the moment when HBO Max greenlit Reeves’ spinoff Batman series.
It’s going to be a sort of take on the Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka Gotham Central comics.
I think “inspired by” Gotham Central is the best way to describe it.
It’ll be set before the evens of the Robert Pattinson Batman film and will focus on what goes on inside Gotham PD.
It sounds like this series will be something to watch out for.
I’m being told that HBO Max is very excited about it.
I was also told that they are planning on calling the series Gotham PD, which would be a nice nod to the comics.
The series originally had Terence Winter as its showrunner.
He created Boardwalk Empire and cut his teeth on The Sopranos.
However, Howard left the project and was replaced by Joe Barton—creator of Giri/Haji and the writer of Netflix’s The Ritual.
We’ll have to wait and see how that series turns out.
The Flash movie will be Ben Affleck’s last time playing Batman
However, this all meant that HBO Max was moving away from the Ben Affleck series.
Then, there’s the fact that Ben Affleck has been looking for a good way to say goodbye to the role.
That’s one of the reasons why he accepted to return for The Flash movie.
I was told that The Flash film offered Ben what he saw to be the perfect sendoff for him as Batman.
He also thought the fans would appreciate it.
Unfortunately – and I know this might not be what you wanted to hear:
Ben Affleck will be done playing Batman after The Flash.
A source stated that he wants to focus on making his own projects.
In their own words:
Ben is very keen on getting back behind the camera.
He wants to move away from his time as Batman.
Ben Affleck fell in love with directing and really wants to continue his career in that field.
He definitely doesn’t want to get roped into a TV series.
I’m also pretty sure that Ben Affleck hasn’t been all that enamoured with the way Warner Bros. Pictures has treated Zack Snyder.
He’s a big fan of Zack’s, and the two of them are good friends.
I was told that there’s still a slight possibility of Ben returning to the role if Zack were to make another Justice League movie.
However, the odds on that happening right now are pretty short.
Ben Affleck might have wanted to get away from all of WB’s and DC Films’ drama
This is now me speculating, but I think that Ben just wanted to find a way out of playing Batman as soon as possible, mainly to get away from all the drama at DC Films and Warner Bros. Pictures.
If he had even a small taste of the 2017 drama that came with Joss Whedon’s Justice League, you can understand why.
He’s also stated it really took a toll on him and his personal life.
With that said, this isn’t actually a story of Warner Bros. Pictures executives getting in the way.
Interestingly enough, the higher-ups at Warner Bros. were always keen on getting Ben to play Batman in a series.
It’s more Ben making the decision himself to move on from the project and the role.
We will get to see him play Batman one more time in the upcoming Flash movie.
I think that’s enough.
Maybe it’s time we all gave Batfleck a rest.
He’s deserved it.
What do you make of all of this?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
You can also contact me directly via Twitter @EJLauder if you have any questions. My DMs are open.
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