Post-production is now fully underway on Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ upcoming superhero team-up Justice League. Opening later this year, until recently rumours were swirling that Batman himself Ben Affleck may be hanging up his cape very soon.
While the star has since quashed the rumours, we couldn’t help but wonder just who in movie land could take over the mantle. Here are five choices of actors who could play The Dark Knight...
The 51-year-old New York-born actor has slowly become one of Hollywood’s best character actors over the last few years.
For many, Chandler will best be remembered as Eric Taylor in the hit show Friday Night Lights but more recently he has appeared in films such as Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, The Wolf of Wall Street and last year’s Oscar Winner Manchester by the Sea.
We think he certainly has the chops to pull off both Bruce Wayne and Batman. A stumbling block could be his age (he is 7 years older than Affleck) but if the studio wanted to continue with the older angle, there isn't a better than Chandler is our book.
Yes he’s Magneto in the X-Men franchise and yes that is a Marvel property but if anyone can portray a villain and a hero in the same space of time it’s Michael Fassbender, whose work up to now has been extraordinary.
From his parts in Inglourious Basterds and 300 to his leading roles in Frank, Steve Jobs and Macbeth, Fassbender has proved that he is an actor of superb range and abilities as well as showing off some nifty fighting methods along the way.
He has frequently been linked to the role of James Bond should star Daniel Craig ever step away but with the news that Bond 25 is due in 2019, it seems that he may have to wait his turn - what better way to pass the time than being the Dark Knight for a little while?
The youngest actor on our list, Gyllenhaal is in good company here as he too is enjoying his best and most promising period of his career thus far.
Like Colin Farrell, Jake Gyllenhaal has chosen his roles wisely in recent years after his big blockbuster, 2010’s Prince of Persia, was a disappointment. He then went after more interesting work with roles in Prisoners, Enemy and Nocturnal Animals cementing his place amongst the elite in Hollywood.
He is also no stranger to the superhero genre as he was on the list to play Batman before Christian Bale took the role and almost played Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2 after Tobey Maguire injured his back and almost couldn’t return. It seems the movie fates are on his side...
There’s a strange link between Farrell and Affleck - they were both in 2002’s ill-fated film version of Marvel’s Daredevil, with Affleck as the titular hero while Farrell played his nemesis Bullseye.
Both actors have come a long way since that comic book outing and we think that Farrell has now proved himself a worthy successor to the Bat-cowl.
After Daredevil, Farrell has excelled in films like In Bruges, The Lobster and this year’s The Beguiled with another acclaimed turn in The Killing of a Sacred Deer due for release later this year.
We think his talents, as well as his bad boy charisma, would make him a perfect candidate for both Bruce Wayne and Batman.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Perhaps the ultimate fanboy casting for a new Batman would be The Walking Dead star Morgan. Many have already predicted him to take over the cowl if Affleck was to depart due to WB and DC’s upcoming adaptation of comic-book Flashpoint.
In the latter, The Flash goes back in time to save the life of his mother only to alter the course of history as he does - in this new timeline, it’s Bruce Wayne who is murdered and it’s his father, Thomas, who becomes Batman and his look is based on that of Morgan.
It’s a safe bet that if Affleck departs it may well be due to the change in story/timelines rather than his desire to exit the project - casting Morgan would send fans into overdrive and the DCEU would have a worthy successor.
Seeing as she’s the best actor working today anywhere in the world and could play any character she wanted (she almost played Pennywise in the new version of Stephen King’s IT), so why not Batman?
Scott J. Davis is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.