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The Flash: What Does Ben Affleck’s Return Mean For The DCEU?

Loved by some, disparaged by a few, Ben Affleck attracted widespread media attention when he was cast as Batman back in 2013. Fresh out of Argo after winning an Academy Award for Best Director, the actor turned director was offered one of the biggest roles of his life. Yet, his forgettable Daredevil suddenly became a major point of discussion casting doubts on his abilities.

Fast forward to 2016, Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit the theatres as a part of the larger DC Extended Universe. Receiving a polarized reaction upon its release, the DC Extended Universe had to deal with another shaky start after Man of Steel. Yet, Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the Dark Knight received widespread acclaim by many comic-book fans for its sheer accuracy sans the usage of guns.

Arguably the most terrifying and physically imposing version of Batman, Ben Affleck became an instant favorite among many fans who were waiting for a long time to see a comic-book accurate portrayal of the Caped Crusader. A plethora of gadgets, a terrifying physique of pure muscles, and lightning-fast reflexes to take down scores of enemies at once, Ben Affleck was the closest amalgamation of Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s versions of Batman.

Though criticized for a lack of detective skills, Ben Affleck’s suave Bruce Wayne was another jewel in the crown. An aged Batman who had been battered down after years of crimefighting, Ben Affleck’s Batman, or more popularly called as Batfleck became the proverbial shining light for a murky DC Extended Universe.

Batfleck returned once again in Joss Whedon/Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 2017. The rushed answer to Marvel’s AvengersJustice League was a massive failure both critically and commercially. Marred with problems since the beginning, Whedon’s decision to make Snyder’s intense and violent Batman into a wise-cracking dude in a Batsuit backfired massively, thus marking the end of Batfleck.

Already going through the divorce with his then-wife Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck spiraled back to alcoholism once again which effectively was the last nail in the coffin. Previously, Ben Affleck was attached to a solo Batman movie, which was supposed to be directed by him. But, the physical toll of becoming the Batman on an aging Ben Affleck was too much, as stated by him back in 2018.

“I showed somebody The Batman script,” Affleck told the New York Times. “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.’”

Thankfully, fans of Ben Affleck would be watching him don the suit in the upcoming Snyder Cut which is apparently much different from Whedon’s Justice League. Continuing the dark and gritty tone of Snyder’s previous movies, Batfleck is set to return as the intense and terrifying Dark Knight once again in the movie which is slated to be released on HBO Max.

But as per recent reports, there might still be some elements of the Batman left in Affleck as the Academy Award winner is set to reprise the role one more time in The Flash. Directed by Andy Muschietti, The Flash will star Ezra Miller as Barry Allen and is said to be inspired by the critically acclaimed Flashpoint story arc.

As Ezra Miller made his appearance in CW’s The Flash alongside Grant Gustin in Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover episode, the DC Extended Universe has officially opened itself to the DC Multiverse. And with the Multiverse, comes a myriad of options the DCEU can explore without altering the main timeline.

According to director Andy Muschietti, the return of Batfleck plays a vital role in shaping Barry Allen’s superhero career. As The Flash can tear open the Multiverse if he wishes, the possibility of many other Batman(s) arises. But, before Barry makes the quantum jump, it’s important he partners up with Batfleck, who fought alongside him in Justice League.

“This movie is a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we’ve seen before are valid,” Muschietti said. “It’s inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you’ve seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse.”

If the statement is to be believed, the DCEU has officially accepted all versions of Batman as part of its Multiverse which includes the Nolanverse, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, and all other live-action adaptations of the Dark Knight. Also, Michael Keaton has been confirmed to be a part of The Flash which further cements the existence of the Multiverse.

But, if the Multiverse really exists in the DCEU, we might soon meet Thomas Wayne’s version of Batman in The Flash. And with Ben Affleck in the fold, Jeffery Dean Morgan might finally don the costume in the Flashpoint Paradox, reprising his role from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Teased for far too long now, Jeffery Dean Morgan would be a terrific choice to play the brutal and merciless Thomas Wayne’s Batman. As The Flash is adapted from Flashpoint, we might also see the first female Joker in live-action played by none other than Lauren Cohan who played the role of Martha Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Moreover, unless our luck runs out midway, The Flash might just show us Barry Allen delivering the letter from Thomas Wayne to Bruce.

As the DC Extended Universe currently has both Robert Pattinson and Ben Affleck as Batman, it will be interesting to see which actor gets the main timeline. As Robert Pattinson’s Batman is apparently an acolyte in The Batman, it would be interesting to see his arc shaping up alongside the more mature and veteran Batfleck.

Though the DC Extended Universe is yet to announce its plans for the future which now includes the multiverse, one thing which can happen in the near future would be Ben Affleck returning as a director for the DCEU. Here’s hoping our beloved Batfleck truly opens the Multiverse with the Scarlet Speedster at his side.

Written by Akash Senapati

Akash is an India-based writer who has previously worked with Quirkybyte and Xtrascoop. He loves DC Comics, Anime, Pink Floyd, and sleeping in no particular order. His favourite graphic-medium writers are Grant Morrison, Chris Claremont, Christopher Priest, Garth Ennis, and Eiichiro Oda. Prep time > Aliens.

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