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Ben Affleck, who first played the Caped Crusader in 2016’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, is returning to the role.

The news seems to contradict earlier reports that he was hanging up his Batman mask for good. Affleck previously planned to direct and act in The Batman, but left the project, stating that it was taking too much of a personal toll on him. Since then, his continued involvement with the D.C. Universe has been unclear.

The Dark Knight Returns?

Some feared Affleck was stepping away from Gotham for good. The Flash producer Barbara Muschietti, for instance, expressed concern that Affleck would never return to the franchise. “There have been all sorts of stories and things he said himself about having a very hard time playing Batman,” Muschietti said, “and it had been difficult for him.”

“I think it was more about a difficult time in his life. When we approached him, he’s now in a very different time in his life. He was very open to it, which was a bit of a surprise to us. It was a question mark.”

She conceded that we all go through “great times in our lives and terrible times in our lives,” an acknowledgment of Affleck’s previous departure from the character. But now, the producer says, Affleck “is in a place where he can actually enjoy being Batman.” She added that it’s “a pivotal role, but at the same time, it’s a fun part.”

The Flash and The Batman

The Flash movie, which will premiere in summer 2022, will star Ezra Miller as the titular hero. Affleck and Michael Keaton, meanwhile, will play two different versions of Batman from alternate dimensions.

As for The Batman (the feature Affleck originally intended to headline), it is now proceeding with a different team. Matt Reeves (The Planet of the Apes) will direct, while Robert Pattinson (Twilight, The Lighthouse) will take on the title role.

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