This week, Ben Affleck confirmed on Jimmy Kimmel Live what has been rumored for some time: that he will not return to play the title role in the standalone film The Batman in 2021. Affleck previously stepped down from directing the movie in 2017, with Matt Reeves eventually taking over.
“I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter but just couldn’t come up with a version,” the Justice League actor told Kimmel. “I couldn’t crack it, and so I thought it’s time for someone else to take a shot at it.”
But hey, “young” is subjective, no? We here at EW are gonna pretend the field is still wide open, so here are some of our favorites to lead The Batman.
Rumors have swirled for months that Oscar Isaac might be circling a role as the Caped Crusader, and for good reason: Isaac is the rare actor who can pull off both the darkness of the Dark Knight and the roguish billionaire charm of Bruce Wayne. And after the extremely forgettable X-Men: Apocalypse, Isaac deserves a comic book role that makes full use of his talents (and doesn’t bury him under blue makeup). —Devan Coggan
It’s time to make Batman cool again. Over the years, Batman has been a lot of things on the big screen (brooding, rich, handsome), but never as cool and suave as Jordan’s Bruce Wayne could be. Plus, the Fantastic Four star is owed a successful superhero franchise of his own. —Derek Lawrence
Let’s conclude the Tim Burton trilogy with a look at where 1989’s Batman ended up three decades later. Christopher Nolan’s films flirted with elements of Frank Miller’s touchstone 1986 comic book The Dark Knight Returns, which explored the battered body and shattered psyche of Bruce Wayne in the winter of his crimefighting years, but there’s room for, if not a faithful adaptation, one that takes those themes and merges them with the art-deco stoicism of Burton/Keaton’s Caped Crusader. With the right story, it could also introduce a worthy successor for a new series. —Anthony Breznican
The Punisher star has the gravitas and the wounded, damaged angle down to a T for Bruce Wayne. Plus, he’s already in superhero shape. —Maureen Lee Lenker
Jackman is a multidimensional actor who has successfully depicted superheroes in the past. He’s incredibly talented, charitable, and ethical. I think Batman needs an A1-caliber actor to play him. He’s also into, like, meditation. —Tara Reid
He’s a great actor, but more than that, Adam Driver has the weird indie moodiness that somehow fits perfectly with “weird billionaire who dresses up to fight crime.” Plus: He’s a former Marine. —Dana Schwartz
When does this officer get his own ship? —Katie Hasty
Regal, charmed, formidable, a little broken. We’re never going to get the sequel to The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which is half of the proof of concept you need for eye-popping action-adventure (and stunning costumes) — plus Hammer was ready to fill the boots in George Miller’s lost Justice League film. —KH
To quote Modern Family, “Meryl Streep could play Batman and it would be the right choice.” She’s a chameleon capable of playing literally any accent or physicality. Give her this challenge — and isn’t it time we had a big-screen Batwoman? —MLL