Avid followers of DC’s live-action projects reacted with mixed feelings to the news that Ben Affleck – after two movies in the role – will no longer be portraying Bruce Wayne/Batman in the DCEU movies going forward. Despite the fact that his initial casting was met with some indignation (to put it lightly), he did quite an admirable job of playing the caped crusader in both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
However, that time has passed and now we’ve got a new Batman movie to look forward to in the not so distant future, helmed by Matt Reeves, who previously directed both Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes. Recent reports suggest that Reeves is looking at actors that can pass for being a character in his late twenties to early thirties, who will portray the Dark Knight in a film that won’t be an origin story.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at a few candidates that could play the Batman:
Jake Gyllenhaal was apparently one of the choices alongside Ben Affleck before Affleck was eventually cast in the role, and rumours seem to suggest that he’s still in consideration. In a lot of ways, he’s the ideal choice – he looks the part by and large, he has a laundry list of exceptionally good movies, and a history of playing complex and conflicted characters. He would definitely be able to pull off the nuance of Bruce Wayne’s characterisation, and would likely transition to wearing the iconic bat-eared cowl admirably, too. One snag is that he’s portraying Mysterio in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home – which may contractually prevent him from joining other comic book projects for some period. Lately, though, a few actors of hopped over from DC to Marvel, so that shouldn’t be a huge obstacle for Gyllenhaal, granting his contract allows him to do so.
Scott Eastwood had a minor role in the Suicide Squad movie, and many theorised that he was actually supposed to be Dick Grayson’s version of Nightwing in the movie. Whether or not that was part of a bigger plan, we won’t know. However, he does have the general appearance and action credentials necessary to make a convincing Batman, and if the rumours are to be believed that this Batman will be experienced but not old, Eastwood can probably be considered to be a relatively good option.
Series fanatics will probably recognise Richard Madden as being the star of the BBC drama The Bodyguard, which has been receiving quite a lot of praise, with his work on the show receiving some particular recognition. There are parallels between his character on The Bodyguard and a Batman-esque character, and given the fact that he’s also dabbled in some large scale action in his stint on Game of Thrones, he’s in that sweet-spot of having a good track record without being a household name yet, not unlike that of Christian Bale before he was cast in Batman Begins. He doesn’t quite look like a dead-ringer for Bruce Wayne, but it wouldn’t be the first time a left-field choice was cast in the role, and besides, sometimes a lesser-known actor means there’s a larger focus on the character instead of the person playing him.
This is probably a name very few will be familiar with, but big-time DC fans have scoured popular media and identified everyone even vaguely capable of pulling off the role as the Bat and Jackson-Cohen’s name has come up a few times. He’s been playing the part of Luke Crain on Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, but his acting ability is only part of why he would make sense. The first thing that makes him viable is that he’s 32 and looks like a younger iteration of Bruce Wayne, but not a rookie. Secondly, he’s got the frame for the role – he’s 1.9m tall and significantly resembles several comic book renditions of Batman, so fitting him in a convincing costume and action-sequences wouldn’t require that much imagination.
Without getting some more information about the script and what direction Matt Reeves intends to take with the story, it’s difficult to guess what kind of character they’re going for, and therefore who they’ll cast. But, with what we know so far, there are a number of potential options.