Justice League Batman

Weekend Roundtable: Cast the Next Batman

Even as his gargantuan ‘Justice League’ movie hits theaters, rumors abound that Ben Affleck wants out of his contract playing Batman in future DC Comics movies. If he leaves, what currently working actor should don the cape and cowl next?

Shannon Nutt

Before DC rebooted its superhero universe with our current cast of characters, there were plans in motion for a George Miller-directed ‘Justice League’ with Armie Hammer playing the Caped Crusader. Why not give him a second chance? Hammer’s career has been wallowing since the box office failures ‘The Lone Ranger’ and ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’, so this could be a chance to revive his box office appeal with a sure-fire hit.

Luke Hickman

Assuming that WB is continuing with the “Old Man Batman,” my initial gut reaction to this topic was Michael Shannon, an underused gem of an actor who not only has the acting chops, but a perfectly withered look. However, two seconds later I remembered that he was Zod in ‘Man of Steel’, so that wouldn’t really work.

One of the best parts of the past Batman incarnations is the casting of unconventional actors. Following that tradition and, again, assuming that the movies will continue with an angry older Batman, I could see Ethan Hawke being an awesome Bruce Wayne/Batman. We’ve seen him kick ass in shootouts before, but we’ve never really seen him play a fighter, which could be fun. He’s 47-years-old and could easily look older with the same gray-hair effect Affleck used, so the age part would work out just fine. And we’ve seen him brood in countless performances in the past. I think the underutilized actor could easily pull off playing the Caped Crusader.

Tom Landy

I think it’s pretty simple, really. Warner Bros. kind of painted itself into a corner by going with an older ‘The Dark Knight Returns’-style Bruce Wayne for the DCU films, which doesn’t leave a very big window of opportunity to further develop the character. While movie magic can help with this somewhat, it can only go so far. I think if the plan is to continue expanding this universe, the studio may have to introduce a younger protégé – like Dick Grayson or maybe even Damian Wayne – to carry on the Batman legacy.

Dacre Montgomery, who plays Max’s a-hole stepbrother on ‘Stranger Things 2’, might be able to pull this off. Having said that, if I were in charge at Warner, I’d seriously contemplate pressing the reset button anyhow, as I’m not sure if the current DCU is even worth saving at this point.

M. Enois Duarte

Since we’re now living in a DC universe where an older Batman comes out of retirement to fight crime and join the Justice League, we need an actor with both the looks and the chops to be the darkly glum, morose presence that criminals fear. After considering several actors, I can imagine Jon Hamm donning the bat-suit, inventing some fantastical gadgets, striking fear in the hearts of criminals and attending super-rich, fancy parties in a tux. Hamm knows how to play the suave, intelligent gentleman while maintaining the party playboy image to deter suspicion from his nightly passions. Every once in a while, he can drop some wisecrack with a straight face.

My second choice is Karl Urban, mostly because he did such an excellent job as the brooding Judge Dredd. He deserves a shot behind the Batmobile.

Brian Hoss

I have no idea where the next Batman character lines up in terms of age or setting, but if it’s not a young Batman/Bruce Wayne, then I’d get a kick out of Tom Hardy. True, he has already played an overly-theatric, difficult to understand, and ultimately pointless Bane, but I’m sure he could put forth a much better turn as Batman.

Josh Zyber

As far as I’m concerned, the best answer to this question is that nobody should play Batman. Haven’t we had enough Batman for a while? Even in the current glut of superhero franchises, where obscure C-List characters are coming out of the woodworks to headline big tentpole movies, somehow Batman is still front-and-center and totally overexposed. I’m burned out on Batman. Let the character retire for a decade or so and then we’ll figure this out.

One exception: Will Arnett can continue making as many ‘Lego Batman’ movies as he’s game to do.

Do you have an actor in mind that you’d like to see play the Dark Knight? Give us your ideas in the Comments.


  1. NJScorpio

    I think the next Batman should be Andrew Garfield.

    He looks a great deal like the young Bruce on ‘Gotham’, so an eventual merging of the film and tv universe could work. He is young enough that he could be a part of the film franchise for a decade or so. He has the look of a young playboy, and he is a very good actor. He can be fit, but is also lean enough that a Batsuit wouldn’t look 10 feet wide like it does on Ben, and perhaps he could move in an agile manner.

    Plus, he would be the only actor who played both Spider-man and Batman.

  2. Timcharger

    Josh is in Game of Thrones withdrawal (I am too). Wanting “No One” to play Batman. But Batman would be a great assassin for the Faceless God. That would save the DCU. Intrigue + Politics + Violence. House Gotham with a bat sigil, with the house words “Night is coming.”

  3. Chris B

    Aaron-Taylor Johnson should be the next Batman. He’s young enough (27) to do a few films in the franchise and already proven he can kick ass in Kick-Ass…..he’d be kick-ass imho.

  4. photogdave

    I agree with Josh the most but I’ll play the game…

    Will Smith.

    …just kidding.

    Jayden Smith.

    …but seriously, the idea of establishing Batman’s age and era is intriguing. I like the idea of John Hamm playing Bruce Wayne set in the 1940s. Stylish, noir-ish — could be very cool.
    For a contemporary Batman I think Paul Rudd would do a great job. He can bring a hint of humour but still be dramatic and probably heroic.
    For an aging, world-weary Batman I’d have to consider Hugh Jackman after just watching Logan. ‘Nuff said!

  5. Guy

    I don’t even know, man. I’d like to see a definitive Batman portrayal by some actor, but I’ve never felt anybody that’s had the role nor anyone that could take it up match the Bruce Wayne in my mind’s eye.

    My first Batman experience as a kid was the 90s animated series. It was my favorite thing on television for years of my early life. My second exposure was going to see Batman Forever as a six year old child. I absolutely hated it then and still consider it the worst live-action Batman film. (Yes, worse than Batman & Robin.) A dynamic was created there. By the time Batman Begins rolled around, I’d begun reading Batman comics. The Nolan series contains great to mostly fine films, but Bale and his Bruce Wayne/Batman are about 19 spots down the list of things I think of when I’m thinking about that trilogy.

    For whatever reason – and it’s not this way for other superheroes I love – but it’s hard to shake my preference for lines on a page or an animation cel (or, in recent years, some video game polygons) when it comes to Batman. We’re about to get another Bruce Greenwood-voiced Batman animated film. That’s more than enough for me.

  6. Csm101

    I like the idea of John Hamm as Bruce Wayne. I’m a little burnt out on live action Batman myself, but I am curious as to what Matt Reeves is going to do with it. I kind of wish they would go with a live action Batman Beyond and they can cast Michael Keaton as a cantankerous old Bruce Wayne trying to train a new candidate to carry out his legacy. I’m also pretty happy with the animated Batman animated movies that Warner seems to put out like every six months.

  7. dbduece

    I certainly hope everyone realizes that whoever is chosen to play “Batman” will only serve to finish out the string for the remainder of the future slated Zach-ish movies (which Affleck has the good sense to remove himself from if he can’t direct it himself). Only after the last Zach- related disaster is complete will there be any real relaunch of the Dark Knight…so essentially what I’m saying is no matter who takes the mantle, his material is gonna suck regardless for the foreseeable future….

  8. A few years ago, Matthias Schoenaerts was asked if he was willing to play Batman. He kindly refused, saying it wouldn’t have been the right next step in his career. A Belgian comedian subsequently joked about this in one of his stand-ups: ‘Imagine if Batman was born in Antwerp. We could have told killer tales to bored Japanese tourists. Here’s the Grand Place where you can eat mussels, here’s a store where you can buy beer, chocolate and waffles, and, oh, yeah, here’s the house where BATMAN WAS BORN.’ He figures it could have been a boost to Belgian tourism.

  9. NJScorpio

    I gotta say though…I think a straight up Zack Snyder ‘Batman’ movie staring Ben Affleck would have been perfect. If…

    …it wasn’t trying to connect to ‘Man of Steel’.
    …it wasn’t used as a way to apologize for/fix ‘Man of Steel’ (Fans dislike seeing Superman involved in a fight that killed innocents, have Batman hold him accountable/”don’t worry, that area is abandoned, they can fight there”)
    …it wasn’t forced to connected with future films.
    …it was allowed to be a move in and of itself, completely Zack Synder’s vision.

    The problem is ‘Man of Steel’. I enjoy it, but it is a depressing as hell Superman movie, and it shows Synder should have been making a Batman movie instead. The fact that it exists both gave Synder the opportunity to work on a Batman project, but also got in the way of it being executed.

    I don’t know if it exists (I’m sure it must) but I’ve wanted to do a fan edit of BvS that is only scenes with Batman.

  10. John Burton

    WB and DC need to figure out their next move. Judging by the BO for “Justice League”, a new direction is needed. They were in such a damn fire hurry to get to this JL point, they didn’t road-map the route. Thus, we have shallow characters just kind of sleepwalking through the material. They need a person in charge, with a vision that stays close to the material, and can attract an audience. I just don’t see The Flash and Cyborg exciting the movie going crowd. You will only excite the fan boys and girls, then disappoint them with the finished product.

  11. Al


    I couldn’t agree more! Nobody is the correct and only answer! Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are excellent enough to hold us over for at least another decade, and then we can readdress this. There’s no need for anybody to play Batman, right now. None whatsoever!

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