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If Affleck's out, who can play Batman? Here are our top picks

Who can fill the bat mask next?

If Affleck's out, who can play Batman? Here are our top picks
31 January 2019

Ben Affleck is leaving the Batsuit behind.

Shame really, because Affleck wasn’t a bad Batman, he was simply a casualty of a couple of sub-par movies and a turbulent private life. Either way, the upcoming Matt Reeves-directed The Batman will be an Affleck-free zone.

So who then? Who is to step up to the plate? Which brave soul shall take up the mantle of one of Hollywood’s most revered action roles? Well, I’VE GOT A FEW IDEAS:

See our list of Best Batman Graphic Novels

Jake Gyllenhaal

According to the strongest reports, old Jakey Boy over here is the front-runner to play Batman, seeing as according to ye olde grapevine, Matt Reeves himself has been chatting to him about it. Jake’s a good fit, too - he’s got the acting chops to be all brooding and sombre (Donnie Darko) and also the action nous to not look like a wetty in a fight (Prince of Persia). Also he’s all good looking and stuff, and Batman’s good looking, isn’t he? Sexman, more like.

Joaquin Phoenix

Here’s another good choice that’s currently on everyone’s lips - mainly because Gary Oldman revealed that he’d be his personal choice to play the caped crusader. Phoenix isn’t exactly well-versed in action, but his latest flick You Were Never Really Here has him doing the old vigilante thing to great effect, so maybe he’d surprise us. Might have to trim that massive beard off though, Batman’s chin is as smooth as a ladybird’s back.

Chris Pine

What about good old Chris Pine? He’s taken on the challenge of beloved hero characters before (Kirk) and impressed, and he’s done a hefty bit of running, jumping and punching in numerous films throughout his career. Also, and this would be nice, he’s got a deft hand with that thing they call ‘comedy’ - maybe it’s time we lightened up Brucey just a tad?

Keanu Reeves

The more and more I think about it, the more I’m coming round to the fact that I think Keanu Reeves might be one of my favourite people on the whole planet. Just a great dude, who’s in great films. He can fight extremely well and he’s amazing at looking sad, perhaps even to a greater extent than Affleck. Also, he could save money on casting by playing the young Bruce Wayne in any flashbacks, because he doesn’t age and could just as easily play a ten year old boy as a 50-year-old Batman. And anything in between.

Or to look at this choice another way: can you imagine John Wick but in a big bat costume? I can, and let me assure you: it’s making my chair vibrate.

Jason Statham

I mean, I think you’re a compost heap if you don’t think Jason Statham would be good at Batman.

Wesley Snipes

Snipes played the best Marvel character of all time, Blade, so why can’t he play arguably (the Blade statement was not up for argument, fyi) the best DC character of all time? He’s been away for a bit, Mr. Snipes, and his mooted big return to action in The Expendables 3, was your uncle’s moist handkerchief. Give him a proper starring vehicle again - get him in the suit and let him put sunglasses over the mask if he wants to. He’s Wesley Snipes for god’s sake!

Josh Brolin

Josh, the Joshster, Joshua Tree, Bish Bash Josh, I’ll tell you what - he’s one of the most underrated actors out there. Think about any time you’ve seen him in anything - doesn’t disappoint, does he? And now that he’s a dab hand at comic book stuff (he’s played two separate Marvel characters this year: Cable in Deadpool 2 and Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War) he’s more than qualified to slide his butt into the famous suit. And jumping from Marvel to DC is literally what Ben Affleck did, so no issues there.

Donnie Yen

Donnie Yen is only just really making a mark in Hollywood, despite the fact that he’s been the reigning king of Hong Kong action for absolutely ages now. So why can’t he - hot off the heels of being the best thing in Rogue One and the best thing in xXx: Return of Xander Cage - be the best thing in The Batman, by being the actual Batman? He’s got the age right, he’s played legendary, expectation-heavy characters to great effect before (Ip Man) and he’s by far the best fighter on this list - you wouldn’t even need a stunt double. Give it to Donnie Yen, please.

Bruce Campbell

If Ben Affleck was solely hired because of the size of his chin, then why can’t Bruce Campbell get a role for the same reason? Both have big old lower jaws, and both have leading man credentials (albeit on differing scales), so know how to carry a film. Campbell is a perfect fit, and he’s been in three Spider-Man films, too, so, umm, knows what a superhero is, I guess? Erm, BIG CHIN.

Danny Trejo

Machete is one of the greatest all-time badass characters - I think we can all agree on this. So get Danny to play an old, grizzled version of Bruce Wayne, up the rating to an 18, and have him swing out of a window using some bloke’s guts as rope. I think this is the kind of thing that the audience wants, Matt Reeves, I think you should listen to me about it, Matt Reeves. More gut ropes in the next Batman film, I think, Matt. You’ll see the returns, trust me, Matt - if that is your real name.

Christian Bale, but the new, chunky version

We all know that Christian Bale is a great Batman, so bringing him back would be a no-brainer, but I say we bring him back in his current guise. I think a Batsuit but with a large belly full of pies would be a great, relatable and realistic look - a conscientious direction for the franchise to go in.

Having a fight but taking a break to double over and wheeze, one hand pressed against a Grundon bin; leaping off a building, pulling one of ten pies off his belt and eating it in two bites before he hits the ground; at least three scenes involving him scraping a stool into the kitchen and sitting on it to impatiently peer through the yellow window on his oven at the chicken and mushroom pastry within. A Batman for the people.

Fergus Beeley

Not an actor, per se, but he’s had a wealth of experience with doling out vigilante justice, so could handle the scene where he points at The Joker and screams “PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE BATMOBILE AND GET READY TO DIE” like an absolute pro.

Donald Trump

He’s a billionaire, so knows about having loads of money. Also, he’s really, really weird, and I’ll tell you what else is weird: dressing up as a bat.

Gordon Ramsay, but very low down in the suit so you can only see his forehead through the mouth hole

I think this would work very well because he’s very intimidating. The ruse might fall apart when he tries to speak or see anything, but I’m just spitballin’ here, give me a break.

An actual bat

Yeah, technically speaking this superhero would be Batbat, but we’ve all seen exactly how hard it is to catch a bat, so it’s going to be tough job for The Joker and co. to get a hold of Gotham’s saviour in this case. Like, even if they get hold of the suit, it’s gonna be full up with guano anyway, and trust me, nobody wants that in their wardrobe. You’ve got stealth, speed, the ability to see in the dark and that secret identity is safe as houses - the last thing you’d suspect is a bat. Even a billionaire one.

Just a load of jellybeans or something

I thought, for a bit of a laugh, after the legitimate suggestions, I’d just put a silly one at the end - I do like to have fun! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(Images: Rex/Getty)