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Surprising Move: Ben Affleck Is Next Batman

Will star alongside Henry Cavill in Batman, Superman pairing

Adam West. Michael Keaton. Val Kilmer. George Clooney. Christian Bale. And Ben Affleck?

And thus that is how the Batman world is playing out as Warner Bros. Pictures and director Zack Snyder have decided to cast the Oscar-winning writer and producer to take on the Dark Knight, replacing not only Bale as the current Batman, but also announcing a character reboot.

The project, tentatively called “Batman vs. Superman,” will be the first time these two characters have been brought together on the big screen. And unlike Batman, Warner Bros. will keep continuity with Superman, continuing forward with “Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill.

Snyder directed “Man of Steel” and helped resurrect what was thought to be a dead Superman franchise, earning more than $650 million worldwide. And instead of having Superman visit Batman in his world, it looks to be the other way around, as other stars from “Man of Steel” will also be a part of this new project, including Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular superheroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill and then some,” said Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production for Warner Bros., in a release. “His outstanding career is a testament to his talent, and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”

Rebooting Batman for this film is already proving controversial among fans. Many in the Twitter universe expressed shock and even ridicule about the casting. But other fans have pointed out that there was a tremendous amount of backlash on Heath Ledger being cast as the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” only to win a posthumous Oscar for his efforts.

Yet, it’s not clear why Warner Bros. is wanting to wipe the slate clean of its Batman franchise, which in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy has generated box office returns of $2.4 billion worldwide.

Snyder, however, says the idea comes from the fact that he wanted to find the right chemistry with Cavill.

“Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman,” Snyder said. “He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent, and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne.”

This would not be the first time Affleck has played a superhero. He played the title role in “Daredevil” in 2003, but did not impress. That film was written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, and was universally panned by critics.

One highlight is that David S. Goyer — who was behind both the Dark Knight trilogy and this year’s “Man of Steel,” is also writing this new film.

Either way, production is expected to begin next year, set for a July 2015 release.

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