The Big Question: Who Should Play Batman?

Every actor here would be a great replacement for Ben Affleck

Batman V Superman

Ever since Deadline broke the news that Ben Affleck had hung up the cape, we’ve all been wondering who’ll replace him in The Batman. According to the bookmakers, Jake Gyllenhaal is the favorite to land the role in Matt Reeves’ upcoming standalone movie. Kit Harington, Jon Hamm, and Richard Madden are also said to be in the running. We can picture all of them saving Gotham from peril. Heck, if we were betting folk, maybe we’d even listen to the bookmakers.

Of course, where’s the fun in trusting the opinion of gambling experts? When the Batman role is up for grabs, the most exciting possibilities are the actors we come up with, in our own minds. A few of us here at Film School Rejects HQ have been debating who we’d like to see get the part, and these are the results we came up with. As you’ll see, it’s a nice mix of talent who could each add an interesting spin to the character should they ever receive the honor.

Orlando Bloom

Our Orlando’s two star-making roles were Legolas, an exposition machine, and Will Turner, a pirate. Exposition machine would mesh well with the World’s Greatest Detective, who explains everybody’s plots, and Batman may not be a pirate, but a vigilante has about the same relationship with the law. I also think a distinctly British Batman could mix things up from the anti-smoking ad PSA voice.

Batman’s intellect is often downplayed in these movies, because mysteries are boring and MARTHA. I’d love to see more detective work and a little less face punch from our dear Brucie in what will be his seventh live-action incarnation, and Orlando’s gorgeous face gives us no excuse to cover it with a mask for half a movie’s run-time. (Hans Qu)

Robert Pattinson

Pattinson’s shown his chops the last few years, with Good Time and The Lost City Of Z demonstrating what a younger, in-training Bruce Wayne might look like in his hands, psychological baggage and all. His role opposite Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse, Robert Egger’s upcoming follow-up to The Witch, will likely sway the naysayers. And the man looks good in a tux. (M.G. McIntyre)

Idris Elba

The Batman role requires an actor of certain characteristics. First, they need to be suave for the moments where he’s playing a charming billionaire who no one would ever expect to be Batman in a million years. Second, when it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty as Gotham’s knight, you need an actor who can play an ass-kicking, brooding superhero. Elba fits the criteria in those regards.

With the new movie being more focused on the detective, I can’t think of any actors who’d be better than Elba. Luther is one of the best detective shows out there, and Elba even compared his character to Batman, albeit without the costume. Donning a Bat-suit and getting to play with some fancy gadgets would merely be an enhanced version of a similar idea.

Elba is cool, he’s a badass, and he’d knock this role out of the park. The internet has wanted Elba to save Gotham for years because lots of people know what’s up. DC should at least consider the suggestion. (Kieran Fisher)

Henry Golding

Bruce Wayne is one suave, handsome dude. That’s Henry Golding. There is no question that he could be the mask that Batman wears before the sun sets on Gotham City and the alleys fill with child killing thugs. Don’t come @ me; you already know it to be true. A quick watch of A Simple Favor or Crazy Rich Asians reveals an actor capable of placing our swooning, puddled selves into the palm of his hand. His smile reduces the sternest of grim personalities, and we all become puppies traipsing at his side, transforming into whatever distraction he needs us to be.

That Golding charm hides a danger as well. Throw a cowl over his head, and the glistening smile fades away. As we witnessed the plot of A Simple Favor unravel, the too-good-to-be-true gleam faded, and there was a beast. Tight-lipped, furrowed brow – there is a maniac in Golding itching to snap. The Batman lives beneath a perfectly chiseled playboy; it is a monster of grief constructed over decades of devout exercise and an all-consuming mental thickening. He’s a self-made creature of vengeance.

Golding would pull off a majestic and rather terrifying transformation from Bruce Wayne to Batman. Fanboy eyes may be inclined to roll, but imagine the cut between Golding glisten to Golding grizzle. Give him a rogue’s gallery unlike any other we’ve seen from the previous films, and Reeves suddenly has a brave and bold new Dark Knight Detective. Forget The Joker, Catwoman, Scarecrow and The Penguin. Give Golding Clayface, The Mad Hatter, Man-Bat, and Mr. Zsasz. Absorb the confidence of Marvel Studios, and revel in the wildest and most grotesque corners of the Bat-comics. These beasts will highlight what a mad, mad, mad world The Batman operates within. (Brad Gullickson)

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