Batman is dead, long live Batman.
On Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday night, actor Ben Affleck apparently retired from his role as Batman in the DC feature films, and Kimmel hosted a retirement ceremony for the role.
"I tried to direct a version of it, and worked with a really good screenwriter, but just couldn't come up with a version of (it), couldn't crack it," said Affleck, speaking of the 2021 feature titled The Batman and directed by Matt Reeves. "And so I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it. They've got some really good people, so."
Kimmel sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez came out dressed as Robin, carrying a Batman cape and cowl emblazoned with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's No. 12 for Affleck's Boston fandom. The Batman outfit was hung in the rafters like a retired sports jersey. Kimmel joked that it was replacing "the sparkly thong that (Affleck pal) Matt Damon wore when he played Liberace's boyfriend in (the 2013 HBO movie) Behind the Candelabra."
The ceremony was humorous, but the news is real. On Jan. 30, Affleck tweeted a message of support for the film and its director, writing, "Excited for The Batman in Summer 2021 and to see Matt Reeves' vision come to life."
Affleck had played Batman since 2016, starring as the hero in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, plus making an appearance as the character in Suicide Squad.
According to Deadline, the role will be recast with a younger actor. The Batman is set to open June 25, 2021.