The first photo of Ben Affleck as Batman has arrived.
Zack Snyder, the director of the upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel that will bring together Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, released the image on Twitter on Tuesday. In the photo, Affleck’s Batman is standing beside the newly redesigned Batmobile.
Set for release on May 6, 2016, the sequel will see Henry Cavill reprise his “Man of Steel” role as Superman, with Affleck taking over as Batman and Israeli actress Gal Gadot portraying Wonder Woman. Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor in the film, which will lead in to a planned “Justice League” movie that Snyder also will direct.
Warner Bros. has not yet confirmed which characters will appear in the “Justice League” film.
Although “Man of Steel” became one of the biggest hits of last summer, grossing more than $291 million at the North American box office, the follow-up generated controversy early on, beginning with the casting of Affleck, which was greeted with much consternation on the Internet. The hashtag #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck began trending on Twitter almost immediately after he was announced to take over the mantle from actor Christian Bale in filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City trilogy.
(Some prominent voices in the genre community expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of seeing Cavill’s Superman squaring off with Affleck’s Batman. “Avengers” filmmaker Joss Whedon, for one, tweeted: “He’s got the chops, he’s got the chin — just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe — I’m in.”)
Similarly, some fans expressed concern that Gadot, best known for her appearances in three “Fast & Furious” films, wouldn’t receive enough of the spotlight in her role as Diana Prince, given that she’s sharing time with DC Comics’ two most legendary heroes. There was further angst when it was revealed that boyish “Social Network” star Eisenberg had claimed the part of Superman’s traditionally burly, bald and middle-aged archnemesis.
In an interview with Hero Complex, Snyder spoke candidly about keeping tabs on fanboy “talk-back” and how outcry is “reassuring and frustrating at the same time.”
“There are two ways to think about it,” Snyder said. “We know the material. Unfortunately, the fans don’t know the material. So, we’re casting according to what’s happening in the script. And we’re hoping that leads to enough originality, enough perspective on what we’re doing that you get something fresh and exciting. I understand the canon. I’m not crazy. I know what these characters need from a mythological standpoint. I think Jesse is going to be an amazing Lex. Let’s not forget he was nominated for an Academy Award. It’s not like I just grabbed my friend to play the guy! This guy’s the real deal. By the way, in looking at all the talk-back, you can get all different perspectives in there too. Some people are hating to hate.”