Warner Brothers dropped a bomb on the comic book movie world tonight: Ben Affleck, two time Academy Award winner and star of comic adaptation film Daredevil, has been cast as Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, Superman vs. Batman.
Superman vs Batman was originally announced at this year’s San Diego Comic Con in July, much to the surprise of the entire world. It was one of few films to receive a standing ovation from the notoriously fickle Hall H crowd at the convention, and the internet buzz was massive.
Affleck is a curious and unexpected decision to follow in the footsteps of Christian Bale, a fan favorite for the role of Batman, who just wrapped up his own Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight. Director Zack Snyder, who directed Man of Steel, is back to direct the follow-up.
Commenting on the casting decision, Warner Brothers President of Creative Development Greg Silverman said:
“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. 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.”
Fans weren’t the only ones shocked by the decision — dozens of celebrities weighed in on Twitter with opinions ranging from shocked to saddened:
Affleck is going to kill this. Mark my words. As a huge fan of Bale, I completely think this is a genius new way to take it.
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 23, 2013
Warner Brothers also announced that the film will release on July 17th, 2015.