Following the critical flop that was Batman v Superman, Ben Affleck has been under a lot of pressure. Not only is he slated to appear in Suicide Squad later this year, but he's taken over directing and writing duties for the standalone Batman movie.
Considering that many fans are expecting some big shakeups throughout the DC Cinematic Universe, Affleck could end up being the unofficial vanguard for the publisher's next wave of films.
On top of all that, Affleck's Batman movie has barely entered production: work is still being done on the script, and aside from the DCU regulars, there's no crew of which to speak. There is a chance that more info will be revealed at San Diego Comic-Con next week, but as of now, the only thing that fans know for sure about the next Batman movie is that Affleck will be in it.
Of course, speculation runs wild when there's no official information to go on, and the first big rumor seems to have surfaced. According to multiple unconfirmed sources via Batman-On-Film.org, some possible storylines are currently being considered for adaptation — and it looks like the Dark Knight may be headed to one of Gotham's most iconic locations.
According to BoF.org's sources, Affleck's solo Batman film will focus heavily on Arkham Asylum, and sees the Dark Knight trapped within its walls for an indeterminate amount of time. Sadly, that's all the sources would say, and it's definitely a good idea to take this "news" with a grain of salt ... but it does bring some interesting possibilities to the table.
Arkham Asylum is one of the most infamous institutions in all of Gotham. Originally designed as a hospital for the criminally insane, it's been turned into a madhouse on more than one occasion. Newer fans may hear the name "Arkham" and think of Rocksteady's recent Batman video games, but fans of the comics will remember that the asylum played host to one of the best Dark Knight stories ever written.
A Serious House on Serious Earth saw Bruce Wayne infiltrating Arkham Asylum during the midst of an inmate-led revolt. The book was praised not just for assembling a star-studded cast of Batman's rogues gallery, but for taking a more abstract, psychological look at the Caped Crusader and his many foes. A Serious House on Serious Earth would go on to inspire a number of different works (including the first Arkham game from Rocksteady) and is widely considered to be one of the classic Batman stories.
So, what exactly does this mean for Affleck's Batman film? Considering that the DCU version of the Dark Knight is already well established, it could be a means for Warner Bros. to quickly introduce audiences to a number of Batman's biggest villains. The original story featured the likes of Two-Face, Killer Croc, the Mad Hatter and Clayface — it's possible that the studio is hoping to introduce multiple characters at once, in an effort to establish the universe without the interactions feeling forced.
Arkham is also a well-established location in the Batman mythos, regardless of genre or medium. As previously mentioned, basing a story on the asylum could be a way for Warner Bros. to ease newer fans into a story that focuses on the Dark Knight in a broader sense without completely alienating anyone. Whether or not such a strategy would be successful would depend almost entirely on execution, but it'd be easy to understand Warner Bros.' strategy if the Arkham rumors turn out to be true.
That being said, Batman v Superman hinted heavily at the idea of exploring Robin's death — more specifically, Jason Todd's death at the hands of the Joker. The Boy Wonder was dead at the beginning of Dawn of Justice, but there's always the chance that Warner Bros. and Affleck would turn the solo Batman movie into something of a prequel — or Jason Todd could return as the Red Hood, much like he did in Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Knight.
Again, there's really no telling if the Arkham rumors are true, or where Affleck will be taking his solo Batman flick. Then again, the asylum has been at the center of some of the Dark Knight's best storylines — if Warner Bros. wants to put the DCU back on track as quickly as possible, a trip to the asylum might not be such a bad idea.
There's currently no release date for Ben Affleck's solo Batman film.