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Affleck’s Lost Batman Movie Had A Martial Arts First For The Dark Knight

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Affleck’s Lost Batman Movie Had A Martial Arts First For The Dark Knight

Ben Affleck’s unrealized Batman movie continues to greatly interest DC fans, and a recent storyboard reveal shows the role martial arts played in it.

Ben Affleck’s unrealized Batman movie had a martial arts element that was to be a big first for the Dark Knight. Affleck’s performance as a darker, hardened Batman was beset with numerous behind-the-scenes issues that would lead to Affleck departing the role, with Robert Pattinson succeeding him in Matt Reeves’ unconnected The Batman. Affleck would later return to film additional scenes for Zack Snyder’s Justice League and signed on for The Flashwhile a picture of what his Batman movie was going to be has gradually taken shape over the years.

A recently released image of Deathstroke by artist Jay Oliva shows Slade Wilson (to have been portrayed by Joe Manganiello) wielding his sword against Batman, whose face is seen reflected in the blade. Oliva’s image, by placing Slade’s so prominently in it, draws attention to the role that both his and Bruce Wayne’s skills as martial artists were meant to play in Ben Affleck’s unproduced Batman movie. The image also shows that, by having a swordsman villain like Deathstroke, Affleck was bringing swordplay into a Batman movie in a way that has never been done before.

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RELATED: How Affleck’s Movie Would’ve Been Different From Pattinson’s The Batman

With Batman’s extensive martial arts training, various comic book stories and animated shows and films have occasionally depicted him fighting opponents with swords and, from time to time, even using one himself. Tim Burton’s Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins both brought swords into the equation, but they did so in a relatively brief and compartmentalized way. By having Deathstroke as the main villain of his Batman film, Affleck was preparing to pit Bruce Wayne against an opponent with a sword to an extent that was cinematically unprecedented.


Deathstroke concept art

In that respect, the upgrade Batman’s suit was to undergo made a lot of sense for fighting Slade Wilson. Artist Keith Christensen has released concept art of Affleck’s Batsuit intended for the film, showing it to be both heavily armored and flexible enough for the wearer to be very agile inside of it. Going up against Deathstroke, Batman was going to need both on his side in order to match Slade’s extensive combat skills, as well as to deflect strikes from his sword.

Joe Manganiello has spoken quite openly about Affleck’s Batman movie, likening it to David Fincher’s The Game and describing Slade as having a deep bloodlust against Batman. What Oliva’s image reinforces is that one of the film’s major goals was making Batman’s confrontation with Deathstroke into a superhero showdown to remember. Affleck’s Batman movie would also be following on the fresh memory of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and acting as a spin-off from Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The former notably included Batman’s warehouse fight reminiscent of The Raid movies. With Affleck’s Batman movie following on such high Caped Crusader warrior standards, Oliva’s image makes undeniable that Affleck was eager to match and even outdo that Batman battle by adding in sword combat from Slade.


The Deathstroke artwork has obviously galvanized ongoing interest in Affleck’s lost Batman film, but there’s a lot more going on within the image itself. Oliva’s reveal of the Deathstoke image has also shown that Slade was planned to be an enemy with a blade to challenge the Dark Knight’s fighting skills in Affleck’s very standalone Batman story. While this would likely astonish DC fans and general audiences, it seems martial arts movie lovers may well have been the most amazed of all by Ben Affleck’s Batman movie.

NEXT: How Batman’s Story Ended In Snyder’s Original Justice League 2 & 3 Plan



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