When Warner Bros. and DC announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman for the character's latest cinematic reboot, the cries of fanboy dismay could be heard from all corners of the globe.
That prickly Boston bro as the Dark Knight?! cried many of the same people who bitched about Heath Ledger being cast as the Joker, then later conceded it was the perfect choice.
It was impossible to imagine.
At the time, Affleck had already establised himself as a director of note, but for many, his acting still left something to be desired, and handing him the reins to one of the most iconic characters in all of pop culture just felt wrong.
Then Zac Snyder's Batman vs. Superman was released and the nay-saying social media trolls were ... totally proven right for once.
The movie was not good, and Affleck was not good in it.
Sure, the film gave us the Sad Affleck meme and made a boatload of money for the studio, but it failed to generate the sort of critical buzz that successful, long-lasting franchises are built on.
The original plan was for Affleck to follow up BvS by writing, directing and starring in a standalone Batman flick, like some kind of black molded rubber-clad Orson Welles, which is a hilarious image that we suggest you pause and reflect on.
But now, it seems DC and Warners have abruptly changed course.
First, Affleck was fired as director (or he "stepped down," depending who you ask).
Shortly thereafter, the new director, Matt Reeves, tossed his script in favor of an entirely new story.
Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Affleck will be hanging up his cowl and passing the Caped Crusader on to someone new.
The outlet claims that while the studio has yet to make an announcement, it currently seems very unlikely that Affleck will star in another Batman film.
Insiders say the main issue is timing.
DC has Shazam! and Suicide Squad 2 lined up as its next projects, which means The Batman (as the flick is tentatively titled) wouldn't begin shooting until the final months of 2018 at the soonest.
And that's if Affleck is available to shoot at that time.
Ben has a full dance card of his own these days, writing and directing the upcoming Agatha Christie adaptation Witness For the Prosecution and starring in a sequel to The Accountant, which is somehow a thing thats happening.
(To say nothing of his new relationship with Lindsay Shookus, which probably takes up a good deal of his time these days.)
All of this means that Affleck would likely be pushing 50 by the time the next Batman film hits theaters and on rare occasions, Hollywood dismisses men for their age, too.
So it looks like we've seen the last of the Batfleck.
He wasn't the hero we deserved, but he was the hero who ... eh, was fine considering the lack of better options, we guess.