Here are 11 actors who could do it. And not one of them is named Martha.
Ben Affleck has officially hung up the cape and cowl and will not reprise his role as the Caped Crusader in writer-director Matt Reeves’ reboot, The Batman, which opens June 2021.
Reeves is reportedly looking for an actor in his 20s — in his 30s at the oldest — to play his Bruce Wayne so that officially closes the door on Zack Snyder and Affleck’s middle-aged, Frank Miller-esque incarnation of the DC Comics superhero.
As a result, a lot of actors who have either been campaigning for the role or have been floated for it — we’re looking at you, Jon Hamm — aren’t going to be included in our picks for actors who could conceivably don the cowl for Matt Reeves.
And let’s just nip this in the bud here: No, we didn’t include Jake Gyllenhaal. He stars as Mysterio in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home — yes, we have had plenty of actors appear in multiple comic book franchises of late, but Gyllenhaal is a “serious” actor who’s already shot down playing Batman for Reeves when asked about the rumors. He’s a great actor and would make for a fine Batman, but we suspect he’s scratched his comic book itch with his upcoming MCU gig.
And while we’ve offered up diverse casting picks in the past — such as our casting call for The Witcher, before Henry Cavill won the role — Bruce Wayne is the epitome of white privilege, a billionaire WASP who lives in a Georgian mansion in the northeast whose family helped found Gotham City back when America was still a British colony.
As Marc Bernardin put it in his column for THR, “Bruce Wayne has to come from old money because he has to feel the generational guilt that comes with being a Wayne. So that when his parents are murdered on the streets of Gotham, the mania that grips a child is informed by those lessons from parents who chose to be better. To save lives. Bruce Wayne has to be white because that kind of legacy and wealth don’t exist in the African-American community. (Yet.) For that character to be true to who he is, he can’t be anything else.”
Here then are some talented actors in the age range Reeves is reportedly looking for in his incarnation of Batman. These are just suggestions, Bat-fans, so take them as just that and let us know your picks in the comments!
The man who was already cast as Batman (in George Miller’s aborted Justice League film) could be Batman again. The Internet certainly seems to be campaigning for him. He’s handsome, 33 years-old, 6’5″ tall, and a real-life billionaire heir. He’s basically Hollywood’s answer to Bruce Wayne already so they may as well make it official. Of course, Hammer’s been a bit of a box office curse (star of the two big bombs The Lone Ranger and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) so perhaps that hurts his chances.
Yes, he’s already young Beast in the X-Men movies but those are poised to come to an end with Disney’s acquisition of Fox. Hoult is the right age (29 as of this writing), tall (6’1″), has the right look, and acting chops for playing both Bruce Wayne and Batman. He convinced as a brainy superhero in the X-Men films, made for a suitably snobby and powerful member of high society in The Favourite, surprised as the crazed but sympathetic Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road, and was an amiable, offbeat leading man in Warm Bodies. Heck, he even killed it as a kid actor in About a Boy.
The oft-rumored “Next James Bond” contender and Poldark and Hobbit star has the right look and brooding gravitas for Bruce Wayne. But at 35, he might be just that bit too old for an earlier career-era Dark Knight. We shall see.
The former Game of Thrones star is winning accolades for his turn in Netflix’s Bodyguard, which, as many have observed, seems to be his extended audition tape for landing the role of James Bond in the future. But, like Henry Cavill before him, we suspect the Scottish-born Madden, 32, has a better shot at landing a DC superhero role than he does 007 at this point. At 5’10”, Madden is on the shorter side for Batman, but then so was Michael Keaton.
The former TRON: Legacy star was up for the role of Captain America but reportedly didn’t want to screen-test for it. Perhaps he’d be more amenable to both screen-testing and superhero films this many years later. Hedlund excels at brooding roles and has also shown his physical capabilities in films such as the aforementioned TRON sequel and Friday Night Lights. (He also just so happens to be starring opposite Ben Affleck in Netflix’s new action movie Triple Frontier so maybe Batfleck can put in a good word for him.)
At 36, the English-born Huston is definitely on the older side of what Reeves is probably looking for but his nuanced portrayal of the physically and emotionally scarred Richard Harrow in Boardwalk Empire suggests the depth he might be able to bring to the role of Bruce Wayne.
Black Mirror helped showcase Russell’s — the spittin’ image son of Kurt Russell — acting, while the recent and criminally underappreciated monster movie Overlord illustrated what sort of action hero he could be. He’s got the right jaw for Batman, and he could definitely play Bruce Wayne’s playboy persona as a sort of spoiled dude bro. (Yes, he’d need a shave and a haircut, too.) But could we buy him as the world’s greatest detective? That’s the biggest question.
Best known around the internet as swashbuckling Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser on Starz’s Outlander, Heughan is overdue for a big screen breakout. He proved he can pull off Bruce Wayne’s suave playboy charm when he played a charismatic undercover agent in Lionsgate’s The Spy Who Dumped Me last year, and at a brawny 6’3”, he certainly has the physicality for the role – but at 38, he could be out of Reeves’ age range. (Fun fact: Heughan is perhaps more qualified than most – he already portrayed the Caped Crusader in the Batman Live stage show that toured the world in 2011 and 2012.)
Like Hammer, Hunnam previously headlined a Warner Bros. flop (2017’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), so perhaps the studio would be hesitant to hand him the cowl and cape – but with his brooding, brutal performance in Sons of Anarchy, the 38-year-old Brit definitely has the depth to tackle the Dark Knight, if Reeves doesn’t skew younger.
A crossover from the X-Men universe to Gotham City? Sure, why not! The 36-year-old star of Legion has proven his versatility with turns in everything from that X-show to Downton Abbey to Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast (where he played the titular prince-turned-monster) and right on down to his notable and excellent work as an audio book narrator. (Give his Frankenstein a listen; it’s terrific.) At 6’ tall, he’s on the thin side for Bats; he’d certainly need to hit the gym to achieve those Bruce Wayne abs. But then again, that’s par for the course when you get this kind of gig.
The 34-year-old Ritchson already has the DC superhero street cred, having played Aquaman a few times on Smallville back in the day, but also more recently appearing as Hawk in the live-action Titans series on DC Universe. That’s the role where Ritchson really wowed us with his acting chops, depicting a troubled if unimaginably square-jawed hero whose no-powers but hard-hitting approach is textbook Batman. He’s also physically perfect for the part, though DC’s tendency to shy away from their TV actors when casting for the big screen is a clear disadvantage for Ritchson.
Those were our suggestions for who could play the new (and younger) Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Let us know who your dream choice is for the role in the comments!