Ben Affleck's possible departure from the DC universe has been one of the worst-kept secrets in Hollywood. Rumors popped up in February that Affleck was trying to get out of starring in the solo Batman feature, The Batman, and subsequent reports suggested Warner Bros. was trying to force their current star out altogether. Those goals seem to mesh almost perfectly—does anyone over there want Affleck to play Batman anymore?—but WB execs have publicly insisted they're behind their guy.
But a member of Affleck's family appears to be kicking up dust again. During an appearance on Boston sports radio station WEEI, Ben's brother Casey Affleck addressed his brother's performance as the superhero so far, as well as his future in the bat suit.
"I thought he was an okay Batman," Affleck initially joked. "No, he was great, he was great. He's a hero, so he had something to channel and work with there. But he's not going to do [The Batman] I don't think." Realizing he'd just dropped some news, Affleck quickly backtracked on the claim. "Is that breaking news? I was just kind of making that up, I don't know."
Casey Affleck's seriousness is sort of hard to gauge here. He starts off the segment by joking about his brother's performance, but appears to get a little more serious as he makes the claim about Ben dropping out of The Batman. With the obvious caveats aside—he's a fucking actor, of course he can feign emotions—Casey does a decent job of masking his intentions either way. Also worth noting is the fact that the interview took place on Ben's birthday, which means this could be some sort of screwed-up prank to hassle his brother on his born day. Nothing like a little brotherly joke and thousands of panicked texts/emails to celebrate another year of life!
Even if it's not true, this is only going to intensify the rumors and speculation surrounding The Batman. Affleck has suggested he's not totally locked in to the director role for the movie; it's fair to assume the negative reviews for most of DC's films could be weighing on him. Wonder Woman went a long way toward elevating the reputation of the fictional universe, but there's still heavy skepticism about anything else coming from it. Maybe Ben just wants to avoid that mess altogether.
"Batfleck" has been one of the few good things DC and Warner Bros. have had going for them, so hopefully this is just a dose of trolling from Casey Affleck. You can watch him discuss the rumor at the 6:00 mark of the video up top.