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The search is on for a new Dark Knight following Ben Affleck's apparent confirmation that he is hanging up his Bat cape.


The actor effectively said as much by retweeting a story saying Matt Reeves' The Batman would be made without him. "Excited for #TheBatman in Summer 2021 and to see @MattReevesLA vision come to life," Affleck wrote.


The 46-year-old first appeared as the comic book superhero in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  He briefly reprised the role in Suicide Squad later that year before returning to the character in 2017's Justice League.


Affleck had been due to direct as well as star in "stand-alone" film The Batman, but pulled out of directing it in 2017. "It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require," he said at the time.


The actor went on to scotch rumours he was giving up the role, saying he was "so excited to be Batman". The apparent reversal of that position follows him seeking treatment for alcohol addiction last summer.


The Batman, which Cloverfield director Reeves will both write and direct, will be released on 25 June 2021. It will be preceded in cinemas by Joaquin Phoenix's upcoming Joker film, a Wonder Woman sequel and another screen outing for Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn character.


Whoever becomes the next Caped Crusader will continue a distinguished lineage that began in 1943 when Lewis Wilson became the first screen Batman.

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