5 Actors Who Could Play Batman In James Gunn’s DC Universe

in Movies & TV

Ben Affleck as Batman

Credit: DC/Warner Bros.

Well, The Flash (2023) trailer has finally arrived, and it’s shaping up to be the DC Universe’s answer to Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). But while the trailer reveals two versions of Bruce Wayne/Batman — Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck — DC Studios Co-chairman James Gunn has promised that a new actor will be taking up the mantle.

Whether or not the new actor will be revealed in the upcoming film remains to be seen, but it’s more than likely that no one has even been cast yet. Which is why we’ve decided to compile a list of potential hopefuls who we think would be very well suited to, well, being suited up in the cape, cowl, and utility belt!

Ben Affleck's Batman on the street chasing someone in The Flash trailer
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

So, who do we think should follow in the footsteps of Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and Robert Pattinson? Well, from psychotic serial killers to legendary fighter pilots, here are five possible candidates!

Related: All 7 Live-Action Jokers Ranked From Worst to Best

1. Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan as Peter Spector in The Fall
Credit: Fables Limited/Artists Studio

Jamie Dornan might be best known for portraying billionaire Christian Grey in The Fifty Shades of Grey films, but his most notable performance to date is that of deranged serial killer Peter Spector in the brilliant hit thriller series The Fall (2013).

Dornan, 40, is a force to be reckoned with as Spector, who embarks on a deadly killing spree across Belfast with the authorities — led by Gillian Anderson’s Detective Stella Gibson– hot on his tail (if his Christian Grey made you uncomfortable, you ain’t seen nothing yet!).

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan getting married in Fifty Shades Freed
Credit: Universal Studios

We’re not suggesting that all actors who go on to play Batman need to have the words “serial killer” on their acting resume (Christian Bale in American Psycho), but Dornan clearly knows how to play an intimidating character — necessary criteria for playing the caped crusader.

Watching him do parkour through the streets at night as he hunts his victims in what could easily double as an amateur Batman costume also helps paint the picture. There’s only one catch — what weird, ahem, “gizmos” would his Bruce Wayne have hidden in the Batcave?!

Related: 7 Batman Villains You Definitely Missed in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’

2. Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves in John Wick
Credit: Lionsgate

Keanu Reeves is one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood, and over the years he has played some awesome action-oriented characters, whether it’s Neo/John Anderson in The Matrix franchise, or, more recently, John Wick, in the noir-thriller films of the same name.

Many, however, forget that Reeves has already played Batman — an animated version of the character in last year’s DC League of Super-Pets (2022). Off the back of that film, Reeves said in an interview that he would love to play the character in live action one day.

Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix Reloaded
Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros./Village Roadshow/Kobal/Shutterstock

Well, we can’t make any promises, Mr. Reeves, but we have added you to our list of hopefuls (and you just never know who’s reading these days!). The Bill and Ted actor might not be the first person you think of when it comes to Bruce Wayne/Batman, but hear us out.

Reeves, 58, is no stranger to the more physical side of acting — he really throws himself into action movie roles. Whether it’s Bruce Wayne or his alter ego, we think Reeves definitely has what it takes to save Gotham. He would just need Batarangs. Lots of Batarangs.

Related: All the ‘Batman’ Movies Ranked Worst to Best

3. Will Arnett

Megan Fox and Will Arnett in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Credit: Paramount Pictures

We already know what you’re thinking — like Keanu Reeves, Will Arnett already played Batman in The Lego Batman Movie (2017), but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a shot at playing the character in a live-action setting, right?!

Arnett, 52, is best known for his work in comedy, however, his role as the caped crusader in The Lego Batman Movie was incredibly well-received, so much so that many consider him to be among the best versions of Batman, despite being made of CGI miniature bricks!

Batman and Superman in The Lego Batman Movie
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Should Arnett ever get the opportunity to play Batman in live-action, we think it’s a performance that could resonate well with fans. But the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) actor wouldn’t necessarily need to play a totally serious version of Batman.

Unlike Keanu Reeves, Arnett isn’t an action star — he’s just an everyday funny guy. But so was Michael Keaton before he responded to the Bat-Signal for the first time. And there’s nothing stopping him from getting “shredded” for the role, we love him just the way he is!

Related: 7 Actresses Who Could Play the Female Joker

4. Tom Cruise

Maverick (Tom Cruise) in the cockpit in Top Gun: Maverick
Credit: Paramount Pictures

While Tom Cruise is yet another beloved A-list actor, there are probably many readers who will roll their eyes at this entry. After all, it’s possible that he’s simply too famous to play Batman. But wasn’t Ben Affleck just as famous when he took up residency at Wayne Manor?

To say that Cruise, 60, is no stranger to action movie roles is the understatement of the century. Mission: Impossible is one of many examples, and that series alone is on the verge of its seventh installment. But he’s also an incredibly talented actor all round.

Maverick (Tom Cruise) laughing in 'Top Gun: Maverick'
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Though he’s often accused of “playing himself” in films, you only need to watch Collateral (2004) and Edge of Tomorrow (2014) — both also action films, sure — to see that Tom Cruise’s talents extend far beyond being able to perform death-defying stunts.

On that note, those stunts he’s so well known for would be a huge selling point in playing the Dark Knight. In fact, where stunts are concerned, one could easily draw parallels between the actor and Bruce Wayne himself, in that to become Batman, he must overcome fear.

Related: All Live-Action Batman Actors Ranked From Worst to Best

5. Henry Golding

Tom (Henry Golding) in Last Christmas
Credit: Universal Studios

Henry Golding is yet to become a household name, but he still has some decent films under his utility belt. The Crazy Rich Asians (2018) actor is best known for playing Tom in Last Christmas (2019), but playing Batman wouldn’t be his first rodeo in the world of action.

Golding, 36, played Snake Eyes in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (2021). While the film didn’t go on to impress critically or financially, his performance in the film proves he’s more than capable of taking up the mantle of the Dark Knight.

Tom (Henry Golding) comforting Kate (Emilia Clarke) in Last Christmas
Credit: Universal Studios

Going back to Last Christmas, the actor is also incredibly charming — a secret weapon that billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne often uses to deflect any suspicion that he’s Batman. More importantly, Golding has a very likable on-screen presence.

Needless to say, the Malaysian-British actor would also be the first non-White person to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in live action, which would undoubtedly be a refreshing and progressive step forward for the iconic DC hero.

Tom (Henry Golding) and Kate (Emilia Clarke) "looking up" in Last Christmas
Credit: Universal Studios

Related: 5 Reasons Why ‘Joker’ Is a Much Better Movie Than ‘The Batman’

We can’t end our list without some honorable mentions. Josh Brolin of Marvel fame (whether it’s Avengers: Endgame‘s Thanos or Deadpool 2‘s Cable) would make a perfect Bruce Wayne/Batman not unlike Ben Affleck’s seasoned and deeply-scarred version.

The same goes for Frank Grillo, who has flexed his muscles in action thrillers like Purge: Anarchy (2014) and Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014).

Michael Keaton as Batman in The Flash trailer
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Related: Every DCEU Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

While it’s unlikely any of these actors will become the next caped crusader, veteran Batman actors Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck will be returning in The Flash (2023) this year.

Check out the official trailer below:

The Flash releases in theaters on June 16. As per Wikipedia, here’s the synopsis for the film:

Barry Allen/The Flash travels back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, which traps him in an alternate reality without metahumans. He enlists the help of Batman and the Kryptonian castaway Supergirl from alternate realities in order to save this world from the restored General Zod and return to his universe.

The Flash stars Ezra Miller (Barry Allen/The Flash), Sasha Calle (Kara Zor-El/Supergirl), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Ron Livingston (Henry Allen), Michael Keaton (Bruce Wayne/Batman), and Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman).

Robert Pattinson’s version of Batman will also be returning in the sequel to Matt Reeves’ The Batman (TBA).

Who do you think should play the new Batman? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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