updated 08/23/2013 AT 7:30 AM ET
•originally published 08/23/2013 AT 7:45 AM ET
As most everyone knows, billionaire Bruce Wayne has an alter ego. But as was announced late Thursday, it’s something of a surprise: Ben Affleck will play Batman in an upcoming sequel to this summer’s hit Man of Steel.
For the first time, too, the Caped Crusader will join forces with Superman, again to be played by British actor Henry Cavill, 31, in the as-yet-untitled movie to be directed by Man of Steel’s Zack Snyder.
The mash-up will begin production next year and be released July 17, 2015, reports EW.com. Man of Steel stars Amy Adams (as Lois Lane), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) and Diane Lane (Martha Kent) have also been announced to return.
“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular super heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill and then some,” Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman said in a statement.
Director Snyder said about the 41-year-old leading man (and director of this year’s Best Picture Oscar Winner, Argo), “Ben provides an interesting counterbalance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne.”
As the Hollywood Reporter noted, Jobs actor Josh Gad called the Affleck casting decision “genius!” Tweeted veteran leading man Richard Dreyfus, kiddingly: “You read for a part, you feel good about it, you feel confident, then they cast Ben Affleck.”
Among other comments, British actor Robert Kazinsky opined that Matt Damon should play the Joker, and movie critic Stephen Whitty suggested former Affleck partner and Gigli costar Jennifer Lopez claw the movie to shreds as Catwoman (“torpedo the whole thing” were his words).
But what do you have to say? Affleck as Batman, what do you think? Please tell us in the comments below. And, while you’re at it, who should play Robin?
Go for it.