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.”