As Marvel Phase 4 enters its second year it’s clear that the MCU is swiftly embracing the exploration of alternate realities. We witnessed multiple variants of Tom Hiddleston’s god of mischief in Loki, not to mention three Peter Parkers in Spider-Man: No Way Home and now next on Marvel Studios’ slate is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Benedict Cumberbatch-led sequel has completed its reshoots and it’s rumoured a whole host of nostalgic cameos will feature in the movie with names like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor X being thrown around.
The latest is that Batman star Ben Affleck has been asked by Marvel to reprise his incarnation of Daredevil, long before Charlie Cox played Matt Murdock in his Netflix show and Spider-Man: No Way Home cameo.
Back in 2003, the Pearl Harbor star was cast as the blind lawyer opposite his future wife Jennifer Garner’s Elecktra, who returned to her part in a poorly received spin-off a couple of years later.
Now that Disney own Fox, the rights of the newly rebrand 20th Century Studios’ superhero characters like Daredevil, X-Men and Fantastic Four are all for Marvel Studio’s taking. And it turns out that multiple sources have claimed that Affleck was approached to appear as his version of Murdock in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
According to comic book movie scooper Manabyte: “Marvel made an overture to Affleck and his people offering him a very, very tiny (probably less than a minute) cameo…the idea was to sort of peek into that universe and close the door on that version of the character.”
Superhero movie fans will know that Affleck is reprising his Batman in Warner Bros’ own DC multiverse epic this year, The Flash, which will also feature Michael Keaton’s Dark Knight.
Manabyte added: “Marvel wasn’t expecting him to sign on for [Doctor Strange 2] as they felt he was too loyal to Warner Brothers and he’s in The Flash, which is a similar multiverse story. I do not know if he actually declined or not, just that the overture was made in the hopes he would do it.”
Big Screen Leaks corroborated this tweeting: “For obvious reasons, I was asked to keep this a secret but Marvel did indeed reach out to Affleck for a cameo as Daredevil. They sent out preliminary contracts to his team but I’m not sure if anything came of it. And yes, this was for [Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness].”
Other scoopers like MyTimeToShineHello said, “It’s true” and Grace Randolph tweeted: “I heard this as well, like awhile back – but I don’t believe Affleck said yes as he’s pretty done with superheroes…So, good scoop true scoop.”
It’s unclear if Affleck signed on to reprise Daredevil in Doctor Strange 2, especially since the insiders didn’t sound too confident.
Aside from the star already reprising his Batman for multiverse mayhem in The Flash this year, it’s also worth noting he didn’t have a great experience playing either the Marvel or DC superhero.
Daredevil received pretty mixed review upon its release in 2003, criticising Affleck’s performance for lacking ambition. Despite cameoing as Murdock in a deleted scene of the Elektra spin-off at Garner’s request, he said he would only return for a sequel if Fox committed to darker storytelling of the character.
By 2006, the actor said: “By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero. Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn’t want to do again soon.” But despite this, he was, of course, convinced to play the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman and Justice League.
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Despite being an excellent older Bruce Wayne, the DC movies he played Batman in were critically-panned and financially disappointing at the box office.
The 49-year-old told The LA Times this month: “[Justice League] was a bad experience because of a confluence of things: my own life, my divorce, being away too much, the competing agendas and then [director] Zack [Snyder]’s personal tragedy and the reshooting. It just was the worst experience. It was awful. It was everything that I didn’t like about this. That became the moment where I said, ‘I’m not doing this anymore.’ It’s not even about, like, Justice League was so bad. Because it could have been anything.”
Nevertheless, he reprised his Caped Crusader for the epilogue of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a much better-reviewed movie than Joss Whedon’s theatrical cut, and here he is once again in The Flash. Just as Andrew Garfield was able to have closure after the not so well received Amazing Spider-Man movies in Spider-Man: No Way Home, perhaps Affleck too can redeem his Daredevil with a cameo if he has indeed chosen to sign on.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits cinemas on May 6, 2022.