Like any job, writing about the latest news in the world of entertainment can wear on you after long enough, so you gotta appreciate the little pearls of amusement where you can get them. Personally, watching the latest solo Batman project fall apart in slow motion has been a perverse thrill over the past couple of months: star Ben Affleck was gonna direct (maybe) the film titled The Batman, then he was definitely gonna direct it, then he backpedaled a little bit, then he requested that people stop asking him about it, then he face-planted onto the sidewalk with the costly flop Live By Night, and then look at that, he wasn’t taking the director’s chair after all. The indignities kept coming, as Warner Bros. ordered sweeping rewrites to this floundering project before landing Planet of the Apes remake maestro Matt Reeves to fill the directorial vacuum.

And if the wheels haven’t come off the cart yet, the bolts are loosening. A new rumor suggests that Affleck may cut ties with the production entirely, abdicating his position as the current reigning Bruce Wayne. On Collider’s podcast Collider Talk, insider John Campea claims to have spoken with three different unnamed sources inside Warner Bros. who all confirm that Affleck’s trying to get out of his contract. File this one under “huge if true” — losing their leading man would be a massive embarrassment for Warner Bros. and DC, possibly disrupting their production timeline for years down the line as they stall while they find a new Dark Knight. But mealy-mouthed Campea advises his listeners to take this information with “a massive, massive grain of salt” and not to “share it around, or whatever.” (Watch me, Campea.) This raises the question of why he’s disseminating information he can‘t verify, but that’s a conversation for another day.

So at this point, the report scans as little more than a “holy crap, can you imagine?” sort of situation. The total collapse of this franchise — one of the supporting pillars of DC’s cinematic universe — could have far-reaching implications. The sound you hear now may very well be the superhero bubble popping.

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