Credit: Salon
Superman - Batman Movie Logo
Superman - Batman Movie Logo
Credit: Warner Bros

Warner Bros. announced Thursday evening Ben Affleck will star as an “entirely new incarnation” of Bruce Wayne/Batman opposite Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent/Superman in Zack Snyder’s untitled Batman/Superman team-up Man of Steel sequel .

Warner Bros. announced the film will open worldwide on July 17, 2015.

Man of Steel has earned more than $650 million at the global box office to date. The studio announced Snyder “will now create an original vision of Batman and his world for the film that brings the two DC Comics icons.”

As announced last month at Comic-Con, the film will also reunite Man of Steel stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

“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,” remarked Warner Bros.’ Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production in a press release. “His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”

Credit: DC Comics

“Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman,” added Snyder in the announcement. “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. I can’t wait to work with him.”

The Man of Steel sequel will be scripted by David S. Goyer from a story he co-created with Snyder.

Production is expected to begin in 2014.

Speculation will now no doubt return full-force to the future of a Justice League film after this Batman/Superman team-up. With a Flash movie also on the way (as well as an appearance on the TV show Arrow and a spin-off in the works), a Justice League film looks to have more traction than ever before. About a year ago at this time, Affleck was rumored to be Warner's first choice to direct that film (rumors he refuted .) With Affleck now on-board as the studio's new Batman, speculation will almost certainly be refueled about the acclaimed director/actor perhaps pulling double duty as Justice League star and director.

[Check out our countdown of 10 Things We Want From a Justice League Movie .]

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