Christian Bale will not be in Zack Snyder's new movie about Superman and Batman. Ben Affleck will be in his place. Henry Cavill will reprise his role from "Man of Steel," but he took the spot from Brandon Routh one movie earlier. And DC is not the only property to make such changes. Mark Garafalo took the role of the Hulk from Ed Norton, even though the two movies were supposed to be in the same continuity.
What does this mean for viewers? On one hand we need to get used to an entirely different persona and take on an iconic character, and still be expected to believe that the previous movies took place in the same timeline. This can be daunting. It will be hard to look back at "The Dark Knight Rises" and feel that it's the same Batman as Ben Affleck's.
Perhaps we should look at each movie as a separate entity, each with the tools needed for a different expression of the ionic characters. Doubtless, Zack Snyder has his "exciting new take" on the Batman character, and it might even be very good. But it won't be the same, and the movies shouldn't be sold with implied continuity. It is easy to pretend that the Ed Norton Hulk didn't exist while watching "The Avengers," and it will be just easy to pretend that Christian Bale's gravelly voice never happened in the upcoming Superman and Batman film.
But it would all be a lot easier to enjoy if the movies didn't want us to believe in the continuity while experiencing an entirely new take on each character.