It’s not yet been a full week since Robert Pattinson seemingly announced his departure from the Batman franchise to move on to other projects. The actress playing his love interest, Suki Waterhouse, has since gone on Twitter to confirm the split. So what exactly happened?

Pattinson’s Exit Is No Slouch

Pattinson had been a part of the Batman franchise since its very beginning in 1989. He played the iconic crime fighter in a trio of films, with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. He then went on to play the character in The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. The actor had become a bit of a fan-favorite, mostly because of his chemistry with Anne Hathaway’s Selena Kyle (nee Crane). Fans loved how their relationship developed over the course of the films. In fact, it was one of the driving factors behind the decision to cast Hathaway in the first place. She’s also the one who recommended Pattinson for the part.

Waterhouse’s Response To The Rumors

On Tuesday, June 19, shortly before noon (UK time), London-based actress Suki Waterhouse posted a short video to Twitter. In it, she confirmed that she is no longer engaged to Robert Pattinson. Though the video was posted with the caption, “No interview. Just a quick message,” the 33-year-old actress chose to go on record about the rumors that had been swirling for the past week. She also addressed the reasons for her split with the Twilight star. She had previously been reluctant to speak about the rumors, but said that she would for the sake of her fans.

Waterhouse said:

“I have been overwhelmed with fan mail and media interest since the split announcement. It’s been incredible. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and been there for me during this time. I’m really looking forward to moving forward and focusing on my art.”

The Split Was Inevitable

“The truth is that this was an unavoidable parting, and I’m really happy that we were able to work through our issues and maintain our relationship. If anything, this experience has only strengthened our bond. We both feel very fortunate that we were able to grow as people and continue to be a part of each other’s lives. I’m very proud of the strong woman that I’ve become. I could not have done this without his support, and I’ll always be grateful for that. This was not an easy process, but it was the right decision for both of us.”

The last sentence is a clear indication that the split was indeed the correct decision. Though there had been rumors of trouble between them for some time, it was only recently that the issue came to a head. In a joint statement, the couple apologized to their fans for engaging in an action-adventure romance that was inappropriate for publicity. They also thanked their fans for their kind words and support during this time.

Why Batman?

Pattinson had been in talks to star in Batman Vs. Superman for some time, but had to decline the offer due to scheduling conflicts. He had hoped to play the superhero in a movie next year, but knew that he would have to wait until 2021 to film it. Though he was disappointed not to be able to tackle the role himself, he’s still going to play a part in the movie. He’ll be reprising his role as Batman for the tenth anniversary of the Dark Knight. It will also be the last time that he plays the character in any capacity.

What’s Next?

Though he’s no longer playing Batman, Pattinson is still very much in the spotlight thanks to his collaboration with Waterhouse. Since their split, they’ve both been under a wave of media scrutiny, with both of their personal lives and their work scrutinized by the public. What will become of the couple now that they’ve split?

The 32-year-old actor has yet to announce his next project, but fans can expect to see him in more prominent roles in the future. He’s still going to be acting, a fact that he made very clear in his statement on the Batman split. He said:

“I’m not retiring from acting, I’m just taking a break. I love acting, and I can’t wait to get back on the set and continue making movies. Until then, I’ll be focusing on my family and friends, and continuing to grow as a person.”

The Long Goodbye To Batman

The Dark Knight series finale was one of the most-watched events of all time. It wasn’t just because of its entertainment value (though there was plenty of that), but because Batman was such a cultural phenomenon. Since the character first appeared in 1939, he had developed a huge and loyal fanbase. Though the Dark Knight has never been more popular than he is today, his popularity has declined as time goes on. It’s been a slow and steady decline ever since Heath Ledger took the role in The Joker in 2008, with critics comparing his performance to that of Jack Nicholson in the original. In the decade since Ledger’s Joker, fans have seen their hero grow old and weak, with more and more of his iconic suits being produced by importers and sellers on the black market. Though it’s still a huge hit, the Dark Knight has become a shell of his former self, with the passing of the years taking their toll. This is likely the main reason why this year’s Batman will be his last.