If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the Man of Steel and the DC Cinematic Universe then you’ve probably already heard the rumors coming out of the Latino Review. If you haven’t I encourage you to check out Kenna’s article before reading too much here.
So here’s your picture: Superman (Henry Cavill) flies back down to Metropolis after saving the day in Man of Steel. He returns to his run-down apartment, flicks on the lights, and sees a patient (non-dead) Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) waiting for him. Wayne tells Clark that he’s putting together a team that will be ready to protect the Earth should the need arise. Cut to black.
If the folks over at Latino Review are right, this could be the end of June’s big Superman movie. Bale, reprising the role of Batman, alongside Cavill’s Superman would mean instant big bucks at the box-office. So the question arises—should this be done and if so, how?
Well fans everywhere have already made up their minds regarding whether or not Nolan’s Batman should play a role in DC’s Justice League. Those in favor would love to see Nolan’s realistic Dark Knight playing with the heavy hitters. Those opposed tend to worry about shattering the Nolan/Bale Trilogy. Can the realistic Batman of the Nolanverse compare with the larger-than-life Superman and Wonder Woman on the big screen? I believe it could be done (and that it could be done well) in one of three ways:
Reboot with Bale
Probably my least-favorite and the least-likely option would be a Bale-Bat Reboot. How does Warner Brothers protect the aging goldmine that is Bale’s Batman? It could be a simple reset. This would give writers the chance to make the character more powerful and comic book-y without changing the nature of Nolan’s Trilogy or losing the marketing power that is Bale. The downside would be the confusion felt by viewers the world over. I can see the “But what happened with the Bane and Joker stuff? Isn’t that the same Batman?” coming already. Not to mention the uproar from fans that would inevitably result. These issues make this option fairly unviable.
Return from Retirement (Again)
It’s been done before! It can happen again! Set after The Dark Knight Rises, an aging Bruce Wayne could theoretically look at the events of Man of Steel in terror and realize that a return is necessary once again. Opponents of this option are quick to question Batman’s age. He had a hard enough time returning once in the Dark Knight Rises. Now we’re asking him to do it again? The answer here lies in Batman’s cinematic age. Wayne, born in 1975, could be as young as 40 when 2015 rolls around. That isn’t too bad. When Wayne comes out of retirement in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, he’s 55 years old and can still hold his own. The only real downside to this approach would be the huge difference in power levels between Batman and the rest of the League.
Put Batman Behind the Scenes
This is arguably the best all-around option for Bale’s alleged return as Batman. This option would leave Bale as the Bruce Wayne from the Nolanverse without forcing him all the way out of retirement. He could be the main force behind the formation of the team, the tech expert back at headquarters, or both. With this, Warner Brothers could keep Bale (and his marketing power) as the “Batman” while also accounting for the power difference that isn’t solved for in the Return from Retirement option. The only downside to this option would be the tradition upset: you can’t have a Justice League without a fighting Batman.
So is there a solution that could combine these three options into an unstoppable plan? For the final option and my personal favorite, we must delve into pure, unadulterated speculation, but when rumor and news only take you so far, what else can a curious fan to do? Without further ado I present the tag team combo.
The Tag Team Combo
So Bale has made his great return as a behind-the-scenes Batman. He has come as far out of retirement as he dares, but we need an actually fighting Bat in the Justice League. This Justice League Batman has to be able to contend with the other members of the League like an older Wayne never could. So Wayne takes up a protégé to follow in his steps, someone that he can train for years if need be. This new Batman is none other than John “Robin” Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
The end of The Dark Knight Rises heavily alluded to the idea of Blake taking up the mantle of the Batman. A mentor-protégé relationship like this already exists in Batman Beyond and Warner Brothers could satisfy some of the anti-Blake naysayers if Blake was said to be trained by Wayne. This option allows WB to keep Bale on as Bruce Wayne, to reboot a more believable Justice League Batman, and to keep said Batman fighting alongside Superman and Wonder Woman.
So that’s my big theory/fantasy for the DC Cinematic Universe. What’re yours? Leave a comment to let us know below.
In the coming months and years we will see an upheaval in the DC Cinematic Universe and the role of Batman in it. We at Capeless Crusader will be right here with you, riding it out.