As we all know, Ben Affleck will be the latest actor to play Batman on the big screen in 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, set in Warner Bros. and DC’s Extended Universe, established by their 2013 Superman reboot Man of Steel. Rather than re-hash Batman’s origins and formative years, Affleck’s Dark Knight will be “tired, weary and seasoned” as he squares off against the still relatively young and inexperienced Man of Steel (Henry Cavill), who must be held accountable for the destruction wrought in his initial solo outing.
Batman V Superman marks the first time that a cinematic Dark Knight will be officially part of a film universe that includes the Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash. As exciting as these upcoming adventures are for long-time DC fans who waited half a decade for DC to catch up with Marvel and establish their own interconnected movie-verse, we essentially owe it all to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Those movies rehabilitated Batman after the campy disaster called Batman & Robin — which even star George Clooney keeps apologizing for.
But what if the Nolan trilogy had not concluded with 2012’s somewhat polarizing The Dark Knight Rises, and instead went in a different direction? This is the concept presented with the latest edition of Dredd producer Adi Shankar’s The Bootleg Universe Pitch Show, in which Shankar continues the spirit of his non-official shot films like Power/Rangers and Venom: Truth in Journalism by inviting filmmakers to pitch their dream version of a franchise owned by others.
This time, Shankar invites screenwriter Adam Alleca — writer of 2009’s Last House on the Left remake and the upcoming Stephen King adaptation CELL — to pitch his own ideal Batman movie. Set after the events of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight (while ignoring The Dark Knight Rises), Alleca’s premise is loosely based on the famous 1993-94 Knightfall story arc, which sees supervillain Bane break the Batman. Watch the whole pitch above.
Adam Alleca’s notion of a follow-up to The Dark Knight sounds very much like the movie many Batman fans wished they could have seen — which is entirely the point of Shankar’s web series. Alleca’s idea incorporates Bane as a major villain, but spins the story in a different direction from either The Dark Knight Rises or the Knightfall arc; it instead positions the potential protege of Bruce Wayne’s as the main villain, in place of Azrael/Jean-Paul Valley, who takes up the mantle of the Bat following Batman’s near-crippling defeat at the hands of Bane in the comic books.
Utilizing a mech-powered Batsuit, Alleca’s not-Robin quasi-sidekick ultimately rejects Batman’s code, brutally kills Bane and becomes a celebrated, “zero tolerance” crime-fighting figure to certain conservative media pundits, who identify with the black and white crimefighting approach. In the end, Bruce Wayne recovers and takes his protege down, pointing out that his code is what makes him stronger than the criminals and mere vigilantes who would kill indiscriminately.
Is there a chance to see further Batman adventures set within the Christopher Nolan universe? Probably not, but Alleca’s pitch illustrates that despite setting a dark, gritty, “realistic” tone for all future DC superhero movies, Nolan’s take on Batman strayed from the core comic book elements in certain fundamental ways. The Nolan version of Bane (Tom Hardy), is one of the better examples, in that The Dark Knight Rises declined to explore the more fantastical elements of the Bane origins (the Venom drug, the metaphysical comic book elements involved in Bruce Wayne’s recovery).
Nolan’s film featured its own not-Robin in the form of John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt); while The Dark Knight Rises ultimately tried to make the point that Batman is a symbol, Alleca’s pitch cuts to the heart of the hero’s mythos and the conflict between justice and revenge, which drives his crusade. The possibilities sparked by Alleca’s pitch — and Shankar’s project in general — show why the people who hold the rights (and purse strings) for these properties should embrace these alternate ideas, which spring from the minds of creative fans who see things in these franchises that the studios sometimes cannot.
Check into Adi Shankar’s Youtube page for episodes of The Bootleg Universe Pitch Shows as they are released.
Source: Adi Shankar