For all its flying aliens and costumed vigilantes, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice tried to keep a grounded feel to its superheroics. Of course, things went full-on bonkers with the final Doomsday showdown, but up until that film had tried to maintain a semi-realistic world with comic book inflections.
Even before the mutated version of Zod’s corpse ransacked the two cities, though, there was already some heightened reality in the form of dream sequences that attempted to visualize Bruce Wayne’s internal conflict. Most noteworthy is the Injustice-inspired, Darkseid-teasing Knightmare sequence (a result of future Flash’s time displacement) but there was also a young, grieving Bruce being lifted out of the well by bats at the start and the jolting jump scare of the bat monster bursting out of Martha Wayne’s tomb.
The film’s production designer, Patrick Tatopoulos, has shared some concept art for the crypt sequence on his Instagram, giving a clearer look at the monster than in the actual film. Check it out below:
It’s pretty striking concept art, summing up the impact of the scene succinctly in a single image. The finished design of the beast (simply called Bat Creature in merchandising) is rather close to this artwork, with one key difference: the coloring. Tatopoulos’ photoshop work had the creature a uniform gray color, while the movie version was jet black with highly reflective eyes. We’ve previously seen different concept art care of “The Art of the Film”, but this new piece is a near-perfect vision of one of the sequence’s shots as the monster bites into Bruce.
Upon release, many fans noted the monster’s similarity to creepy villain Man-Bat, a scientist transformed into a horrific hybrid, although seeing the design in even more detail seems to refute this (or, at the very least, presents a unique take on him). After all, the purpose of the sequence is to show Bruce’s struggle with the dark side of himself – The Bat – so it’s more likely designed to be an embodiment of his psyche than a cool easter egg.
Tatopoulos’ work will next be seen in Beauty and the Beast, for which he worked as a creature designer, and then he’s returning to the DCEU for Justice League, once again as production designer. He’s very active on Instagram, sharing a variety of work from his lengthy career, including some “Vampire” designs that bear a striking resemblance to the Bat Creature, giving a taste of where the original look came from.
Source: Patrick Tatopoulos