[This article contains POTENTIAL SPOILERS for Batman V Superman.]
It didn’t take long for the production of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to start giving fans a peek behind the scenes at the characters, clothing, and iconic sets being put on display while shooting in Detroit, Michigan. Now that filming has hit full steam, a host of new set photos centering on Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent and even Bruce Wayne have arrived. And for the seasoned comic book fans, some of the locations constructed for the film will seem very, very familiar.
To date, most of the information and photographs captured by sleuths has centered on Ben Affleck’s older, greyer Bruce Wayne; whether it’s his company caught in a crumbling city, or the actor himself running down panicked streets. Most interestingly, recent reports have claimed that the billionaire vigilante will also be frequenting some less savory locations: specifically, an underground MMA fight.
When word first broke that an aging Detroit police station was being re-branded as ‘Gotham City Jail,’ it seemed to imply that the first portion of the BvS suit would be focused primarily on the film’s most famous resident, but as it turns out, the set will host a scene involving intrepid reporter Clark Kent (Henry Cavill).
In other words: it might not be Batman who starts stomping in Superman’s backyard, but the other way around.
Comic book fans will appreciate that while the ruffled hair and glasses may not fool most audiences, Clark Kent looks to prefer loose-fitting blue jeans and over-sized jackets for their (minor) ability to conceal his sculpted physique. The idea of a newspaper reporter – the job Kent was hired for in Man of Steel‘s closing scene – heading to a city jail for an interview isn’t outlandish, but if he’s based in Metropolis, what kind of story would bring Clark Kent all the way to Gotham?
The obvious answer: an eyewitness account of The Batman. It’s safe to assume that the cells of Gotham City Jail would include multiple criminals willing to testify that they were brought in by a hulking, monstrous, man-bat. And even if Bruce Wayne has been donning the cape and cowl for decades by the time Dawn of Justice begins, that doesn’t mean it’s common knowledge. After all, the notion of a super-strong, borderline inhuman creature of the night sounds like pure fiction – but not to someone with a lifetime of keeping hidden themselves.
To this point, it’s been assumed that Batman would be appearing on the scene to hold Superman accountable for the damage inflicted upon Earth by the Kryptonians. Could it be that while Batman is hunting down the Man of Steel, he, too, is tracking the billionaire’s alter ego? If nothing else, the lack of any concrete evidence shows that for all the leaks on set and rumors of larger themes, little is known about the film’s story itself.
Of course, it isn’t just the obvious locations like a Gotham jail that have surfaced. While the conversion of Detroit’s Hygrade Deli into a rustic diner set may not seem suspicious, the fact that it was changed to “Ralli’s Diner” is no coincidence. Restaurants usually don’t qualify as ‘iconic’ in superhero comics, but this is an exception: in “Superman” #9 (1987), the diner is used in a scene meant to show just how cruel, callous, and downright twisted Lex Luthor really is.
In the story written and drawn by John Byrne, Lex makes a small town waitress an indecent proposal: leave her small-potatoes job and family behind to… “join” him for a month in Metropolis for a $1,000,000 reward. Establishing that Lex lacks moral fiber, the scene takes a turn when the waitress considers the offer, only to find that Lex has left without waiting for an answer. According to the twisted genius: “Jenny Hubbard will never know what her final choice would have been. And that question will torment her for the rest of her meaningless life.”
The exchange seems far too extreme or ‘over the top’ for modern audiences, meaning the appearance of a “Ralli’s” sign may be meant as an easter egg, and nothing more. However, reports from others in the area claim that it isn’t Lex, or even Clark Kent who will be shooting scenes in the Detroit deli:
It’s unclear if the diner is meant to be set in Metropolis or Gotham (since both cities are being shot within Detroit), but this is likely just the first of many comic book locations set to be recreated for the film. But for the time being, we wouldn’t expect to see Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex offending the honor of married women; the writers seem to taking the villain in a different direction.
What are your thoughts on the set photos? Does Clark Kent’s investigation into the Gotham City Jail give you your own theories, or is it too soon to speculate? Be sure to leave your own theories in the comments.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives on March 25th, 2016.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for Batman V Superman updates as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.