The DC movie universe (or “DC Extended Universe” as termed by Zack Snyder) is taking a very different approach to building its shared cinematic universe than Marvel did. Instead of doing one superhero origin story at a time, and uniting the movies in later team-ups, the DCEU movies (starting with Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad in 2016) will be jumping into a fully established world of heroes and villains.
Though Man of Steel chronicled the milestone of superpowered extraterrestrials being revealed to the world for the first time (Superman, Zod), we have since come to learn that Batman V Superman will widen its mythos to include a Batman (Ben Affleck) who has been active for quite some time – as have future Justice League members like Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).
Today we learn more official information from Zack Snyder himself regarding Batman’s backstory in the DCEU – and how The Dark Knight’s history connects to the Suicide Squad movie.
Batman + Suicide Squad
We’ve known for quite some time that Batman would show up in the Suicide Squad movie – and the Suicide Squad first-look trailer confirmed as much, featuring a scene that presumably chronicles the past, in which Batman was out on Gotham streets chasing down Joker and Harley Quinn.
Thanks to this interview with Empire, we now have a better idea of how Batman connects with the events of Suicide Squad – and it isn’t just about The Joker.
According to Zack Snyder, the super criminal inmates of Belle Reve Prison (where Suicide Squad is set) were all put there by Batman. We previously heard that, in the DCEU, Batman is a boogeyman that government operatives like Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) have been hunting for years. The Joker is reportedly the key to helping track Batman down, and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is presumably the leverage for pushing the Joker. Or so we’ve heard.
No matter the specifics, hearing that characters like Joker, Harley, Killer Croc, El Diablo and the rest of villains rumored to cameo as Belle Reve inmates are all people Batman put away raises some interesting notions.
Early on, it was rumored that Suicide Squad would take place BEFORE the events of Batman V Superman – and that Ayer’s film ends with a major riot / breakout at Belle Reve. If all that is true, then Affleck’s Batman will have some serious cleaning up to do by the time his solo film comes around.
Legend of The Batman
“We are playing him 45 or 46. He has been Batman for 20 years. All the history is there. Was there a Robin at one time? Possibly… He has lost those near and dear to him, and not necessarily from old age of disease…”
This confirms pretty much what has been rumored for months on end – and further implied by the Batman V Superman Comic-Con trailer. — WARNING! POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!!!
It’s also been rumored for months on end that Batman’s losses of “those near and dear to him” will include Robin and Commissioner Gordon. In fact, it’s been rumored that due to the influences of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns on Affleck’s version of Batman, we could see the female Robin (actress Jena Malone?) standing in for the deceased Boy Wonder (if she’s not playing a version of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle).
Robin’s death seems to be a clear case, as the Batman V Superman Comic-Con trailer showed a monument to Robin in the Bat Cave, still scribbled in Joker graffiti that suggests the Boy Wonder met his end by the Clown Prince of Crime’s hand.
Still, the scene from the trailer of a funeral procession at the cemetery by Wayne Manor suggests that Affleck’s Batman will have a history of loss scarring him – from his parents to his allies in the war on crime – and Affleck says that revised history will offer us a darker, more brutal version of Batman than we’ve seen before:
“Initially I thought, ‘I’m older, it doesn’t seem like the right sort of fit for me. Then Zack pitched me his concept for this older, more broken, kind of f**ked up Batman. It was something we haven’t seen. We have seen that Batman is willing to cross the line to protect people. That vigilantism has been a part of his character all along, and we are tapping into that mentality when faced by something as potentially as deadly a Superman.”
As the B v S trailer showed, Superman battling General Zod in Metropolis was something even more cataclysmic and horrible when viewed from the human perspective of Bruce Wayne. As we here on the Screen Rant Underground discussed at length, years back: the emergence of a truly super powered being is one of particular resonance and interest when viewed through the lens of Batman.
As Snyder puts it:
“We want to assume that Batman has reached this point in his life and career as a superhero, and Superman represents a sort of philisophical change. He is a paradigm shift for Batman: ‘I’ve been fighting criminals all my life, trying to find justice, and now I am confronted with a concept that is transcendent to me.’ In the face of Superman, a man robbing a bank doesn’t matter…. He’s having a crisis of conscience. ‘Am I really just a vigilante who stalks the alleys of Gotham?'” asks Snyder. “It is rich stuff that he deals with. Ben does an amazing job.
When we wrote about how Batman could fit into a Justice League universe, one of the main things we were interested in was Batman dealing with the realization that he is a human man competing in a world of metahuman beings. It was a particularly rich thematic thread in the early-to-mid ’00s Justice League cartoons, and something that DC fans and general audiences alike deserve to see explored on the big screen. In the case of Batman V Superman, the Batman facing such philosophical dilemmas will be much more exacting and brutal than his cartoon counterpart, offering a new layer of intrigue to the mythos.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps – June 19th, 2020.