The Interwebs continue to sweep-up whatever Batman vs. Superman bits are trickling out of DC/Warner Bros.’ air-tight lockdown around the film, resulting in a whole lot of possibilities, but few confirmed facts.
However, that trend may be changing as of today, which brings much more solid evidence than ever that certain aspects of the film – which have been the subject of rumor for the last few weeks – could indeed be true. But as tends to be the case, new answers lead to more questions….
A tweet from producer Daniel Alter (Hitman, Kane & Lynch) has seemingly confirmed the longstanding speculation that Batman will have an estranged sidekick (presumably Dick Grayson) in the sequel. But that’s not all:
Bat-drones, you say?
Ever since this movie’s announcement, we’ve known that director Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer would be drawing inspiration from some Batman/Superman comic book storylines – the most notable being Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns finale, which saw the two titans go at it. (Snyder even used a quote from that battle to announce the film at the Comic-Con 2013). However, if the scenario Alter referred to is indeed part of the Batman vs. Superman storyline, it seems that the film will be borrowing from some additional sources as well – such as Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s seminal storyline, Kingdom Come.
In that iconic miniseries, we’re given a vision of an alternate future where the original Justice League has (for the most part) retired, due to the rise of a whole new generation of superhumans. Getting to the point: in the story, an elderly Bruce Wayne maintains control of Gotham City using an army of robotic Bat-sentries that he controls from the reclusive confines of his cave (a similar idea was more recently explored in the Batman Incorporated comic book). When superhuman battles begin to cause mass destruction across the globe, Wayne partners with Lex Luthor to form a coalition of non-powered humans to keep “Superman and his ilk” in check.
(See gallery above for Kingdom Come and Batman Incorporated concepts of the Bat-drones and Batman’s exoskeleton armor.)
Interestingly enough, that same storyline saw Wayne eventually don the sort of exoskeletal Batman armor designed for combat against Superman – could that be the costume that Kevin Smith recently gushed over?. Meanwhile in the Kingdom Come continuity, Dick Grayson had broken away from the militant Bruce Wayne and adopted a whole new superhero guise: that of Red Robin.
With numerous rumors pointing Dick Grayson appearing in Batman vs. Superman (in some form or fashion) and a modern world where drone use is a convoluted knot of ethical questions, it’s easy to believe that this angle could be used for the new vision of Ben Affleck’s Batman. The question is: Will fans embrace the approach? And more importantly: Is this an effective relaunch of The Dark Knight?
For my own part, I would say that – if true – this is certainly a different take on Batman than we’ve ever seen before on film – and I’m not one to automatically dismiss it for being so. In all of this rumoring about additional characters or Justice League tie-ins, it’s the core story of the battle of wills and ideologies between Batman and Superman that I’m most interested in (and I’m probably not alone in that sentiment).
Taking all that into account, it would be interesting to see the sort of Batman we saw in Kingdom Come: more isolated than ever, more militant than ever, and totally distrusting of handing humanity’s fate over to a superhuman regime. The details would certainly be different in Batman vs. Superman but the core is there: How Superman’s destructive debut pushes Batman to a militant stance of defending normal humans from irresponsible superhumans… before coming around to trust the Supes, and even gain inspiration from him to retake his mantle and be a greater hero than he’s ever been (or something…). And then they form the Justice League.
Moving away from that for a second: Kingdom Come‘s influence could also be a prime way to launch Dick Grayson into the movie universe in a new and unique way, via his Red Robin persona (it would be the option that very few people saw coming, for sure). The advantage of Red Robin is that the character is all at once iconic and new, containing equal measures of Batman and Robin in its design. From a storytelling point, if Batman were no longer on the streets, Red Robin is a logical step for Dick Grayson to take in order to maintain the legacy of the Batman; it would also be a hell of a lot easier to sell to non-fanboys (“Hey, Robin’s all grown up!”) than Nightwing and Blüdhaven and all of that. Finally, it’s also an effective way to use Dick Grayson in the film continuity while still saving the character of Nightwing for the Arrow TV continuity (as has been recently rumored).
It must be mentioned that while working with WB, Alter is NOT an official producer on the actual Batman vs. Superman movie, so there is room for error in his assertions. Still, in the rushing river of Bvs.S rumors coming at us daily, this is one of the more solid rocks of information we’ve been able to grab onto….
Batman vs. Superman will be in theaters on July 17, 2015
Source: Twitter (via CBM)
Comic book art is property of DC Comics. Batman Kingdom Come armor image via Lukkemonster @DeviantARt