Since its debut in 2013 with Man of Steel, the DC Extended Universe has been personified by its serious, gritty tone. This has received praise and criticism in equal measure; some like the way it allows the films to tackle deep issues, but others bemoan the lack of levity.
There was at one point talk that Warner Bros. was imposing a no-joke rule, but Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad proved that resolutely wrong and trailers for upcoming films Wonder Woman and Justice League have also shown hints of humor; nothing as intense as Marvel’s quips, but things to lighten the tone. However, it now looks like DC could be getting in some real comic caliber to really balance out the seriousness.
Famed British comedian John Cleese tweeted out an image ahead of an on-stage Q&A that may hint that the former Python could be heading to the DCEU; eagle-eyed fans spotted that on his desk are three DC comics books – Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: Origin and Batman Noir: The Black Mirror – leading to speculation he’s prepping for an appearance in the series:
Getting into character before tonight's Q&A in Worcester, MA pic.twitter.com/ajek3bpyQS— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) January 20, 2017
The books certainly have strong links to the current game-plan of the DCEU; The Dark Knight Returns provided story inspiration for Batman V Superman and heavily informed Ben Affleck’s take on the Caped Crusader, and Justice League: Origin tells the formation of the team in the New 52, a run that has featured several DCEU elements (The Black Mirror is less obvious, but has some of the most heavily praised Batman stories of recent years). Cleese has never shown much inclination of being a comic book fan, so the fact the books are all there definitely raises eyebrows.
Cleese is best known for his work in British comedy, specifically his part as a founding member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and mastermind behind the seminal Fawlty Towers, but he’s no stranger to big budget blockbusters. He took over the role gadget-master Q from Desmond Llewelyn in the James Bond series, played Nearly-Headless Nick in the first two Harry Potter films and voiced King Harold in the Shrek sequels. Starring in the DCEU isn’t exactly out of character, then. Whether his comic stylings lend themselves to the DCEU is another matter; all three of the series mentioned rely heavily on Cleese as stunt casting, something that may feel out of place.
Of course, as it’s only a minor tease, it’s hard to really speculate on what that role he may be in talks for is. Based on the comics, though, it would appear to be Batman-oriented. It’s probably too late to add him to Justice League, but he could be being considered for Ben Affleck’s heavily-discussed solo Batman film.
Source: John Cleese