With the stage set for Zack Snyder to make history, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has become one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2016. Not only will it showcase the first ever live-action showdown between DC's two biggest heroes, but it will also serve as the debut for the latest incarnation of Bruce Wayne/ Batman (Ben Affleck). What began as a simple sequel to 2013's Man of Steel has grown exponentially into a major moment for the history of Gotham's Caped Crusader.
With all eyes on Snyder and Affleck to do something new and intriguing, it's important to acknowledge the past, as well as the men who previously handled the character with such surgical precision. Snyder himself seems to have recognized this and decided to get the blessing of director Christopher Nolan before pressing forward this Ben Affleck's Batman.
In a report from Empire Snyder reveals that he sat down with Nolan and discussed whether or not the man who helmed the Dark Knight trilogy felt comfortable with someone else taking on the Caped Crusader so soon. Nolan's response to the query seems concise yet heartfelt:
Well, we don’t own these characters. When you’re done making Batman movies, someone else will [make them]
It speaks to the iconography of these characters and serves as a very definitive reminder of the numerous versions of Batman audiences have seen in cinemas over the years. Although Nolan capped off his Batman story in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises, audiences knew someday a successor would come along and craft a new version of Batman that would strike off in a new direction. It happened after Tim Burton, it happened after Joel Schumacher, and now it's happening after Nolan himself. Of course, just because he gave his blessing doesn't mean it wasn't a difficult decision. Snyder would go on to explain that the decision did not seem easy for the Dark Knight director:
I think he found it a little bit hard... I would feel the same way.
No one would blame Nolan for feeling some degree of difficulty when it comes to letting go of Batman. From Batman Begins' release in 2005 his work with the character has had arguably a greater influence on the superhero genre before or since; his work on The Dark Knight trilogy created the gritty, somber, and realistic tones that many other superhero properties would attempt to imitate but seldom replicate -- see: The Amazing Spider-Man franchise.
Beyond his influence on the superhero genre, Nolan's work with Batman really represents the point at which he became a household name to mainstream audiences. Without the Dark Knight trilogy it remains entirely plausible that major fan favorites like Inception and Interstellar would have never gotten off the ground. Letting go is never easy, but without Nolan's efforts over the last decade the landscape of cinema would look decidedly different from what we have now. That's something worth celebrating.
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 – June 19th, 2020.