A couple of months ago, Ben Affleck announced his departure from the role of Batman in the DC Extended Universe. Recently, his replacement was finally revealed: Twilight star Robert Pattinson. Some fans expected Affleck to be replaced by an actor like Armie Hammer or Jake Gyllenhaal who have a similar age and built to Affleck and could therefore pick up where his Batman left off.
However, the casting of the much younger Pattinson seems to promise some major changes to the portrayal of the Dark Knight in the DCEU. So, here are 10 Ways Robert Pattinson’s Younger Batman Could Change The DCEU.
10 Less backstory to explore
Ben Affleck’s Batman was a grizzled Caped Crusader who had been fighting crime in Gotham for years, so there was a lot of backstory that the DCEU promised to delve into.
For example, there was a Nightwing costume in the Batcave that had been tagged with graffiti by the Joker, suggesting a tragic past in which the Joker murdered Nightwing and then mocked Batman about it. Now that Affleck’s gone, this Easter egg will probably never get paid off. And we won’t get any more Easter eggs like it, because Robert Pattinson is too young to have that much history in the field.
9 A different relationship with the Joker
One of the most important elements in DC Comics lore that should’ve been more thoroughly considered going into the DCEU is the relationship between Batman and the Joker – they’re a perfect match for each other, intellectually, and despite an intense hatred between them, they need each other in many ways.
Ben Affleck’s Batman was a lot older than Jared Leto’s hip, young, yuppie Joker from Suicide Squad. However, now that Robert Pattinson is a younger Batman and Joaquin Phoenix is replacing Leto as an older Joker with a solo movie later this year, their relationship will completely change – and probably for the better.
8 Nimbler fighting styles
Ben Affleck had the brawn and the fighting skills to convincingly play Batman, and the brutal fighting style he used was adapted straight from the critically acclaimed Arkham video games, but Robert Pattinson’s younger age will allow him the agility that Affleck didn’t have.
This isn’t to say that Pattinson’s fight scenes will automatically be better than Affleck’s, just because he’ll be quicker on his feet, but it’ll certainly mark a difference in fighting style from the past movies. Pattinson has never really done any action-packed spectacle movies before, so he’ll be new to the stage-fighting scene. It’s hard to imagine what his fight scenes will look like, frankly.
7 No murder or guns
There have been a few different incarnations and interpretations of Batman, there are two ultimate truths to the character: he doesn’t kill people, and he doesn’t use guns. His parents were murdered in front of him by a gunman when he was a kid, so he’s sworn off using guns and killing people.
That’s why fans were so irked when Ben Affleck’s Batman took up arms and went on a murdering spree. Hopefully, Warner Bros. will respond to this controversy in their reboot of the character, and Robert Pattinson will be a more modern, forward-thinking Batman who doesn’t use guns or murder people.
6 A psychologically disturbed Bruce Wayne
The actor who plays Batman has to also play Bruce Wayne. Christian Bale actually played the role as four distinct characters, but only two are required. Ben Affleck did a great job of playing both Bruce Wayne and Batman, but Robert Pattinson will probably bring a deeper darkness to Wayne’s mentality in his own performance.
He played a similar character in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, an arthouse movie about a twentysomething billionaire who crosses town in a stretch limo to get a haircut and sees his life fall apart along the way. If Pattinson plays Wayne anything like that character, then we’re in for a psychological odyssey.
5 More recent deaths for Thomas and Martha Wayne
For Ben Affleck’s Batman, the loss of his parents Thomas and Martha Wayne was a distant childhood memory. He was still troubled by it, and hadn’t fully moved on, but it was a long time ago.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman will have lost his parents a lot more recently than Affleck’s, and will, therefore, be at a different stage in his grief. Affleck was at the moving-on stage and struggling to do so, but Pattinson will be in the anger stage or the denial stage, still processing their deaths in his young age. This will affect his emotional arc in the DCEU.
4 A different, equally prominent chin under the cowl
Any actor chosen to play Batman has to have a memorable and prominent chin, because in all the posters and trailers and promotional materials and action scenes, that’s all the audience is able to see. When they’re wearing the cowl on the Batsuit, all the audience can see is their chin (and sometimes their eyes, but the makeup team has been applying eyeshadow to eradicate that in recent movies).
Ben Affleck has a very prominent chin that sold the Caped Crusader’s look to DCEU audiences, so Robert Pattinson won’t add much to the representation of chins in Batman movies. He does, however, have his own, equally prominent chin that will now appear under the cowl.
3 No cool uncle relationship with the Flash
In Justice League, Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne recruited Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen (a.k.a. the Flash) to join the team. Warner Bros. was trying to push the same kind of “cool uncle” relationship that Tony Stark developed with Peter Parker in the MCU: a superpowered teenager is recruited by a playboy billionaire and is subsequently starstruck to be in the ranks of the world’s most famous superheroes.
The DCEU never really achieved its portrayal of this kind of relationship as well as the MCU did, but it showed some promise. With Affleck out and Pattinson in, Batman won’t be the Flash’s cool uncle anymore. If anything, he’ll be more of a big brother.
2 Less leadership of the Justice League
In 2017’s Justice League, Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne funded all of the team’s exploits and became their soft authority figure, deciding their plans of action and what missions they’ll go on, with everyone else just blindly following.
It’s important to bear in mind that this was in Superman’s absence, and so Superman will probably lead the Justice League going forward, but it’s also important to note that Affleck’s Wayne was someone the other heroes could look up to, because he was the oldest. With Robert Pattinson in the role, he won’t be the oldest anymore, and therefore can’t lead the team.
1 A more optimistic outlook
Having a younger actor in the role of Bruce Wayne will undoubtedly change him as a character. Ben Affleck played Wayne as a grizzled veteran crimefighter with a pessimistic outlook on the world. Robert Pattinson’s younger Batman will likely be more optimistic about the pursuit of justice.
Rather than match Affleck’s cynicism, he’ll probably dial it back to give us a Dark Knight who has yet to experience all the terrible things that will eventually turn him into a Batfleck-style character when he’s a little older. The DCEU might not get that far in his arc, but it can at least set it up.