So, I think a lot of people probably know by now my general thoughts on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Namely that I didn’t like it. However, it wasn’t until a video was posted online that the gears in my head started to REALLY turn as to one thing they could’ve done differently with relative ease to make the movie flow just a tiny bit better. That video was the following:
Now, when I first saw this video, I left the following comment: “Sounds epic as fuck, and would’ve guaranteed given boners to the crowd, but it doesn’t work for one reason: Bale Batman doesn’t kill, Affleck Batman does. Whatever your stance on whether Batman should or shouldn’t kill, that’s the major difference between the two”. However, the more I’ve sat and thought about it, the more I realized just how easily it would’ve been to have Affleck Batman be Bale Batman, only years after the events of The Dark Knight Rises. Let’s go through how the two film series line up, shall we?
So first off, let’s talk about how The Dark Knight Rises ends. Bruce faked his death so he could retire to a normal life with Selina Kyle, and Robin John Blake is given the coördinates to the Batcave, presumably so he could take over Bruce’s place as Gotham’s protector. Now, you may ask how that could transition to Batman V Superman, but let’s look at a few other details. Specifically, let’s look at the one major villain from The Dark Knight Trilogy who didn’t die and is now an important character in the new DC Cinematic Universe: The Joker. Now, granted, the Joker from the Dark Knight movies IS very different from the new one. Specifically, Ledger Joker was clearly wearing make-up and had a permanent smile due to the scars on his face, whereas Leto Joker is hinted at having the more traditional backstory of having fallen into a vat of chemicals. However, let’s say they didn’t go that route for a second and then look at what else we know about Leto’s Joker from details given to us strictly in Batman V Superman: He killed Robin.
Now, lets look at Bale Batman vs Affleck Batman. Obviously, the biggest difference between the two (besides their age) is their methodology and the limits they’re willing to go to in the line of duty. As I said before, Affleck Batman has no problems killing criminals, while specifically not killing was a big thing for Bale Batman. Yes, the Batman of the Nolanverse movies did find loopholes he could exploit to get around that fact, but for the most part, that was Bale Batman’s biggest rule, so something pretty drastic would’ve had to have happened for him to go back on that to such a degree that he’d resemble Affleck Batman’s style of doing things. So, what would make him do such a thing? The answer again falls on one point: The dead Robin.
Anyone who knows anything about Batman in the comics likely knows that the dead Robin in the DC Cinematic Universe is more than likely Jason Todd. However, let’s instead think of Batman V Superman occurring in the same canonical universe as The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Robin is, in fact, John Blake, having used his first name that he mostly opted not to use as his codename while working as Batman’s replacement. Now, imagine if The Joker brutally killed Robin, then publicly taunted Batman (regardless of if he knows Batman is really alive or not) with this fact. Again, Jason Todd dying in the comics was a big deal for a long time, and still sort of is even after his return to the land of the living. It’s often regarded as Batman’s greatest failure. But now imagine this happening under these circumstances, with Bruce realizing that Robin would have never died if he hadn’t faked his death and enlisted him as his successor. Suddenly, not only do you have a great reason for Bruce to return to Gotham and continue his work as Batman, as well as coming up with a convincing excuse for how he, as Bruce Wayne, likewise was still alive (preferably not at the exact same time as to avoid arousing suspicion), but he would also have reason to go more than a little nuts. Remember, the only reason he didn’t in the comics after the death of Jason Todd was because Tim Drake stepped in and helped to keep him grounded. But in a world where that never happened, can we say with 100% certainty that he wouldn’t have lost it, even if we’d LIKE to think Bruce would never do that? It’s certainly a believable scenario to have presented. And all of the aesthetical changes to Batman (his suit, his equipment, his vehicles, etc.) could easily be explained by him changing with the times, especially since the vast majority of his tech was destroyed at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, specifically The Bat and his spare Tumblers. Hell, you can even explain away the voice modifier as him deciding he didn’t need to do the Bat voice himself anymore.
So, with all of that said, why didn’t DC and Warner Bros. decide to do this? Well, there’re a few reasons. For starters, there are characters who appeared and died during The Dark Knight Trilogy that they might be considering making use of later on. Second, all of the characters who would be returning would either have to be recast, or they’d have to convince the previous actors to return. In particular, The Joker would NEED to be recast due to the death of Heath Ledger, and honestly, I don’t know who I would have chosen to portray Ledger’s Joker. And, not to be too disrespectful, but suffice to say, Jared Leto is NOT Heath Ledger. Just saying. Third, while the details DO line up, there likely would still be plot holes created. One that comes to mind is the fact that we know Clark was wandering around and helping in (relative) secret wherever he could for several years before becoming Superman, and odds are good he would not have just sat around and did nothing about what was going on in Gotham during The Dark Knight Rises. And no, there’s NO way he couldn’t have known. And lastly, another big reason why they may have opted not to connect the new DC movies to the earlier ones in any way was so that they could build this whole new movie universe from the ground up. Don’t have to worry about past continuity, doing research to make sure everything lines up, or rehiring anyone that worked on the previous movies, they can just do everything over again. And, admittedly, while they COULD have found ways to iron out all those issues, I can’t really say as I blame them for not doing it. Plus, with the Arrowverse CW shows having established the existence of an infinitely-spanning Multiverse, it’s entirely possible that ALL of the live action interpretations of DC’s heroes are canonically part of it. Still, for what it’s worth, everything I’ve presented can still stand as a neat little idea of how things might have been. But hey, that’s just a theory…A FILM THEOR-Wait, what do you mean MatPat does theories for movies too???
…Anyway, let me know in the comments (or in the poll below) whether you think DC should or shouldn’t have connected the new Batman related movies to the previous ones, and I will see you guys the next time I decide to show my geekness…which’ll probably not be very long from now. lol Ja né!