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Let Man of Steel Start the DCU Anew For Movies

So, maybe Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t going to be in either Man of Steel or Justice League after all, with representatives for the actor telling reporters that initial rumors of his appearance in next year’s Superman movie aren’t true. As much as the fanboy inside me is saddened by this turn of events, part of me does wonder if isn’t for the best…

My reasoning is pretty simple: Why would either DC Entertainment or Warner Bros. want to have a Batman in Justice League that wasn’t Bruce Wayne? If Gordon-Levitt appeared in the new Justice League cycle of movies, it would seem to indicate that those movies would follow Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight continuity, which feels like an own goal in a couple of important respects.

Firstly, it would mean that Justice League would forever be without the “real” Batman for however long the franchise lasted; not only is Batman-is-Bruce-Wayne the core concept of the character across all media except movies, but even if Christian Bale could be tempted back by large trucks full of money to reprise his role as Gotham’s former protector for a new movie, doing so would risk undoing the character arc of Nolan’s trilogy, which may be too great a risk for the stunt casting/shock value of a “But – But you’re Bruce Wayne!” reveal within a future movie. (It doesn’t help that JGL’s character in The Dark Knight Rises was essentially a cypher, without enough personality to truly feel like a worthy replacement for the complicated, haunted figure that we demand from our Batmen.

Secondly, it locks out the possibility for a Batman franchise reboot for however long the lifecycle of the Justice League franchise, something that seems particularly unlikely given how valuable Batman historically has been to Warner Bros. in general. Think about it; we’ve seen multiple Batman animated reboots in the last twenty or so years, and at least one movie reboot – I’d be willing to accept the idea of the Joel Schumacher movies as a mini-reboot, to be honest. Ignoring the value of Bruce Wayne, is Warners really willing to take the Joker, Ra’s Al Ghul and Catwoman off the movie table for the potentially decade-long (or more!) life of a Justice League movie cycle?

There’s a lot to be said for the idea of allowing Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman and the connected mythos to close with The Dark Knight Rises, and start with a clean slate moving forward with Justice League and everything that follows; we expect do-overs with Batman now, and this way, Nolan’s take can live on, “clean” of anything that Justice League will bring to muddy its ideological waters with super humans capable of amazing things who could have cleaned up Gotham and dealt with Bane in seconds, had they wanted to. Let Man of Steel mark a new beginning for DC’s movie franchises in total – Yes, forget Green Lantern, too – and let everyone involved make their own mistakes from that point on, freed of the expectations and restrictions that would otherwise threaten to overwhelm them.


  • Vincent Clarke

    Levitt being the new Batman was intriguing when I first heard it, but I agree that it’s ultimately a bad idea to abandon the Bruce Wayne persona.

    Are we even sure that Man of Steel is going to absolutely be a part of the new silver-screen DCU? I’m assuming that if the Justice League movie is shooting for a 2015 release, that it must be so. I guess the new movie will be our first peek into the connected on-screen universe.

  • Johnny

     Conceivably, Gordon-Levitt could be cast as a somewhat younger Bruce Wayne, even though he’s in the movie.  No connections with the Nolan-verse, right?  Chris Evans was Johnny Storm and Captain America. 

  • Michael J

    Sounds about right to me.They would never knowingly consider making a Batman movie without Bruce Wayne. They did the whole 52 thing and scrapped the whole Dick Grayson as Batman, even though he did make a pretty good Batman but I digress.The bottom line is Bruce Wayne’s Batman and so they will start fresh with a new actor to play Mr.Wayne.

  • Sephy

    Not entirely a 1 to 1 comparison. Chris Evans didn’t go from playing Johnny Storm to playing a slightly different Johnny Storm. JGL went from playing cop-turned-not-Bruce-Batman to… potentially playing Bruce Wayne Batman in the very next Batman movie? Not only would that confuse audiences, it would just look really lazy

  • anonomous

    I wish they would just make a story line that somehow brings back Bale as batman…. then everyone wins.

  • Bane All


  • Jimmy

    Bale was a good Batman… Until he spoke. His Batman voice was ridiculous and undercut the script of all three films. I just rewatched Dark Knight and was dumbfounded how much his voice undercut the climax with Gordon and Dent.

    Karl Urban would make a better Batman. His Dredd voice was perfect. Urban for Batman!!

  • Peter

    Whomever they get to get for Batman they should plunk him down for 6 months with  Kevin Conroy to learn how to do the voice changes between Bruce Wayne and Batman. NO ONE has does it better. No grunting or razor blade (Hey …. Bats seems to smoke 25 packs a day….. wow) throat voice. When I read a Batman story it’s always his voice I hear. He’s done both Bruce Wayne and Batman young, middle aged and old. If they do that they’ll be off to a great start.

  • Joe Howard

    “doing so would risk undoing the character arc of Nolan’s trilogy”
    Graeme, weren’t you the one advocating the return of Darth Vader in Star Wars VII despite it undoing the character arc of Anakin/Vader?

  • Aldimes

    The viability of a JLA movie seems to be diminishing at every turn. Captain America has fitted (with a little tinkering) into the same universe as Thor, for example, but I really think Batman and Superman can only co-exist in the comics. Why would Superman hang out with the likes of Batman, Green Arrow and Aquaman? He can do anything they can, a lot better. GL and Wonder Woman, ok.The Marvel characters were created to inhabit the same universe, the DC characters weren’t, and you can still see the joins.Supes and Batman remain the only DC characters that have been successful on the big screen, but the milieus established for them there are very different and I think, incompatible.

  • Richard Casey

    Didn’t Nolan AND Snyder both say their films weren’t related and wouldn’t be connected to The Justice League? Yes. Yes they did. 

    So why has this continued to be reported like it was a legitimate possibility? Better yet, even the most die hard JGL fan can’t really think he’d ever work as Batman or Bruce Wayne: he isn’t big enough for one thing, for a second I can’t see him pulling off the performance of Billionaire playboy or World’s Greatest Detective and thirdly, it’s too close to him being in Dark Knight Rises. I know there’s the Chris Evans argument, but those flicks had a fair bit of distance between them, not to mention they were different roles.

  • Richard Casey

    Dick as Batman wasn’t wiped out with the 52, that happened when Bruce Wayne returned. I’m pretty sure that whole saga still exists within Batman continuity. Then again, even Dc don’t seem sure about what does and doesn’t count, so what the fuck do I know?

  • Richard Casey

    They could. It’s called The Dark Knight Returns.

  • LightningBug

    LOL JL Movie!! Every single time news comes out about this thing it is refuted mere hours or days later. Remember when they got Ben Affleck to direct it? This has been going on for years and years. Yes, Warners claims they are making it, but don’t get your hopes up. They’ve said it again and again, and each time it falls through. Mark my words: none of us will ever see a Justice League movie.

    All that said, JGL would have been a fine Bruce Wayne, and I don’t really care that he’s already played somebody else in a Batman movie. It would take one scene where he is addressed by name, and people would understand who he was. Another cool move might be to do a JL movie where Batman never takes off his mask.

    But it’s all moot since this film will never ever see the light of day.

  • Brandon

    I agree with your last point, but your first two points were made by many when Michael Keaton was cast and I thought he was great.

  • Bryan Woodbury

    Let Man of Steel have it’s day, then take your time with JL and give it a Kingdom Come feel to it. During the opening credits have quick origin flashes of core members and some ” Our world as we know it has changed. The gods of long ago have been forced to come to forward to protect us. blah, blah, blah. Like Star Wars , a brief synopsis of what has happened. These characters are gods to us. Besides Superman nobody hardly ever sees them. They hear about Batman maybe but these are the elite of the elite. Superman is an alien, GL is technically an alien, Batman is the prototype human with olympic class athletics and martial arts. Aquaman is a king, WW is a goddess. Flash is a human with inter-dimensional speed. Don’t have a whole origin story how they all meet, BORING!  First shot of all of them should be all of them discussing how the are to deal with Flash being a knucklehead showoff and inviting him to JL. The reasoning behind them joining should be so massive they can’t fathom how to defeat it. The scope must be massive. No lex , joker, mr frezze crap. It HAS to be Starro, Darkseid or Despero right from the start…

  • kiss my Angus

    I dont like the idea of Robin Blake becoming Batman even in his own film.  He didnt earn it in DKR– he just happend to be around.

    This will never happen any way.

  • kiss my Angus

    um there will be connections to the Nolanverse considering NOLAN produced Man of Steel

  • kiss my Angus

    IF man of steel does good at the Box Office– WB will tie both universes together in JLA.

  • Wayne

    But who will play Mr Freeze

  • Ing Joal

    I think Jim Cavizel would make an awsome new Batman and Bruce Wayne