All things Batman-in-the-movies was pushed to the fore again this week by a pair of separate, but very possibly related, stories.
Back at Comic-Con when the Batman/Superman movie was announced, director Zack Snyder opened the announcement with a quote from Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. Specifically, the quote came in the moment of victory for a notably elder Batman over Superman. So perhaps not surprisingly, there are reports that A) Zack Snyder will be meeting with Frank Miller to discuss Man of Steel 2, or whatever the movie ends up being called, and B) Warner Bros. is looking for a slightly older actor to play Batman, possibly someone in their 40s. For reference, Christian Bale was in his early 30s when he was cast for Batman Begins.
First news first: Miller is meeting with Snyder. It’s hard to tell at the moment exactly how much to read into this meeting, but it’s also pretty safe to say it’s not an insignificant one. Snyder and Miller already have a working relationship, as Snyder previously adapted Miller’s 300 graphic novel. Although this won’t be an adaptation, it’s looking like Snyder might bring Miller on as a consultant for the project, which Snyder and David Goyer are currently scripting. Miller, for his part, claims to have had no knowledge of the project prior to its reveal.
At any rate, all that is to say that The Dark Knight Returns could be a bigger influence than previously suspected. It wouldn’t be the first time a Miller work played heavily into DC/Warner Bros. movie plans (Batman Begins was based heavily on Miller’s Batman: Year One book), but it does make the reports that Warner Bros. is looking to cast an older Batman all the more compelling. The trick is this: in The Dark Knight Returns the elderly, mechanically augmented, and ailing Batman keels over from a heart attack shortly after defeating Superman. Barring toying with the timeline (maybe Man of Steel 2 takes place in the future?) and thus having to again re-cast Batman for Justice League, whoever is cast for Man of Steel 2 will be showing up in at least one more film further down the road.
There are several names which seem to be bandied about more than others at the moment, headlined by Josh Brolin. While we can’t argue Brolin doesn’t have the jaw for a Miller-inspired Batman, at 46, he’s be pushing 50 by the time Justice League was ready to go. Other names popping up include Ryan Gosling, Joe Manganiello (who was reportedly in the running to play Superman before the role was eventually given to Henry Cavill), and Richard Armitage (Thorin in The Hobbit). Gosling doesn’t strike us as quite right for the role, but we like Manganiello, who at 36 still has years as a believable Batman ahead of him, but could easily play up in age.
Andrew Lincoln and Gerard Butler, both of whom we’ve previously suggested might be good fits, have also been rumored, though less aggressively than the names above. Really, it’s hard to find an actor of vaguely the right age and look that hasn’t been rumored at this point, but things are expected to solidify pretty quickly. Production on the new movie is planned to begin in the first quarter of next year.