Movie-going Bat-fans have, over the past few decades, gotten used to a very particular version of the Caped Crusader: Dark, heavily armored, and not especially comic-book-y, Christian Bale's Batman had a lot more in common with the movies of the 80's and 90's than what fans of the comics have known and loved for three quarters of a century.
All that, though, looks set to change.
Kevin Smith recently spoke to classic comic-book artist Neal Adams on his Fat Man of Batman podcast, and revealed just what we can expect to see Ben Affleck's Dark Knight wearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - and it's a long way from Bale's body armor:
"It’s him in material. None of this body armor s***.”
Instead of the heavy duty body armor we've become accustomed to, we are - according to Smith - set to see a much more traditional, and much more comic-book-inspired, Batman.
Which, if Smith's previous comments on Hollywood Babble-On are to be believed, will look like a very particular version of the Batsuit.
Asked whether the first image released of the new Batman -
- was the same one he was given a sneak peak of, Smith was emphatic in his denial:
"No, that is a very cool picture, but that is not the picture I saw. They put it on a fake rooftop, and they lit it up. But it was in color, and you could see every piece of detail. So I've seen some people online go, 'Why is this f***ing suit any different than the Chris Nolan Batsuit, it's all one f***ing color.' It's like, 'Dude, that's a monochrome photo. You know what that means, one chrome...That's not a representation of what the suit looks like."
What it does reportedly look like, though, is about as old-school and geeky as it gets:
"If you want to see what this f***ing suit looks like, you just go to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, go to the third book, Hunt the Dark Knight...it’s the exact f***ing outfit he’s wearing."
Which means we're talking blue (or at least blue-ish) and grey, with a proper cowl and cape combo.
So something a little more like this, care of Dante_GE:
The thing is, though - Smith has also hinted that there'll be more than one Batsuit in the movie. Which, seeing as he's likely to go toe to toe with Superman, makes a whole lot of sense. A cloth outfit with some Kevlar under-armor looks awesome, but it doesn't deflect super-punches all that well.
What sort of Batsuit will that be, though? We thought we'd take a look at three possible contenders.
The Dark Knight Returns (In a Giant Suit of Armor)
With Zack Snyder having long suggested that Frank Miller's legendary The Dark Knight Returns "will influence the history of Batman Vs. Superman", it seems utterly plausible that Smith's suggestion (that the Bat-suit is largely inspired by the 1986 mini-series) could prove accurate.
Could it also mean that we'll see Batman's giant, armored battle-suit (pictured above and below) from the same run, though?
If we get to hear Henry Cavill deliver that line, then here's hoping. Also, just look at the animated movie version of that fight. It'd be awesome:
There are other Bat-battle-suits, though, including:
Kingdom Come (and Battle-Armor With it)
The Dark Knight Returns isn't the only classic DC comic to feature a battle-suited Batman going head to head with Superman. 1996's Kingdom Come saw a distinctly apocalyptic scenario unfold, with Batman leading a group of youthful superheroes against the established, and increasingly authoritarian, Justice League.
Plot wise, none of the story seems likely to appear in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but in terms of design, the mini-series has not one, but two whole Bat-tlesuits to choose from. The more practical one above, and a more subdued, Bruce-Wayne-centric variant for everyday use:
There'd surely be some room for a little silver-edged punching support, no?
But what if Warner Brothers balk at the size (and expense) of a giant battle-suit?
Could they then go for:
Arkham Era Batman's Slimline Suit (With Extras)
Already not a million miles away from Miller's Dark Knight Returns Batman, the Batsuit as seen in Batman: Arkham Asylum could work as something of a middle ground between the armored movie Batman and the more comic-book-y version we look set to start the movie with.
Load it up with some hardcore gadgets and fantastical super-Kevlar, and that bad boy could potentially survive at least a punch from Superman.
Or, y'know, they could just lace the whole thing with Kryptonite.
If the budget's tight, they could always just have Bruce dig up a certain piece of armor from Man of Steel. It's not as though General Zod's using it any more.
Paint it black, add a logo in the middle, and you've got a Batsuit, ready and waiting. Or, more likely, a Luthor-suit - but that's a whole other story.
[Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870) is set for release May 6, 2016. With or without a giant robotic Bat-tlesuit.
What do you guys think? What Batsuit would you most like to see in Batman v Superman?