Now, with all the buzz surrounding the upcoming Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, it's fair to say that everyone here at Moviepilot is...well, "incredibly over-excited" is a bit of an understatement.
And, seeing as the movie is still over a year away - and there's only so much Arrow, The Flash and Gotham to watch in any given week - it's gotten us all talking about a whole bunch of different fan theories.
The one that really stuck in my head, though - one that, if it were true, would completely change our understanding Batman's world - involves an often overlooked member of the Bat-Family...Bruce Wayne's loyal butler, Alfred.
Alfred Is Secretly Bruce Wayne's Father
Yup, that's right. THAT Alfred.
The theory's actually been floating around the internet for a while, now, and it goes a little something like this:
Alfred and Martha Wayne Had an Affair
Way back before Bruce was born (about nine months before, presumably), Alfred and Martha Wayne had an affair, which led to a son, who - what with Alfred being the Butler and all, they decided not to tell anyone about - especially, presumably, after Bruce was born.
When Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed, though, it was Alfred who they left the responsibility of raising Bruce to - a responsibility Martha would have known he deserved, what with him being the boys father, after all.
Alfred then raised Bruce as a surrogate father, but allowed the young boy - grief-stricken as he was - to keep believing that Thomas Wayne was actually his father.
Well, Alfred wasn't always the curmudgeonly old butler we see in the comics and movies - and in The Dark Knight trilogy, at least, he was in the SAS as a young man. So the idea of a young, handsome and dashing British soldier turning up, and gradually sweeping Martha Wayne off her feet isn't quite as strange as it sounds.
In terms of why the fan theory exists, though, it's basically a way of explaining Alfred's near-fanatical devotion to Bruce, despite his young charge's descent into costumed super-heroism/vigilantism.
After all, the logic goes, why would a butler - even one as handsomely rewarded as Alfred presumably is - not decide to retire, and get the hell away from the constant threat of death that being Batman's ally brings? Back when Alfred was first introduced in the comics, the idea of the eternally loyal man-servant didn't seem quite so strange as it does today, perhaps, but to a modern audience it seems fairly implausible.
And so, the theory suggests that Alfred was Bruce's father all along, giving him a more modern-day-friendly (if slightly cynical) motivation.
The Only Problem?
Well, put simply, there's not really any evidence to back it up, other than that it seems a bit weird to some people that Alfred is so devoted to Bruce.
Which means, sadly, that the 'Alfred is Bruce's Father' theory probably has to be put into the 'bit of a stretch' category.
But, then again, Jeremy Irons did just say, speaking about his turn as Alfred in Batman vs. Superman, that:
“He is quite a different Alfred than we have seen so far. Zack Snyder had very clear views about what he wanted. I would just say he’s more hands-on perhaps than just a butler.”
So, you never know...