This week DC officially announced for the first time what we've known ever since Ben Affleck did God's work in Batman v Superman.
Kevin Tsujihara, the awesomely-named CEO of Warner Bros, not only fuelled speculation of more additions to the DCEU with the promise of "at least" 10 movies in the next 5 years, but more importantly confirmed that WB are "excited to be working with Ben Affleck on a standalone Batman movie."
Whether you're the kind of person who thinks this is the best news in the history of cinema, or the prospect of a Batfleck movie makes you want to go home and bash a sad one out to The Dark Knight, solo Batman is happening, and a few collated clues from Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad give us a pretty good early indication that a certain rogue will feature heavily...
Revenging Gotham's Clown Prince of Crime
Back when that first trailer for Batman v Superman dropped, one particular shot had fanboys from Metropolis to Michigan convinced that Robin would play a significant part in the movie's story...
On the basis of that taunting, graffitied suit, it wasn't a bad shout, but ultimately it came to nothing: although Bruce has the suit on display in his luxury Batpad, he doesn't directly reference it or give any context.
Zack Snyder, however, did give a little background on the Robin situation...
“In my mind, it was that Robin had died 10 years earlier, during some run-in with a young Joker ... I felt like the whole idea was that there had been loss and there had been sacrifice. In a weird way, [Bruce has] sacrificed everything to be Batman. He doesn’t really have a life outside the cave. I thought that including Robin, a dead Robin, was helping us understand that he’s been on quite a little journey.”
So we know that one of the Robins, presumably the only one this Batman has known, is dead at the hands of the Joker, which plays like a possible nod to A Death in the Family, in which case the Robin in question would've been Jason Todd.
So how does this come back around to the Batfleck solo movie? Well, let's detour first to Suicide Squad, in which the Caped Crusader has at least one run in with the Clown Prince, and ends up coming to the rescue of a certain Ms. Harley Quinn...
The question is this: what's Batman doing chasing the Joker in the first place? It could be that he's playing the vigilante and responding to police radio reports of a maniac on the loose with an attractive pig-tailed sociopath in a metallic purple custom sports car, and that said maniac just happens to be the Joker... that's assuming Suicide Squad is set in Gotham City, which we can reasonably imagine it is, as Harleen Quinzel becomes Harley Quinn during her stint in Arkham Asylum.
But considering the Joker is responsible for the death of Batman's closest friend, it seems far more likely that Bruce has been tracking the Clown Prince, and that can only mean one thing: he has revenge thirst.
Assuming the Joker survives Suicide Squad with his life (a safe bet - Jared Leto's portrayal already looks iconic, and WB will want to keep him in the fold), that revenge thirst will carry over into the solo Batman movie... and that's where things could get seriously twisted, depending on how dark the studio and Affleck are willing to go with the Bat.
If there's one superhero who can totally get away with an R-rating, it's Batman, and it would perfectly suit this brooding, morally-grey, borderline-murderous incarnation of the character. Making this into a revenge flick could potentially allow Affleck to be responsible for the ultimate Batman movie.
Snyder's words suggest Bruce Wayne has been defined in some way by the death of his right-hand man, so there would be a certain poetic justice in the birth of a new Bat-family, beginning with a new Robin, at the end of the solo Batman movie, once Bruce has either put the Joker a way or ended him more permanently.
Whether that be Dick Grayson or Damian Wayne (as vaguely hinted at by Alfred in Dawn of Justice), it would represent a rebirth for a man broken by his past, and that's pretty exciting.
The solo Batman movie will probably arrive in one of DC's two unassigned slots, either October 2018 or November 2019, written, directed by and starring Ben Affleck. So tell me...