If there was one thing [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) got right, it was Ben Affleck's Batman. Although the casting was mocked when it was first announced, fans left the cinema convinced that Affleck had become the definitive Batman. No surprise, Warner Bros. has since announced a new Batman film to feature Affleck, who'll direct the film as well as star in it!
But where will the story go for inspiration? The latest rumors from Birth.Movies.Death raise some interesting possibilities.
Under the Red Hood
Where previous Batman films have shown us a newly-minted crime fighter, Batman v Superman jumped straight in with a world-weary vigilante who's been at work for years. In one telling scene, we catch a glimpse of a defaced Robin costume. For comic book fans, that was a hint that the famous arc A Death in the Family has already happened in the DC Extended Universe. In that shocking plot, the Joker clipped a Robin's wings.
Years later, though, we learned that Jason Todd was still alive. In fact, he'd become a crime lord/vigilante, obsessing over both Batman and the Joker. He took on the identity of the Red Hood, and established himself as a major figure in the wider Batman mythos. Because of that Robin nod, the Under the Red Hood arc — which reintroduced Jason Todd — is generally viewed as the most likely plot for the Batman film.
There are two problems with this theory, however. The first is that Under the Red Hood has already been adapted into an animated movie, and so redesigning it again would hardly show creative breadth and depth for an Extended Universe still in its early stages. The second is that this arc veers dangerously close to that of the Winter Soldier, Captain America's rogue best friend. With the Winter Soldier at the forefront of Marvel's movies — introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and fundamental to Captain America: Civil War — is it wise to focus on such a similar concept?
If Birth.Movies.Death is correct, the film under discussion is very different. They write:
Many, if not most, members of Batman's rogues gallery will be making appearances in the film. It's going to be crammed with Bat villains, which means that just about every major bad guy you've ever wanted to see in a movie will be in this movie. According to my sources Affleck and Geoff Johns, who has been working with him on the film, want to make the definitive Batman film. They want to tell the ultimate Batman story, and to do so they're going to bring in all the big guns. They're going to have a big, sprawling Bat universe already in place.
Birth.Movies.Death speculate that the film could be a version of Arkham Asylum. Personally, though, those comments remind me of the Knightfall arc.
Knightfall is a legendary event from the 1990s in which Batman faced a relentless onslaught from Bane. Bane's strategy was a brutally cunning one: First he raided Arkham Asylum, freeing all the inmates, and leaving Batman struggling to cope with the chaos. Only when the Arkham escapees had worn Batman down did Bane make his move, confronting Bruce Wayne and literally breaking his back. As a result, the mantle of Batman had to be passed on for a time.
It's true that Bane has been done before, but in truth neither of the film versions have been particularly good when compared to the deadly villain of the comics.
I can see Knightfall easily fitting Birth.Movies.Death's rumor. The scale of Knightfall made it the definitive Batman story for many '90s readers, while the Arkham break-out took full advantage of a jam-packed rogues gallery. I doubt that they'd break Batman's back in the movies, but it would still be good to see the Dark Knight pushed to the limit.