There has been much speculation over the last week regarding progress on a Justice League film, specifically on what incarnation of Batman will be included in the project.
SPOILER ALERT FOR THE DARK KNIGHT RISES TO FOLLOW
For those who missed it the rumour in circulation has been that ‘Dark Knight Rises’ star Joseph Gordon-Levitt who played John Blake in that film, will be taking over as the Batman to be included in a Justice League film. His character John Blake was setup in the final moments of Chris Nolan’s conclusion to his Batman trilogy to inherit the mantle of the Bat, taking over from Bruce Wayne.
Should this rumour turn out to be true, these final scenes with John Blake have almost retrospectively just become the first teasers for Justice League. Of course what’s difficult to ignore is that from as far back as ‘Batman Begins’ Christopher Nolan has maintained it was never been his intention for the Dark Knight trilogy to co-exist within the larger DC Universe.
He specifically points out the conversation between Bruce Wayne and Alfred following Bruce’s escape from the League of Shadows on the flight back to Gotham, as the thematic basis from which his take on the character was spawned.
For me, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is specifically and definitely the end of the Batman story as I wanted to tell it, and the open-ended nature of the film is simply a very important thematic idea that we wanted to get into the movie, which is that Batman is a symbol. He can be anybody, and that was very important to us.
Not every Batman fan will necessarily agree with that interpretation of the philosophy of the character, but for me it all comes back to the scene between Bruce Wayne and Alfred in the private jet in BATMAN BEGINS, where the only way that I could find to make a credible characterization of a guy transforming himself into Batman is if it was as a necessary symbol, and he saw himself as a catalyst for change and therefore it was a temporary process, maybe a five-year plan that would be enforced for symbolically encouraging the good of Gotham to take back their city.
To me, for that mission to succeed, it has to end, so this is the ending for me, and as I say, the open-ended elements are all to do with the thematic idea that Batman was not important as a man, he’s more than that. He’s a symbol, and the symbol lives on.
In addition to the thematic intent of the Dark Knight Trilogy, there is the question of whether Warner Bros. would want to continue the Batman character as someone other than Bruce Wayne? Such a direction would likely draw criticism however any new Wayne that might be established will have a very high benchmark to live up to.
The situation leaves the character in somewhat of an awkward position, continuing along with John Blake as Batman would leave the Bruce Wayne incarnation of Batman untouched, and it would allow Justice League to build off some of the success and popularity of Chris Nolan’s films by promoting that connection between each series.
Unfortunately this would retrospectively step on the thematic and tonal toes of Dark Knight, given the grounded foundations upon which that series was built, and where a power ring that can be used to manifest physical objects through sheer willpower is going to appear largely out of place.
This news is sparking much debate among Batman and film fans, be sure to let us know what you think while we wait for confirmation (or otherwise) on what direction Justice League will take on the Batman character.