Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may have stirred up a lot of controversy for superhero fans, but there’s one thing everybody agreed on:
Ben Affleck was brilliant.
When Affleck was first announced for the role of Batman, the Internet went into meltdown. But the trailers alone had fans persuaded, and his masterful portrayal of the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman soon had many comic book fans viewing him as the best Batman in film to date (yes, even counting Michael Keaton!).
It came as little surprise when DC Film announced a solo Batman film, and it was a no-brainer that Ben Affleck would both star in it – and write and direct it. But ever since that announcement, fans have been wondering what plot they were about to see adapted into the DC Extended Universe…
“Under the Red Hood”?
This was the first guess, inspired by a single fascinating scene in Batman v Superman. In the comics, Jason Todd was the second Robin, and was brutally killed by the Joker. Because these are comic books, Todd was eventually resurrected as the Red Hood, a brutal antihero who had a vendetta against Batman. His story’s already been told in the animated movie Batman: Under the Red Hood, but Batman v Superman included a telling scene; a battered Robin costume, graffiti sprayed on it clearly by the Joker. It left most fans convinced they’d see the “Under the Red Hood” arc sooner or later.
“Knightfall” or “Hush”
In May, reported:
“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.”
Two stories that feature “every major bad guy you’ve ever wanted to see” were “Knightfall” and “Hush”, both massively important stories in the Batman legend. Further reports have since suggested that Birth.Movies.Death’s initial article was right, but it looks as though these two plots are also off the table.
Ben Affleck wants to do an original story!
Now, though, is reporting a key quote from Ben Affleck – likely from the time he was writing the script:
“I think what I would do, what I probably would do, is in some ways what Zack did with this movie, which is to borrow certain things from the great comic books, but create an original story around it because I wouldn’t want the fans to already know the story and be familiar, but I would borrow, steal, great things that have been done before in the comics.”
While there will be homages, this promises a brand-new story rather than one strongly based on the comics. I realize that some fans will be extremely disappointed – “Under the Red Hood”, “Knightfall” and “Hush” are all dearly-loved stories, after all – but personally, I couldn’t be happier. As I wrote in an article based on the views of legendary comic book writer :
“Why is it we’re already asking which Batman stories Ben Affleck’s film will be based on? Why does it have to be based on any? Why can’t Ben Affleck do his own thing? After all, Tim Burton radically rewrote the Joker’s backstory for Batman, and you don’t (often) hear fans complaining about that. Why are we getting an animated movie of The Killing Joke, when DC could do something original?”
Batman is a phenomenal character, and I can see no reason to prevent writers and directors from telling original stories. Over in the games, the “Arkham Asylum” series has proved original stories can be a hit – all that matters is that they need to be done well.
Comic book fans have gleefully embraced the “Arkham Asylum” series because it so effectively represents the Dark Knight they know and love. It hasn’t mattered that the story is fresh and new rather than based on something first published years ago.
Ben Affleck has proved the quality of his Batman. Now let’s see if he can prove himself in a whole new way, crafting an original story that will bring joy to the legions of Bat-fans!
What do you think? Do you believe this is a good idea? Let me know in the comments!