It’s only been four years since Christian Bale’s Batman finished his run in The Dark Knight Rises, and for many fans, that version is their favorite live action iteration of the character. Naturally, when Ben Affleck takes over as the Caped Crusader next year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there are going to be comparisons made between him and his predecessor, but according to Affleck, doing that isn’t necessary.

When asked if he analyzed Bale’s Batman performance to help prepare for the role, Affleck told French magazine Studio Cine Live (via Batman-News) that he doesn’t compare the two versions since they’re so radically different in tone. In his words:
I don’t want to compete with other incarnations, nor do I want to emulate them. Those versions belong in another universe. Christopher Nolan used his Batman to tell a finite story. My version is different, but remains faithful to the Batman mythology and all the themes associated with it. The other difference is that Nolan’s Batman isn’t part of a universe where other superheroes exist as well. Here – because we’re working towards the Justice League – there’s Superman, and it’s a world populated with super beings. This situation generates an altogether new reality.

Affleck’s right in terms of how their realities result in different storytelling. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy followed how Bruce Wayne became Batman and his early days fighting crime in a more realistic Gotham City…followed by one last hurrah eight years later. When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice kicks off, Bruce Wayne has 20 years of crimefighting behind him, and although he’s dealt with a lot during this time, (including freaks dressed like clowns), his world is about open up when he starts interacting with Superman, Wonder Woman, and the DC Extended Universe’s other super beings.

The Dark Knight Trilogy is also one of the few tales that’s given the Caped Crusader a definitive ending, whereas Affleck’s Batman won't be giving up his life as the shadowy vigilante anytime soon. So even though both versions are "Batman" at their core (losing his parents, using weird gadgets out in the field, etc), they’re living in drastically different worlds, so comparing the two is a fruitless endeavor.

As Affleck also noted, his Batman has a bright future ahead of him in the DCEU, which is ironic given how dark his life is. Only five months after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he’ll stop by Suicide Squad, and it’s rumored he might also appear in Wonder Woman. This leads up to Justice League: Part One, where he’ll help form DC’s most well-known team of superheroes, and this alliance will continue in 2019’s Justice League: Part Two. If all this weren’t enough, there are also plans to give Batman another series of solo movies, so he’ll be kept busy for the foreseeable future.

We’ll see the new Dark Knight in action when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, 2016.

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