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It has been thoroughly explained that the events featured in The Dark Knight Trilogy and the growing DC Cinematic Universe occur in two distinct realities. While the Christopher Nolan movies are set in a world with no superheroes, that very much isn’t the case with the emerging cohesive vision that will ultimately bring the Justice League together. But there is specifically one thing that really separates that characters of Batman, as played by Christian Bale and Ben Affleck in the two movie universes: while the former arguably got out of the superhero game right on time, the latter has arguably stuck around just a bit too long.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with producer Charles Roven at a Los Angeles-set press event for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and given that the filmmaker also famously worked on the Dark Knight trilogy, it was only natural that part of our conversation was about the line between the two most recent live-action interpretations of Batman. Touching on the subject early in the interview, Roven explained,
It’s a different universe, but we also wanted him to be a, you know, a more mature, more evolved guy. Christian left being Batman. This guy maybe stayed too long, right. He’s what Christian might have become had he stayed, but he didn’t. He told us that at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, so, and we thought, in the idea of Ben and the crafting of the script, those were things that sort of fed on each other. When it came time to go after an actor, he was really the top dog, because he brought so much to it, and when Zack met with him it was exactly the kind of character that he was interested in playing.
For those who don’t remember, the Dark Knight Rises certainly provided a firm conclusion for Christian Bale’s version of Batman. After being in hiding for many years (blamed for the death of Harvey Dent, among others), the Caped Crusader had one last fight in him to protect Gotham City from the havoc brought upon by Bane (Tom Hardy) and Talia al Ghul (Marion Cotillard.) After that, however – sensing he was coming close to the "live long enough to see yourself become the villain" threshold – Bruce Wayne decided to fake his own death and get out of the game for good (with Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman at his side). It seems that Ben Affleck’s version in the DCCU never found himself struck with this moment of clarity, and just simply continued to be the constant terror of villains in Gotham.
Charles Roven and the other folks around the production of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice want to make it very clear that the Dark Knight that will be on screens this weekend is very much a different take than what was featured in Christopher Nolan movies – and without giving anything away, one can definitely tell the difference between Christian Bale and Ben Affleck’s versions through their actions. Of course, the multiverse theory is so important in the history of DC Comics that one has to wonder if the two interpretations will stay separated and distanced forever…
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is in theaters this Friday, March 25th.