While we have seen many different actors take on the role of Batman over the years, we have actually only seen two big screen Alfred Pennyworths. The first was Michael Gough, who played Bruce Wayne's butler in both the Tim Burton movies and the Joel Schumacher entries; and the second was Michael Caine, who played the part throughout Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. Because of this, Jeremy Irons actually has a surprising amount of freedom with his interpretation of the same part in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - and judging from his recent comments, he's taking full advantage of that fact.
Irons has been up at the Toronto International Film Festival this past week celebrating the world premiere of the new thriller High Rise, and it was while speaking with The Toronto Sun that the actor explained how we can expect his version of Alfred Pennyworth to be different from those we've seen before. He painted the picture of the butler who is much more pro-active than other versions, and can take action when needed. He explained,
Zack Snyder, the director, wanted to create a completely different Alfred. So I felt I didn't have to carry any baggage from previous ones. It's sort of a reincarnation if you'd like. I had a feeling I was creating my own Alfred, more of a man who can actually do anything if he has to.
To Michael Caine's credit, his version of Alfred did manage to knock out a guard from the League of Shadows, and rescue Bruce Wayne from a fire. That being said, it seems we can now expect to see a version of the character who won't cower away from foes.
"Foes" doesn't necessarily mean "the bad guys" either. As seen in the first full-length Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, he does a pretty good job pushing the Caped Crusader around:
If all goes according to plan, we should be seeing this brand new incarnation of Alfred Pennyworth for many years. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is just the start of Ben Affleck's reign as the new big screen Dark Knight, and where Batman goes, usually Alfred follows. Provided he makes it out of the Zack Snyder film alive, we full expect him to be in the next solo Batman film (whenever that arrives) and possibly even in the Justice League features that are lined up.