Everyone knows that Bruce Wayne was first spurred to become Batman following the murder of his parents when he was a young boy - but sometimes it feels like there is some unwritten rule in Hollywood that says every feature adaptation of the comics must have their own version of that scene. Tim Burton did it. Christopher Nolan did it. And now it's looking pretty definitive that Zack Snyder is doing it too.
As we've been reporting these last few days, the production of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice recently moved to the city of Chicago - but while the location is expected to largely stand in for Metropolis (as it did in Man of Steel), new set photos have seemingly revealed that the Midwestern city will also be used for at least one sequence set in Gotham. The shots were taken by Instagram user Dan Marcus, and Batman fans will most certainly recognize the title on the marquee:
While it's abbreviated as "The Mark of Z," that's clearly a reference to The Mark of Zorro a.k.a. The Movie That The Wayne Family Saw The Night They Were Murdered:
The link between Zorro and Batman is an interesting one, as both are heroes who wear masks, fight crime, and stand up for justice. Obviously he was a strong influence on the young Bruce Wayne and helped him find his path in life. By including this marquee, Zack Snyder is respecting a very cool part of Batman's legacy, and it will be interesting to see how it plays within Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
As pointed out by Superhero Hype, there is a bit of an Easter Egg in Dan Marus' Instagram photos as well. While Batman creator Bob Kane was originally influenced by the Douglas Fairbanks-starring version of The Mark of Zorro (released in 1920), Zack Snyder's theater in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is very clearly showing the Mask of Zorro from 1940, starring Tyrone Power:
This is largely significant because it was the 1940 version of The Mask of Zorro that Frank Miller referenced in his legendary comic The Dark Knight Returns - which has revealed itself to be a massive influence on Zack Snyder's version of Batman. As we've written about before, the costume that Ben Affleck is wearing in the movie - with it's wide bat symbol and small ears - is basically identical to the design in The Dark Knight Returns, and the movie was even announced with a quote from the book read by Harry Lennox at San Diego Comic-Con 2013.
The extent to which Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice matches up with The Dark Knight Returns won't be fully revealed until the film is released on March 25, 2016, but we'll be waiting with bated breath.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.