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When the DC Cinematic Universe launched in 2013 with the release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, it did so with a young, fresh-faced Superman. That, however, was not the direction chosen when it was decided to relaunch Batman once again. Played by Ben Affleck, the Dark Knight in the DCCU is going to be seasoned and weary when we meet him in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, having spent years and years fighting crime in Gotham City. But while some fans may wonder if having an older version of the Caped Crusader is going to be limiting for the films going forward, writer/producer David Goyer actually sees the situation in a completely different light, instead seeing it as an opportunity to present movie-going audiences with something completely new.
With Goyer’s show Da Vinci’s Demons set to start airing its final season on Starz this Saturday, I had the great opportunity to sit down with the filmmaker and talk about many aspects of his career – including his work on the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (for which he wrote the initial draft and is working as a producer). Acknowledging that Warner Bros. and DC Comics surely have a big future planned for Ben Affleck’s version of Batman, I asked Goyer if the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster was concerned about the narrative restrictions presented by an older Dark Knight, and he explained why it was never something that they thought of as a roadblock. He explained,
I don’t think it’s a restriction. It’s a choice, you know, and there’s a different choice than some of the previous cinematic iterations, and it comes with its own restrictions, but it’s its own opportunity to do something different.
While we have seen just about every kind of Batman adapted over the years, most stories that filmmakers have chosen to tell have featured the hero in his crime-fighting prime – but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be special largely because of the source material on which it’s being based. It’s been made very clear that Zack Snyder’s approach to the film has been extremely heavily inspired by Frank Miller’s legendary book The Dark Knight Returns, which centers on a retirement-age Bruce Wayne completing his final campaigns in the cape and cowl. Obviously the new movie version of the character is expected to have many more fights coming in his future after this cinematic adventure, but there is a degree to which Snyder and Goyer are starting from the end of the story and stretching it further.
It may seem like an odd place to kick-start a much larger franchise, but David Goyer definitely has a point in that having an older Batman allows the creatives behind the upcoming movies to explore avenues that filmmakers haven’t before. This is especially true when it comes to the supporting characters who exist in the Dark Knight’s world. Not only can we expect major shifts in terms of the hero’s relationships with characters like Alfred and possibly multiple Robins, but now he’ll actually be able to have established histories with some of his greatest foes instead of just meeting them for the first time and then putting them away forever.
What do you see as the big advantages and disadvantages of launching the DC Cinematic Universe with an older Batman? Hit the comments with your thoughts.