While much of the focus in comic book movies is obviously given to the heroes themselves, there are great supporting roles for characters who are just as famous as the heroes themselves, and sometimes the actors playing them are even more famous. Oscar winner Jeremy Irons portrays Bruce Wayne's Butler Alfred as a man who is capable of catering to his employers' needs, in all aspects of life, even when he needs to be a superhero. He was inspired by servants who could have potentially done the same thing in real life.
I remember an evening with Paul Getty, who was a neighbor of mine, now sadly dead. We drove up to his lovely house. A very nice gentleman opened up the car door. Then another very nice gentleman took the car and parked it somewhere. Another nice gentleman took my coat. And then another nice gentleman gave me a glass of champagne. And all those nice gentleman were SAS. I thought, that's Alfred. He's a man who will take care of his boss, whether he's making coffee or pouring champagne or flying his airplane.
Alfred's history is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not made clear, but if it turned out he was a member of the British Special Air Service it would not be surprising. Alfred comes across about as badass as his boss, and based on Jeremy Irons comments to Variety, that was the plan. The branch of the British army is responsible for things like covert reconnaissance and counter-terrorism. They're some of the absolute best of the best. As butlers, one must assume they were capable of doing literally anything their employer needed. If their boss needed them to build him a suit of body armor they could probably get it done.
While Alfred has been portrayed in different ways throughout the years the Jeremy Irons version of the character certainly knows what he's doing in the Batcave as much as he does in the kitchen, perhaps more so. Alfred quite often plays the part of Bruce Wayne's conscience, and he does this in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well, but while Michael Caine's version in the Christopher Nolan series never really approved of Bruce Wayne's decision to be Batman, it's clear that Jeremy Irons portrayal is on board with the whole thing, even if he doesn't necessarily have the same opinions of Superman.
It will be interesting to see where the character of Alfred goes in the DC Universe from here. He'll next be seen in the upcoming Justice League and will surely be part of Ben Affleck's solo Batman movie as well. As the universe grows will Alfred find a place in it that isn't simply at the side of one hero? He could probably be useful for the rest of the team as well if Batman will let him.
Justice League will be in theaters November 17, 2017.