Standalone movies featuring the Caped Crusader will be an important step for Warner Bros as they attempt to establish their own on-screen universe, but they have a tough act to follow. Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" movies left a profound mark on pop culture, and the character as re-imagined by Zack Snyder will be instantly measured against Christian Bale's take.
So as we look ahead to the future of Batman, let's consider what is likely to be different than what's come before.
The whole idea behind this new version of Bruce Wayne when Zack Snyder and WB were casting him was reportedly that he would be older than previous Batmen, in the tradition of Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns," an inspiration for "Batman V Superman." The actor they found only ended up being a year older than Bale, but the characterization may find its way into the films. It will be interesting to see a Bruce Wayne that has been put through his paces as Batman and spent years and years fighting crime. That would diverge from one of the biggest criticisms of Nolan's trilogy — that his Wayne wasn't Batman for that long before quitting, returning and then retiring.
A World of Superheroes
Nolan's more realistic Batman is gone. The Dark Knight of "Batman V Superman" lives in a world filled with people with ridiculous, often supernatural powers. And as Gordon explained in "Batman Begins," it's going to escalate. Batman will have to meet people like Superman and Wonder Woman in terms of his comic book-iness if he has any chance of surviving. This could mean anything from more over-the-top gadgets to heightened fighting skills, but expect a more otherworldly Batman.
The closest Nolan ever came to the Boy Wonder was a cheeky nod at the end of his trilogy, but since "Batman V Superman" is taking some notes from "The Dark Knight Returns," a full appearance from Robin wouldn't be that surprising. There are already rumors of Nightwing (a.k.a. grown-up Robin) making at the very least a cameo, but we haven't heard much about that in months. Still, before Nolan took over, Robin was an essential part of Batman's character. This could be the place to restore it.
We'll find out just what kind of Batman Ben Affleck is when "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" hits theaters on May 6, 2016.