Ben Affleck’s ‘Batman’ Reboot: 5 Possible Storylines
While most of our DC-related attention is fixed on the upcoming release of Justice League, it’s Ben Affleck’s standalone Batman reboot that really has us interested. Joe Manganiello has officially been cast as Deathstroke while Affleck is currently signed on to star — although that may change, according to recent, still-unconfirmed rumors.
Even if casting remains as expected, we still don’t know exactly what story the film will cover. But it’s never too early to begin speculating, so we did some digging and searched for some of the best Batman comic stories that fit the mold. Here’s what we found.
1. Batman: Knightfall
There are few Batman comic series more iconic than Batman: Knightfall. In it, the Dark Knight goes toe-to-toe with Bane, after the muscled-up villain begins releasing Arkham’s most dangerous prisoners. In a climatic duel, Bane breaks Batman’s back. We saw Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises borrow heavily from this story, but perhaps we’ll see something of a retcon with Affleck’s version. The most likely tweak would be to replace Bane with Manganiello’s Deathstroke, putting a new twist on the popular Knightfall series.
It’s worth noting that Affleck himself has expressed a willingness to play fast and loose with the comic canon, admitting that he “would probably do in some ways what Zack [Snyder] did with this movie, which is to borrow great stories from the great comic books but create an original story around it.” Swapping out Bane for Deathstroke certainly seems to apply, and would make a great starting point for any rebooted Batman movie saga.
2. Batman: A Death in the Family
One of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s many unanswered questions involves the brief appearance of Robin’s suit, which is sitting in a glass case with a threatening message from the Joker. This led many to jump to the simple conclusion that part of Bruce Wayne’s exceptionally dour demeanor comes from Robin’s death sometime in the past.
In the comics, the most well-known series involving this is Batman: A Death in the Family. In it, (you guessed it) the Joker kills the Jason Todd iteration of Robin in an explosion, something that aligns well with the graffitied Robin costume in Batman v Superman. Whether we’ll immediately see that story told is uncertain, but it’s a likely destination for a movie at some point down the road.
3. Batman: Hush
Batman: Hush is a series that would be an ideal first step for the new-look DC movie-verse. It’s a story that shuffles a cadre of popular Batman villains in and out periodically, featuring Catwoman, Clayface, Killer Croc, and the Riddler among others, before culminating in a showdown with the titular mastermind behind a nefarious scheme to ruin Bruce Wayne’s life.
Hush, also known as Thomas Elliot, grew up as one of Bruce’s closest childhood friends, later acting as a “dark reflection” of our hero. A potential film would have to involve Deathstroke in some way with the character already cast. That said, Hush features plenty of Batman baddies already, making the inclusion of Deathstroke easy enough to pull off.
4. Batman: The Court of the Owls
Here we have a potential Batman series that stands alone as an incredible, easy-to-adapt narrative. The basic plot follows our hero as he uncovers a mysterious cult that has been pulling the strings behind-the-scenes in Gotham for decades. Batman must thwart them before they take over the city entirely, showcasing his abilities as the world’s greatest detective as much as his physical acumen.
We have yet to see the Dark Knight’s intellect really shine through over his various films, and bringing that to the forefront would be easy if Affleck ends up using The Court of the Owls storyline.
5. Deathstroke (Battle Royale)
This one could just as easily be used for a Harley Quinn movie starring Margot Robbie, but it’s worth mentioning as a possibility here all the same. The Battle Royal comic itself is actually the fifth issue in a standalone Deathstroke series. Even so, the “Battle Royale” referred to by its title is decidedly Batman-centric, as the Dark Knight teams up with Harley Quinn to go in against the master assassin.
It has the potential to incorporate Robbie’s popular character back into the DC Extended Universe, while prominently featuring a showdown with the only other non-Batman character currently cast in Affleck’s movie. And while there’d need to be a considerable amount of additional story building to extend it out to a feature-length film, its climactic battle provides a good deal of inspiration.
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