With The Batman officially in production now, director Matt Reeves decided to bless DC fans with a major reveal: our first official look at Robert Pattinson's new Batman costume! As soon as the first look at the new Batsuit hit the Internet, fans started breaking it down. Comparisons have been made to Marvel's Daredevil costume; the Arkham game series; and Batman comic arcs including Earth One, Earth-2, Gotham By Gaslight, and Noel. However, the most standout part of the costume is no doubt the new Batman insignia, which has already inspired a major fan theory, that the new Batsuit is in part built using the infamous gun of Joe Chill.
Batman movie fans who haven't read the comics might now be wondering what all the talk about The Batman invoking Joe Chill's legacy actually means. Well, we're here to help answer the question: Who is Joe Chill? And what does he have to do with The Batman?
In Batman comic book lore, Joe Chill is the name of the fateful mugger who murdered Batman's parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne in a Gotham City alleyway, inspiring Bruce Wayne's lifelong quest to dispense justice. At first, Joe Chill was just presented as a random mugger in '30s Batman comics; in the late '40s the story was updated to give Joe Chill a full name and backstory.
The earliest version of that story, saw Chill graduate from mugger to small time crime boss, who is investigated by The Batman. When Bruce Wayne figures out that Chill is the crook that also murdered his parents, he confronts Chill as Batman, ultimately unmasking himself as Bruce Wayne. A frightened Chill ran away, telling his goons that he knows who the Batman is, since it was him (Chill) who created him. Furious that their boss is responsible for the Batman, Chill's goons gunned him down in cold blood, and he died in Batman's arms. Batman later learns that Chill was hired by mob boss Lew Moxon, who left young Bruce Wayne alive only to provide alibi that it was not Moxon who committed the murders, which sends Batman on a larger mission to bring down organized crime in Gotham City.
Later revisions to Joe Chill's origin story revealed that he was the son of a Ms. "Chilton" who was actually a Wayne Family employee for many years, and a beloved caretaker of Bruce, after his parents' deaths. "Mom Chilton" knew Bruce was Batman and even that he played a role in the deaths of her son Joe and his brother Max, but never revealed that to Bruce (nor did Alfred, who was apparently aware of the connection).
In the most recent iterations of Joe Chill's story (Batman: Year Two, New 52 Reboot), Batman has confronted Joe Chill at gunpoint, having to weigh the life-defining decision of whether or not to pull the trigger, and end Joe's life like the crook slaughtered his parents. Ultimately, Bruce doesn't kill Joe Chill in any version of the story, but definitely has to face his darkest self in the process.
Right now, Batman fans theorize that the Bat-insignia on Robert Pattinson's Bat-suit is actually comprised of pieces of Joe Chill's gun. That would be a powerful metaphor if The Batman truly borrows from stories like Batman: Year Two, in chronicling how Bruce Wayne jumps into the biggest case of his superhero career: solving his parents' murder. Seeing Batman truly straddle that line between killer and hero would definitely be something new for Batman movies.
Upcoming DC movies include Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey now in theaters, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5th, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, Black Adam on December 22, 2021, Shazam! 2 on April 1, 2022, The Flash on July 1, 2022, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.
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