Is The Batman Suit and Story Influenced by Batman: Earth One?

The Batsuit sported by Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne in The Batman appears to be influenced by Batman: Earth One, an alternate-universe graphic novel penned by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. The Batman writer-director Matt Reeves on Thursday premiered the first look at Pattinson's Batsuit, which appears to have stitch-like lining in its thinner, leather-looking cowl sitting atop tactical armor more reminiscent of the Batman: Arkham video game franchise. A fan-edited version of the suit — re-colored to do away with the red-hued version presented in Reeves' camera test footage — offers a better look at the "stitches" lining present above Batman's eyes, featured prominently in Frank's "deliberately amateurish" iteration of the rookie Batman's Batsuit.

"The costume was not really thought of as a costume so much. The idea of the costume — which will continue through the rest of the books — is not traditional. It's a piece of equipment," Frank previously told io9. "It's something that he patches together, and there will never be a finished article. The costume will evolve with Bruce's needs. We won't have a definitive Earth One Batman costume. It's not something Bruce has designed because he'll have a line of action figures — it's simply something he puts on to achieve his goals."

Frank continued, "We started with a simple design. He's wearing a pair of Doc Martens and pointy ears. It's deliberately amateurish. It's the costume of somebody who has no idea what he's doing, the costume of someone who's unsure if he'll ever wear it again. When we go into the next book, he has a clear idea of what Batman's costume should be. He'll adjust it accordingly."

Batman Earth One Gary Frank
(Frank's designs for Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman: Earth One. Photo: DC Comics)

Centering on a just starting-out caped crusader who investigates crimes committed by mask-wearing serial killer dubbed "Birthday Boy," Batman: Earth One reveals a link between between the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents and Mayor Oswald Cobblepot, who in the traditional DC Comics is recurring Bat-foe best known as the Penguin. This young Batman also teams with Gotham City police detective Jim Gordon, who is unraveling a mystery involving the kidnappings of teenaged girls.

Incidentally, The Batman is said to follow the costumed crime-fighter in his second year as Gotham's sworn protector. Jeffrey Wright's James Gordon has reportedly not yet become commissioner, a role filled by Pete Savage (Alex Ferns), while this less experienced Batman will encounter multiple already-established rogues when he sets out into the Gotham underworld while unraveling a conspiracy.

"The Batman will explore a detective case — when people start dying in strange ways, Batman must go deep into the dark world of Gotham to find clues and solve the mystery/conspiracy connected to Gotham City’s history and criminals," reads reported plot details leaked in September. "In the film, all of Batman Rogues Gallery are already out there and active, similar to the comics and animated shows/movies. The film will have multiple villains, as they are all suspects."

A second volume of the Earth One comic book pit Batman against a clue-dropping serial killer — this one called the Riddler — before ending with the reveal of Catwoman. Both characters are set to appear in The Batman, portrayed by Paul Dano and Zoë Kravitz, respectively.

Despite the seeming similarities to Earth One, Reeves has said The Batman is not inspired by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's classic origin story Batman: Year One or any other specific graphic novel.

Reeves so far has only said his film is "going to be definitively Batman and new and cool," describing The Batman as "a tale that is defining for [Bruce] and very personal to him." Reeves may have been hinting at Pattinson's Batman uncovering the truth behind his parents' murder, as the young Bruce did in Earth One: Volume One.

While not an origin story, the noir-inspired The Batman will tell a story that is "emotional and yet is really about him being the world’s greatest detective and all the things that for me, since I was a kid, made me love Batman," Reeves said in 2018.

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Johns was once developing a Batman movie alongside then-Batman actor Ben Affleck, who at the time was attached to direct the film before the project passed to Reeves.

Also starring John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Jayme Lawson, and Andy Serkis, Reeves' The Batman opens June 25, 2021.

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