As 2014 creeps up on us and principal photography for Batman vs. Superman is expected to begin in earnest soon, it's no surprise that the speculation around the film has been reaching a fever pitch. As Warner Bros. are hard at work finishing up the script and getting together the look and feel of the world, rumors have been flying for weeks now about just how the company might handle Batman. The most commercially-successful superhero in their library, Batman is nevertheless not playing with the home field advantage this time around, appearing as he is in what's technically a sequel to this year's successful Superman movie Man of Steel. With Oscar-winner Ben Affleck in the part, though, there's no shortage of talk about the direction the character is going in, and it's hard to imagine he won't continue to be one of the, if not the, most talked about aspect of the movie as Warner Bros. sets about establishing a DC Cinematic Universe. For whatever reason, possibly because right now there are concept artists at work, a number of recent rumors have revolved around Batman's costume. Yesterday, we talked about a number of classic looks from the comics that are unlikely to show up on the big screen. This morning, it seemed like as good a time as any to look at some of the rumors, evaluate some of the candidates and see which costumes we think actually might pop up in Zack Snyder's film.
The Dark Knight Returns costume Basically a very slightly modified version of the "classic" Batman costume, it's entirely possible that The Dark Knight Returns--the story of a grizzled, aging Batman who comes out of retirement when crime has taken over Gotham again, only to find himself at odds with the government and in a throwdown with Superman--will be the basis for the Batman vs. Superman costume. After all, it was The Dark Knight Returns that inspired Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer in the first place, and Frank Miller (who wrote and drew the graphic novel) is advising on the film. It was a monologue from The Dark Knight Returns that Man of Steel actor Henry Lennix read onstage at San Diego Comic Con International this summer to formally announce that Batman vs. Superman was coming. The New 52 costume
Just before Man of Steel went into post-production, The New 52 launched. While the film side have said they had no idea what Jim Lee was doing when he redesigned most of DC's top heroes for the line-wide relaunch, it seems unlikely that they wouldn't be watching with interest when they're looking to update the Batman costume for the next generation...and one of the most popular artists in comics has just done exactly that. In fact, there have already been rumors that say Jim Lee's design is a touchstone for the movie's artists. The costume--once again, basically the traditional look but with a few updates, texturing, armor and seams to make it look more "real-world," is probably the most movie-friendly version of the suit we've seen in the monthly comics that wasn't just a retread of Tim Burton's all-black number. Batman: Noel costume
If you'd asked anybody about a year ago whether Lee Bermejo's Christmas-themed Batman story from two years ago would be one of the most talked-about stories leading up to Batman vs. Superman, they would have looked at you cockeyed. But following rumors that the Batman cowl had been patterned after the one seen in the story, everybody kind of looked at the art, said "Oh, sure, I could see that working," and started to look at that story as a potential look for the new Batman overall.
Batman: Zero Year Costume Based on Bob Kane's original designs with the larger "ears" and purple gloves, the Greg Capullo-redesigned Batman suit is an unlikely candidate, but if there's ever a flashback in the film, it could be used. After all, Snyder and company repeatedly referenced going back to the comic book source material for elements of Man of Steel, so it wouldn't be surprising--although probably is more likely to happen in a Batman solo film than it is here--to see a younger, slimmer version of Batman wearing Capullo's design. It's also likely to become a fan-favorite; Zero Year has been well-received, and pretty much anytime you let a popular artist redesign an iconic costume but assure fans it's temporary and won't be taking them out of their comfort zone for long, it becomes an instant hit.
Something entirely new This is what they've always done with the movies, after all; elements of the comic book costumes are incorporated but on balance, it's Hollywood who have the final say. There hasn't been a costume since Adam West's that really resembles the Batman of the comics, with Tim Burton's coming closest basically because the movie was so successful that it inspired the way he was being interpreted on the page. It's as likely that the version of the costume we'll see more closely resembles Burton's, or Nolan's, or nothing we can picture quite yet, as it is that any of the above costumes will be translated faithfully to the screen...especially since Kevin Smith, who claims to have seen the suit, says it's like nothing we've seen before.