“We do not comment on rumour and speculation” is a phrase we hear oh-so-often these days. Well, not here at Word of the Nerd!
When HitFix.com reported earlier today that Joseph Gordon-Levitt “absolutely will be appearing in Justice League as the new Batman” and will be making a cameo appearance in the upcoming Man of Steel, my fellow nerds and I were immediately rife with opinions.
Obviously, after the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Gordon-Levitt would be a no-brainer to star in the next Batman movie. However, Christopher Nolan said he wouldn’t direct another Batman movie, and recent reports claim that the next actor to play the Caped Crusader would debut in the upcoming Justice League movie, so the future of Robin John Blake seemed uncertain.
But now, that future seems a shade brighter. Thanks to director Zack Snyder, the potential for Man of Steel to become part of a bigger DC movie universe has never been higher.
It would seem that Warner Bros. is looking to follow Marvel Studios’ example of individual superhero films building to a team-up blockbuster. After the mind-boggling success of The Avengers, we certainly wouldn’t blame them for trying.
So the casting news can only be a good thing, right? Well, not quite. The idea of a Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake starring alongside Henry Cavill‘s Superman hasn’t been met with entirely positive feedback.
One of our Comics division managers, Hilton Collins, is big fan of Gordon-Levitt’s skill on screen but is not as keen on the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight joining forces if the man under the cowl isn’t Bruce Wayne. He’s also hoping for Blake to somehow end up being Dick Grayson, which seems very unlikely.
Samantha Cross, a writer for both our Entertainment and Comics divisions, would rather see John Blake become Nightwing (like the aforementioned Grayson) than Batman. She believes that Nolan’s stance against continuing his involvement in the franchise (apart from his producer role on Man of Steel), means that Warner Bros probably won’t want to continue his story into their next group of films. Sam also made a very interesting point about the confusion Gordon-Levitt’s casting may cause. Anyone who went in to the Justice League movie without seeing The Dark Knight trilogy beforehand would be instantly baffled as to why John Blake is Batman instead of Bruce Wayne. On the other hand, if John Blake simply changes his name to Bruce Wayne for the sake of continuing his legacy, it would also lead to much confusion with the audience.
My fellow British Correspondent, Jay Martin, agreed with Sam, stating that he’d love to see Gordon-Levitt continue Blake’s story as Nightwing and that it would make more sense to cast a new actor to take up the mantle of the World’s Greatest Detective in Justice League (much like Marvel did to great success with The Hulk) so that the momentum could carry over to the next Batman film.
Co-founder and Chief Creative Director, Jason Padua (JP to us lowly mortals) thinks it would be very difficult to maintain a balance between establishing Gordon-Levitt as Batman in his own right and acknowledging the history behind the name from Nolan’s previous films. If DC/Warner wish to create a larger universe, they would need to start fresh. Interestingly, he would also prefer to see The Dark Knight Rises’ Robin become Nightwing as opposed to the next Caped Crusader.
Personally, I’m very receptive to the idea. To me, The Dark Knight Rises was all about Christian Bale passing the torch (or in that case, the Batcave) to Gordon-Levitt. I wasn’t a big fan of that movie and Gordon-Levitt was my favourite part. In my opinion, if John Blake doesn’t become Batman (or at the very least, Nightwing) the impact of the ending of Nolan’s Batman trilogy is entirely negated. After being unimpressed throughout the majority of the film, the final scene had me literally cheering out loud in the cinema. I’m a big fan of the Batman Beyond series and I can definitely imagine Blake taking Terry McGinnis‘ stance as Bruce Wayne’s successor. Gordon-Levitt certainly seems to have the acting and physical prowess to do the Dark Knight justice like his predecessor did, so why not continue Christopher Nolan’s final awe-inspiring shot?
Less exciting, but also very much worthy of note, is that Hollywood.com has reached out to Gordon-Levitt’s reps, and they have refuted the rumours entirely. However, considering the fact that agents and representatives are very fond of not commenting on rumours and speculation, that statement may not hold as much weight as it seems.
We always want to hear what our fellow nerds think!