The great thing about a shared universe is having characters not necessarily a part of the comic book a hero is based on, pop up in movies that all take place in the same world. You know what I mean. Like when Tony Stark rolled up to General Ross at the end of The Incredible Hulk, or when Loki did a very authentic Captain America cosplay in Thor: The Dark World. Of course, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are thinking along those same lines as they construct an interconnected world for the DC Comics-based characters. Exhibit A is the team-up of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. And now it looks like that Exhibit B is going to be 2016’s Suicide Squad, which, according to rumors, may want to be called Batman V. Suicide Squad.
According to Forbes of all places, Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight Detective will appear, in the flesh, in David Ayers‘ Suicide Squad movie. “I’ve heard for weeks that Batman will appear in Suicide Squad, supposedly in an in-story scene, likely at the end of the film and focused on certain circumstances involving the Joker (which I won’t spoil here).”
It’s an interesting development, but hardly surprising. There are already two Batman villains in the film, The Joker played by Jared Leto and Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie. Previously, Latino Review posted that Batman would appear, but on a video monitor, however the rumor of a full-on Batfleck appearance teased by Forbes has a secondary function, which is to set up the next solo Batman film. And that movie’s going to be sourced from some very popular and nearly sacred comic book material.
“This would set up the Joker as a possible/likely antagonist in the solo Batman movie that’s planned in the next few years, and which I’ve heard will take some inspiration from Frank Miller’s comic book series The Dark Knight Returns — the third issue of which is a story about Batman facing off against an escaped Joker,” added Forbes. “I’m also told that Gotham City Police Commissioner Ellen Yindel (who replaces James Gordon during the comic book story) is planned for inclusion in the film.”
Bold maneuver, Warner Bros. I know that comic book fans complain a lot about character reboots all starting again with origin stories, but picking up Batman at what is, in essence, the end of his career? Amazing. This, of course, may be pure supposition no matter how good the source that gave it to Forbes. It’s worth noting that a solo Batman movie is not even on the current schedule of DC Comics films that Warner Bros. announced last year, and that list takes us through 2020. (Although the door was left open for additions in the form of future solo films for both Batman and Superman.)
Obviously, there’s a lot riding on Dawn of Justice next year, and with the studio looking to start sewing the seeds for future films with immediate effect by cutting and pasting Batman into Suicide Squad just a few months later after Dawn of Justice is released. Warner Bros. must have supreme confidence in what Zack Snyder is cooking, and/or in the internal planning for this shared universe. I think fans everywhere are hoping that their faith is justified because reaction to Man of Steel was pretty evenly divided between the enthusiastic and the revolted.
So for Bat-fans it looks like you can follow along with the Caped Crusader in next year’s Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad, Justice League Part 1 in 2017, and Justice League Part 2 in 2019. Solo film, apparently, to be named later.