Over the last couple of days a rumor as hit the web with a huge force, that is being Joseph Gordon-Levitt may be playing John Blake/Batman in the upcoming Justice League movie. The info first came from HitFix’s Drew McWeeny, who claims to have gotten word from inside sources.
The rumor itself indicated that initially when Gordon-Levitt’s casting came about and the speculation about his TDKR character John Blake went rampent, (the rumor being that his character was that he was Dick Grayson Aka Robin/Nightwing and he was to take over the franchise), the studio seemingly made a plan, watched how people took the character, and that plan eventually turned more solid once the big reveal was actually more widely accepted.
The news itself doesn’t actually come as a shock, while most accepted the idea of the inevitable reboot of the franchise after the departure of Nolan, TDKR did set up Gordon-Levitt’s character, John Blake, as the successor to Bruce Wayne/Batman.
However, the larger surprise of this entire rumor was how soon we may get to see Gordon-Levitt reprise his characters role, even as Batman. In that same report from HitFix, it also reported that Gordon-Levitt could play the character well before 2015′s Justice League, perhaps even in a cameo form for Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel next summer, which could also be part of the reason why Snyder has been so hush hush lately about anything regarding cameos, future plans, or a Justice League tie in.
While speculation went rampant for a couple of days, Levitt’s representatives shot down the rumor through a report made by Hollywood.com that the story is completely untrue, which led many to believe the source of the rumor was intended to actually spike interest in The Dark Knight Rises DVD/Blu-Ray release next week.
But it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a rumor like this one would be denied upfront, then later down the line proved to be completely accurate (look at about 90% of the rumors that surrounded the production of The Dark Knight Rises). So many are just chalking it off as a simple form of misdirection.
But would it be a bad idea to go this route? I certainly don’t think so, and here is why.
Growing up, Batman has always been Bruce Wayne. No doubt about it, even when I was younger and Bruce Wayne was MIA in the comics and John Paul Valley/Azrael was wearing the Batsuit, I always considered this to be a temporary thing until Bruce Wayne came back into play.
Why cant it be like this?
**Spoilers Ahead, click the link to read the rest of the story**
In the ending moments of The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne seemed to sacrifice his live by taking the Bomb that threatened Gotham City over the ocean to explode, presumably dying in the process.
Gotham mourned the loss of Batman and finally accepted him as the true hero of Gotham City, even raising a statue of him in City Hall.
Bruce Wayne was also presumed dead, likely under the false pretense that he was either killed or missing under Bane’s control, or was sentenced to death by Johnathan Crane’s court system that was targeting Gotham’s elite.
During the wake of this, and funeral for Wayne, it was revealed that Officer John Blake was really named ‘Robin‘ and was left a huge gift from Bruce Wayne, The Batcave, presumably to carry on his work as Gotham City’s new Batman.
Then the big reveal, Bruce Wayne is alive. In a classic ‘Bait & Switch’ Batman did not perish, but used the opportunity to leave town with Selina Kyla/ Catwoman to start a new life together in Europe.
The stage is set.
Naturally on one hand this is a huge and perfect ending for The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Warner Brothers wouldn’t be faulted if they decided to reboot the character.
But they shouldn’t have to.
Here is my pitch, continue Batman as is, no reboot. Have Robin/John Blake take on the mantle of Batman and reprise that role in The Justice League, and maybe even carry on a movie with him as a lead role. But have Gotham City escalate.
Make the reveal that John Blake was really a false identity for the character. The character already has all the makings and personality of Dick Grayson, so why not make him that character. Simple back story tweak can fix this, both of his parents are already dead, make the reveal that it was by the hands of the mob instead of a random accident, and that when he was left as an orphan he took a new name so they wouldn’t go after and kill him too. This way the fans get the character they wanted, and nobody would complain about the character becoming Batman.
The Dark Knight Trilogy was all about escalation, so continue that motif. In the wake of Gotham City’s siege by Bane and Talia, most of Gotham’s Elite, police force, and most of its underworld was seemingly killed through various means. That’s where the changes can begin.
Start with the introduction of that new class of criminal Joker Referenced. Have the mob reemerge from the wake of the Harvey Dent Act falling, being led by a new mob boss, Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot aka The Penguin. He can bring in some hired muscle such as Waylon Jones, etc. And with it, possibly introduce The Black Mask and have a fight for mob power between the two.
Easily other villains can be introduced through various means, but eventually this can all lead to the “revival” of Bruce Wayne. Naturally with Wayne gone, a gap in the high society of Gotham is clearly present, enter childhood friend of Bruce, Thomas Elliot aka Hush, who upset that Bruce is killed/MIA which prevents him to seek the revenge he always wanted on the Wayne Family, uses his surgical skills to change his face and take on the identity of Bruce Wayne. While naturally this facade can be portrayed in either direction, eventually it can be used as a plot device to cause the real Bruce Wayne to come out of hiding and assume his life again, and possibly even resume his role as Batman, leaving Blake to step down and assume the role of Nightwing.
Something like this could easily provide fans with a conclusion and continuation to the extremely successful take on Dark Knight films by Christopher Nolan.
While it is doubtful that Warner Brothers would take this path, knowing that is a possibility does give some fans some hope.