At this point in Batman’s screen adaptations, no one goes looking to him for a smile, and you shouldn’t expect one whenever his next solo outing comes to the big screen. According to JoBlo, Warner Bros., director Ben Affleck, and co-writer Geoff Johns are going to be using one of Batman’s biggest personal tragedies from the comics as source material for his solo film.
[Possible Spoilers Ahead]
JoBlo reports that Warner Bros. wants to use 1988’s “A Death in the Family” and 2005’s “Under the Hood” as the basis for the solo Batman movie. For those unfamiliar with the comics, in 1988, Joker beat the second Robin, Jason Todd, with a crowbar and then blew him up. Readers could call a 1-900 number to determine the sidekick’s fate, and they chose to let the character die. The guilt over Jason’s death has plagued Batman and made him reluctant to invite new members into his family of crimefighters.
Because death is meaningless in comics and really more of a timeout, Jason returned in “Under the Hood”, playing an anti-hero called the Red Hood. The Red Hood didn’t mind killing, and had a personal vendetta against Batman. Instead of blaming the Joker, he blamed Batman for letting the Joker live, and thus a new rogue was added to the gallery.
We already know from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer that Jason’s death at the hands of the Joker is likely to be in the DC Cinematic Universe continuity, as you can see from these images:
As JoBlo points out, this is Warner Bros. way of emulating the success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier—a former friend turned foe who might be turned back to the light side.
When it comes to casting Red Hood, JoBlo says that WB is looking for an unknown similar to how they cast Ray Fisher to play Cyborg. Also, it doesn’t really matter if they go with an unknown since (at least in the comics, anyway) Red Hood’s face is covered most of the time. JoBlo adds that they’re also casting Nightwing (aka Dick Grayson, the first Robin) for the solo Batman movie. Both Red Hood and Nightwing could make cameos in Batman v Superman, but JoBlo says that’s unconfirmed (and I think unlikely given how crowded the film is already).
If this story shakes out to be true, what do you think about Batman squaring off against Red Hood? It certainly has potential, especially since Winter Soldier had Cap and Bucky as lifelong friends, not mentor and protégé. There’s a different dynamic at play, and if the filmmakers can tackle it with maturity, it could make for a very cool film.
The story was previously adapted for a DC animated original series, and while the execution wasn’t the best (I have a tough time with anyone voicing the Joker who isn’t Mark Hamill), it at least seized on the cost of Batman’s resistance to kill his enemies. Jason Todd represents everyone who could have been saved or at least avenged if Batman didn’t have his “no killing” code in place, and he represents a direct challenge to that code.
It will be interesting to see how this all comes together, especially since JoBlo says the Joker will also be a player in Batman’s movie. Does that mean there will be Suicide Squad fallout as well? I’d much rather see a Red Hood cameo in Suicide Squad than Batman v Superman, since Suicide Squad is supposed to be the “darker” side of the DCCU (although matters looks pretty dark already, so handing it over to a bunch of murderers isn’t much of a leap).
Keep in mind that they haven’t even started writing the script yet, and we’re a long ways off from this movie. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens March 25, 2016; Suicide Squad opens August 5, 2016; there is currently no release date for the solo Batman film.