9 Performers Who Could Believably Answer the Bat-Signal in a Post-Bale Gotham
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Batcowl Revisted: 9 Performers Who Could Believably Answer the Bat-Signal in a Post-Bale Gotham

By Rob Payne | Seriously Random Lists | January 2, 2013 | Comments ()


Anyone who follows movies, and anyone who follows Batman specifically, has known that, for better or worse, Warner Bros. will keep financing Batman movies for as long as the character's franchise generates profits consistent with several sovereign nations' combined GDP. With the latest announcements that an actual Justice League movie scheduled for 2015 has a plot and villain lined up, that Zack Snyder's forthcoming Man of Steel will help set it up, and that Michael Caine is totally ready to return as Alfred Pennyworth as soon as somebody asks, it no longer seems outside the realm of possibility that Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight universe could continue on even after the director and his lead star have left, rather than getting the hard reboot treatment.

It's been a month since Joseph Gordon-Levitt's people denied rumors that he will be appearing in Justice League, much less a new Batman, but as we approach the new Superman flick's release date we're bound to start getting more concrete news on the topic. After all, if shooting starts in 2014 then a script, a director, and a cast will have to be in place by the end of 2013.

Before that happens, let's see if we can figure out where WB and DC can go next, shall we?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Without spoiling The Dark Knight Rises for the two people yet to watch it and are interested, JGL taking the role would be the easiest and cleanest way to continue the Gotham (never "Gotham City") Nolan created. We movie fans seem to love us some Nolan-Batman, and while there are plenty of other stylistic avenues and genres to go down with the character, the recent trilogy is almost too successful for the studio to just abandon on the steps of an orphanage. For profit-reaping purposes, of course, not necessarily for creativity's sake.

Anne Hathaway
If continuing Batman by way of JGL's Robin John Blake would be the simplest solution, then continuing Catwoman with Anne Hathaway would be the easiest to embrace. Her Selina Kyle had enough layers and motivations to carry at least one film of her own, set either before or after Rises, and those qualities immediately make it a better idea than the Halle Berry version. That is probably the definition of "damning with faint praise," but that doesn't change the fact Hathaway was the best part of the entire movie.

Armie Hammer
Hammer here was actually already cast as Batman, in one of the earlier incarnations of the Justice League movie project proposed before Rises even began filming. He is probably best known as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network or as the prince in Mirror Mirror, but I haven't seen either of those things. Apparently I should know him from the canceled-too-soon "Reaper" as the son of Ray Wises' devil, but I honestly can't remember him at all and I loved that show. But if this recent image from The Lone Ranger is any indication, he can definitely pull off the mask.

Ryan Gosling
To be honest, though, when I look at Armie Hammer I can't shake the feeling that he looks like a less-wealthy man's Gosling. So why not get the real Baby Goose and call it a day? We already know he can pull off the requisite darkness and intensity, but he even looks enough like Christian Bale to pass off nearly seamless transition. Bruce Wayne isn't traditionally blonde, true, but neither was James Bond until Daniel Craig took the role and 007 seems to be working out just fine.

Ben Affleck
But maybe the character needs someone with experience playing pulpy, noir-ish super heroes. As much as I'd like to see The Shadow's liberal Twitter hero Alec Baldwin as Batman, he's too old to play Wayne in anything but a Batman Beyond adaptation. (Which isn't a bad idea, actually.) So instead, let's get Daredevil's liberal HBO hero Ben Affleck. With his small, yet impressive, directorial track record (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo) he'd also make an interesting choice to follow Nolan at the helm. That chin really deserves a better class of criminal.

Jessica Chastain
Some time ago I wrote an SRL suggesting possible adaptations from other Bat-media that Warner could tackle; one of those was the basically legendary Batwoman storyline from the pages of Detective Comics by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III. I'd still love to see Kate Kane on the big screen, and after Zero Dark Thirty Chastain seems like an ideal choice to bring her to life. Consider Maya's career one that Kate might have had if not for being a lesbian who was ceremoniously kicked out during the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell phase. If you're not sold yet, here's a sapphic photo of Chastain posing with Kat "Meow-Meow" Dennings.

Pete Holmes
But if we want to go really outside the norm and try a Batman movie that's never been done before, at least not since Adam West donned those blue and gray pajamas, because trying to follow Nolan is just that hard an act: intentional comedy. Holmes is a stand-up comedian with an addictive podcast, but his satirical take on the super-self-seriousness of the Dark Knight cycle is probably his best, most hilarious work to-date. As an added bonus, he looks exactly like once and former BatmanFat Kilmer.

Bradley Cooper
But that's probably too far, isn't i? If we want something different from Nolan and Bale, we'll have to lighter but not so light it loses any of the relevancy people have to expect. So we'll go watered down with a snarkier, milquetoast Bruce Wayne and a one-liner spouting Batman somewhere between RyRey's Green Lantern and RyRey's proto-Deadpool. Someone in Hollywood really wants to cast our beloved Emu in a blockbusting super hero flick, and a rebooted, mediocre Bat-movie to tide us over until the next legitimate run might just be his ticket. As long as they stay far away from his proposed Crow remake, film as an art form ought to survive this.

Jon Hamm
That said, why worry about trying to recapture the magic, or churning out a guaranteed moneymaker before a good idea comes along, and not just make something different enough to be worthwhile of its own accord. Why not take the material as seriously as Christopher Nolan but forsaking some of that verisimilitude to allow for more fantastical stories and Rogues Gallery members, similar to the current Marvel method? Why not a straight-up adaptation of the Gotham in "Batman: The Animated Series" starring Don Draper as a Batman in the middle of his crime fighting career? The rumors of Hamm as Superman never made sense to me; he isn't the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone really hopes makes it happen, he's the guy in the rated R movie we aren't sure if we like or not yet. The fact that he can make even "The Ambiguously Gay Duo" work in live-action means he can do anything.

As always, whether I like them or not, your Bat-ideas and Bat-gestions are welcome in the comments.

Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He would say he isn't chomping at the bit for more Batman movies, but that would be a lie.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • logan

    wow. great list. all the pajiba faves are here.

  • Guest

    Without spoiling The Dark Knight Rises for the two people yet to watch it and are interested

    That's me!!!

  • duckandcover

    I stopped reading, just to comment that Jessica Chastain as Kate Kane is goddamned inspired. She's about the only one who could pull it off. People's dream casts online can't get beyond Evan Rachel Wood.

  • dizzylucy

    Of this list I would guess Armie Hammer is the best choice. Hamm could do the Bruce Wayne part nicely, but I can't see him as Batman. Bale handled both so well.
    Bradley Cooper? What?

  • Bodhi

    Personally, I think that TJ Miller is a zillion times funnier than Pete Holmes, but PH's batman is goddamn funny

  • John G.

    That Batman series is NOT funniest thing Pete Holmes has done. The funniest thing Pete Holmes has done, and continues to do, is try and relate anything his guests say to his marriage. I've seen him take the most amazing trials and tribulations and begin sentences with "It's like my marriage". It's not intentionally funny, but it makes me laugh every time.

  • Mr. E

    Two words:
    Jaleel. White.

  • zomgmouse

    To be honest, the only person I can see as Batman in an adaptation of Batman Beyond is Clint Eastwood. Or maybe Christopher Plummer.

  • duckandcover


  • NoPantsMcLane

    Timothy Olyphant. Always Timothy Olyphant.

  • Maguita NYC

    Say, are you by any chance related to one Pants_are_a_must?

  • Idle Primate

    gosling and JGL both seem way too small and nebbishly shouldered to play batman

  • toblerone

    Donald Glover. PERIOD.

  • Blake

    Who would down vote this?

  • Affleck seems to have the brooding part down. He gives the look of a tortured soul without having to try too hard. JGL can do just about anything. So I'd be cool with those two doing it. This is actually a really tough choice beyond those two. Bale is so freaking good that I have a hard time imagining someone else as Bruce.

  • BLZ Bubb

    Will Smith?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    1) Gosling does not look like Bale.

    2) that still of Drive really confirms my decision not to see Drive

    3) Hamm would've been a lovely Superman, but he is too old. He is likewise too old for Batman, at least a standard version.

    lastly...nice to see Pete Holmes getting love, even if it's super random. He is sweet & hilarious.

  • duckandcover

    Hamm's not too old to be Batman. He's 41, around the standard age of Bruce Wayne in nearly every incarnation of the series, excluding origin stories.


  • duckandcover
  • toblerone

    1) Gosling does not look like Bale. Well he is Caucasian so...

    If Hamm is too old than Affleck should also not be on this list (Hamm is a whole year older than Affleck...)

    Drive is awesome.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    You know what? I stand corrected on this one (not Drive) - I thought Hamm was a good decade older.

    I didn't even bother with Affleck's age because, though I love Affleck in certain situations, just a big "no" for Batman.

  • Maguita NYC

    Not many who had watched The Machinist at the time would have ever thought Bale would make an exceptional Batman.

    So why not Gosling. His performance in Drive was truly breath-taking. Yes, it was a film noire, yes, it was mostly quietly driven by surprising background 90's-technopunk-like music, but all that so the erupting moment pops your ears and blows your mind... While disturbingly turns you on.

    Be prepared for the genre, then watch the movie. Let me know if you change your mind about Gosling.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I dislike the extreme violence that I know Drive to contain. I don't have anything against Gosling as a performer. But he does read too boyish for me for Batman in particular.


    What Halle Berry version?

  • theotherone

    Not this guy?

  • cooky

    no Fassbender??? he's got the acting chops *and* the perfect jaw.

  • seanx40

    No, Fassy as the Joker.

  • theotherone

    His continuing to play Magento would be problematic.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Magento is the super-fabulous-villain Ian McKellan wants to play.

  • Maguita NYC

    I was about to say that "magento" is no match to Sir "cerulean" McKellan...

  • Yeah, that's why I left him off.

  • carrie

    i guess Armie Hammer :he's rumoured since some years and i guess everyone forgot how Ben Affleck was awful as Daredevil
    and Bradley Cooper dreams to be the next Batman

  • seanx40

    To be fair, Affleck was awful in Daredevil because it was an awful movie at every level. His slight acting skills were just part of that train wreck

  • BlackRabbit

    I'll grant you 80-85%% awful. Michael Clarke Duncan was great and perfect casting.

  • Samantha Klein

    Armie Hammer? Sign me up.

  • FrayedMachine

    I really would rather see JGL as Nightwing because seriously make it happen.

    However, Hamm as Batman? Make that a little NC-17 and i will be all over that please and thank you.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Hamm as Batman? But then they would need to go back to the over-sized cod-piece; and it would have to be retrofitted to hang to the right.

  • Brown

    Hamm as Batman and JGL as Nightwing could be all sorts of awesome.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Perhaps the best choice for the next Batman would have been Tom Hardy, had he not been used for Bane.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Does it count if you can't see his face?

  • Maguita NYC

    Or actually hear his voice?

  • Natallica

    Gosling, no. Sorry, but no. He's a boy. Bruce is a man.

  • duckandcover


  • lowercase_ryan

    Affleck as Batman with Damon as Robin. You'd watch. You know you'd watch.

  • Would have to be the other way round.

  • Natallica

    Minnie Driver would be Catwoman? Robin Williams as Gordon?

  • Hell yeah, I would.

  • Groundloop

    "...Hathaway was the best part of the entire movie."

    False. Though as you point out her character had more than sufficient layers and motivation, and she was appropriately feline and sexy in the Cat suit, the best part of the movie was Tom Hardy's Bane channeling a young, drunk Sean Connery.

  • I'd rank them 1 and 1A, but fair enough.

  • Groundloop

    Fair enough indeed. We have an accord Sir.

  • Blake



  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you for that scream. Mine was chillingly silent in my horrified state.

  • That reaction may not be dramatic enough, actually.

  • Blake

    I was going to write your post off as a drunken egg nog ramble but Cooper as Batman? NO.

    Cooper as the Flash? Maybe. Aquaman would be the best fit.

    I am all for Jessica Chastain to play Kate Kane but I'd prefer to see her as a villain (especially a Bond villain).

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