The Dark Knight returns, but who will play him?

Film editor Joe Holloran speculates on who will be cast as DC's next Dark Knight

Joe Holloran
20th May 2019
Image: Gage Skidmore at Flickr
Back in January Warner Bros. provided some rare good news about the future of the DC Extended Universe when it was finally confirmed that Ben Affleck would not be returning as the caped-crusader for any future projects. With the first in a new series of Batman films directed by Matt Reeves due out on June 25th 2012, fans are eagerly awaiting news of who will be the next to embody the role of Gotham's Dark Knight. With rumours abound and opinions divided between a few leading contenders it is time to take a look at the merits of the likely front runners and who the fans (including myself) want to see in the role.

Things have not been great on the Batman front of late. Fans and critics alike lambasted Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017) for their countless failings. Ben Affleck himself bore the brunt of the criticism from fans for his performance as Batman in both films. While it is clear that he was the wrong choice from the beginning to us fans it is amazing that the executives at Warner Bros. watched Affleck as Matt Murdock in Daredevil (2003) and thought "Yes, that's our guy". In fairness to them I think the idea of an older more jaded Dark Knight is a good one and something we haven't seen on the big screen before. That brings us to the contenders for Affleck's replacement.

What is most in Hammers favour is that he has already prepared for the role and even worn the costume.

Arnie Hammer - future Dark Knight. Image:IMDB

There are dozens of names being thrown around the internet, so I have chosen the three who I think would each bring something different to the role and then the one outsider who I think deserves the part. The nominees are Armie Hammer, Jon Hamm, Robert Pattinson & Oscar Isaac.

Let's start off with the bookies favourite Armie Hammer. The star of The Social Network (2010), the brilliantly underrated Nocturnal Animals (2016) and On The Basis of Sex (2018) certainly has the physic needed to play the role, and he has shown his ability to portray both troubled and tough characters.  What is most in Hammers favour is that he has already prepared for the role and even worn the costume, when, back in 2011 he was all set to play Batman in George Millers Justice League: Mortal. That project was scrapped in favour of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Hammer is favourite for a good reason.

Next up is John Hamm. While the Mad Men star is the fans choice for the role his background as a primarily comedic actor may hold him back. He has the look, is the right age for the role and has shown in Mad Men he has the ability to play a character who is quick witted yet dark and brooding. Still, I doubt he will get the role as I think they will go with someone who is seen as a more 'serious' actor. Sorry Kevin Smith.

Another name being banded about is Robert Pattinson. Although his filmography has improved greatly since the Twilight days (his turn in Cosmopolis one highlight) I just can't see him as the Caped Crusader. He is on the slim side physically and I don't know if his is capable of the level of character development the role demands right now. However, something tells me he may get the job. He is the bookies favourite for a reason.

Jon Hamm - A odd choice perhaps, but a popular one. Image:IMDB

Last up is Oscar Isaac. The Star Wars & X-Men: Apocalypse star certainly has pedigree when it comes to playing badass characters in high octane blockbusters. While he doesn't have the immediate appearance of Batman that the others have, I think his emotional range is greater than the other two and he has proven he can act affectively while hidden behind a mask and is convincing as both a hero and a villain. Something needed for the Batman role. Isaac is even less likely to get the part than Hamm though due to his lack of resemblance to Mr. Wayne.

So, who is my choice? My wildcard is David Mazouz who has just finished playing the teenage Bruce Wayne on the TV series Gotham (2014-2019). At 18 he would be the youngest Batman ever and I fear this alone will exclude him from the role on the big screen. Still I think he has proven since the age of 13 that he has what it takes to embody the role of Bruce Wayne, which is much more difficult than that of Batman. I also feel that he deserves a chance having given so much to the role over the years. Sentimental, I know. Unfortunately, something Hollywood doesn't do. Personally I think his young and clean-cut Batman facing off against the older more deranged Joker we are about to get in that titular film would be epic. Two comic book greats facing off for the first time in their stories. It won't happen, but hey, that is my choice.

Whoever is next to wear the cowl will do so knowing that their every scene will be scrutinized by fans the world over. Which is to be expected, but I just hope that these fans reserve judgement until the film itself comes out in a few short years. That seems only fair.

Baby Bruce & Jermone Valeska (Joker?) face off for the first time in a hall of mirrors.
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