Special Feature: 'Batman vs. Superman' rumour mill

If you're a fan of superhero films (or comics for that matter), you're probably familiar with the basic details of the upcoming Man of Steel sequel. It's entitled Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2015) and appears to be every bit a prequel to an eventual Justice League film. Here are the basics: Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer will direct and write, respectively; Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman), Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman), and Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry/Aquaman) will comprise the bulk of the cast from a superhero perspective; Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Jeremy Irons (Alfred) and Amy Adams (Lois Lane) will also be a part of the project, and you can find the full cast and crew listings at IMDb.

But as much attention as this film has already received when it comes to casting rumours and things of that nature, the biggest bit of news that has trickled out has been the design of Ben Affleck's Batsuit. That's exciting for the true comic book fans, but the fact remains that we know almost nothing about the actual plot or content of the film. Still, we can at least attempt to piece things together based on the rumours and speculation that do exist. So here are a few possible plot concepts and details that are floating around.

Yet another Batman back-story?
The news that Affleck would step into the role of Bruce Wayne so soon after Christopher Nolan's epic Dark Knight trilogy nearly broke the internet when it surfaced. But oddly enough, another Bruce Wayne casting rumour has been far quieter. According to Cinemablend, Warner Bros. is actually looking into casting two more people for the role. They're both young boys, presumably to use in flashbacks or a backstory for the new Batman. That's an interesting idea to say the least, and one that raises more questions than answers about the new film. But the likeliest option is probably that the boys will be cast for only a few minutes' worth of screen time.

Aquaman already revealed?
There's a very strange rumour going around that Aquaman's influence already exists in the budding Man of Steel-based franchise. According to Toybox, the two whales seen faintly when Clark Kent is apparently drowning early in Man of Steel (after saving a crew of oil rig workers) may have been sent by Aquaman to save Superman before things ever really got started. It's an interesting idea to ponder, mostly because it places Superman in some manner of debt to his fellow hero before the two ever meet. However, it also seems a little bit cheap if Warner Bros. are going to use subtle and, frankly, pointless strings like this as depth in the Justice League connections. We'll have to wait and see what, if anything, there is to this rumour.

More Metropolis explosions?
This is perhaps the most worrisome possibility, given that Man of Steel was arguably ruined by an excessive, hollow, and absurd sequence of destruction in which Superman and Zod tore up half of Metropolis. It robbed the film of any intelligent hero vs. villain situations as Snyder and Co. resorted to building-smashing to get their point across. And while Lex Luthor is a villain with more intellectual potential - he's more a Joker-style schemer than a brute - he does have a history of destruction.

In October, IBTimes leaked some apparent film details from the set, including the potential of an "explosive" Batman vs. Lex Luthor fight scene. Some comics point to an explosive accident attempting to control Kryptonite as the source of Luthor's baldness. Even a Superman slot machine game hosted at Intercasino offers players the chance to "manoeuvre through meteor fields and destroy missiles in the Lex Luthor bonus." These concepts - comic context, film set leaks, and even online game details drawn from comic lore - are all indicators that while Luthor is more of a mind games sort of villain, there's plenty of potential to use the character in over-the-top action sequences.

A female Robin?
One of the hottest topics throughout Christopher Nolan's creation and release of the Dark Knight franchise was that he essentially ignored the character of Robin (though he teased the concept at the very end of the series). It's not quite known for sure if Snyder will follow suit in this regard, but there are actually rumours surfacing of a female version of the character. Specifically, Cinemablend made the observation that actress Jena Malone (from The Hunger Games series) may have been cast for the part and appears to have adopted a hairstyle reminiscent of Carrie Kelley. That's another name for the Robin character from Frank Miller's popular comic The Dark Knight Returns, which incidentally is expected to be the comic that has the most influence over the coming film.

How close will it be to The Dark Knight Returns?
Speaking of The Dark Knight Returns, one of the biggest questions surrounding Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice has become that of just how much of this comic saga we'll see in the new film. Zack Snyder has spoken openly about his admiration of this particular story from the DC canon and how it has influenced him. Basically, The Dark Knight Returns dealt with an ageing Batman coming out of retirement, so to speak, to fight crime in Gotham during Superman's prime on Earth. That's the main idea of the story, but there are obviously many plot details and interesting pieces, including the rise of Carrie Kelley, a Joker inspired by Batman's comeback, and so on. It will be fascinating to see how much of this beloved comic ends up on screen, and the comic may just be the biggest clue as to what awaits in the film.


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