Rumor: That Standalone ‘Batman’ Movie Won’t Be Set Entirely in Arkham Asylum
One of the hot rumors surrounding Ben Affleck’s standalone Batman movie was that it would serve as a kind of loose adaptation of Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, a haunting graphic novel that features Batman breaking up a riot at Gotham’s notorious insane asylum. Morrison’s comic is a darkly beautiful addition to the Batman mythology and seems to be perfectly in line with the kind of superhero stories Warner Bros. is looking for: for mature audiences and crammed to the gills with as many recognizable faces as possible.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Arkham Asylum might play a smaller role in the movie than some of us hoped. A new rumor from Heroic Hollywood editor-in-chief Umberto Gonzalez suggests that the standalone Batman movie will not take place entirely in Arkham Asylum. In hindsight, this shouldn’t be particularly surprising: now that Deathstroke has been announced as one of the major villains for Affleck’s film, the logistics of fitting him into an Arkham Asylum narrative in any meaningful way would seem pretty tough. You’d basically have to either keep him out of costume — which wouldn’t jive with the test footage Affleck released — or have him be the driving force behind the prison riots.
This is pure speculation on my part, but if the latter is the plan, it might make sense for Batman to borrow a bit from the Knightfall storyline of the early ’90s. In that series, the mercenary Bane staged a massive prison break in Arkham Asylum in an attempt to weaken Batman before taking him on directly; Bruce Wayne drove himself to the point of exhaustion to capture every escaped killer, and only when Wayne was at his weakest did Bane confront him directly. Borrowing that main storyline but replacing Bane with Deathstroke could be a fun way for Warner Bros. to have its cake and eat it too.
Either way, with Affleck’s talent as a writer, director and actor, his standalone Batman movie has to be one of the most intriguing superhero adaptations of all time. Here’s hoping Affleck has what it takes to bring together decades of Batman lore in a way that keeps everyone involved happy.