Bob Kane — the celebrated and sometimes controversial co-creator of Batman — posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday, and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” director Zack Snyder was there to honor him. As the latest filmmaker to bring Batman to the big screen, Snyder discussed Kane’s legacy during the ceremony, highlighting the enduring pop cultural footprint of the Dark Knight, more than 75 years after the character was first introduced in 1939’s “Detective Comics” #27.
Snyder said he had a realization while finalizing Ben Affleck‘s Batman suit for “Dawn of Justice.” Though Snyder and the film’s costume designer, Michael Wilkinson, had a specific vision they executed, he realized it wasn’t something that they could fully claim as their own.
“He wasn’t really the Batman I had imagined,” Snyder told the crowd outside of Guinness World Record Museum, where Kane’s star will reside, just steps away from ’60s TV Batman Adam West’s star. “Bob really had put him there in my mind, through years of TV shows, comic books, movies. I realized that we all — every single one of us — has a Batman, an imaginary Batman, in our minds. lurking in the shadows.”
A major part of the appeal, Snyder said, is that enduring trait that has made Batman distinct for decades, since he was first created by Kane and writer Bill Finger: The fact that he isn’t actually as “super” as other superheroes of his caliber.
“Batman, unlike Superman or Wonder Woman or Flash, is a guy without powers,” Snyder said. “He’s a man. He’s all of us. I think that’s it. We all carry around a hero inside of ourselves every day. It’s that guy. It’s Batman. I thank Bob for that. we all owe him a debt of gratitude. In that hero that we carry around, we realize that the hero is us, because he’s just the man. In truth, we are all the Batman.”
Following the ceremony honoring Kane, who passed away in 1998 at age 83, CBR News talked one-on-one with Snyder for more insight on his take on Batman for next spring’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
CBR News: Zack, you discussed during the ceremony the development process of finding your take on the Batman costume. I’d like to hear some more insight into what that process was like for you — did you come in with a very strong idea, and how much did it evolve along that way?
I think that’s it. I had a really strong idea about what I wanted to do — I really wanted to do sort of a fabric-based Batman; not what’s become the more normal, armored Batman. That’s how we evolved it.
It was also made official that Batman is the superhero that has had the most film adaptations. What was it like for you, stepping into a character like this, and what new elements did you want to bring to the character that viewers haven’t seen before?
I definitely wanted an older Batman. I wanted a war-weary Batman. That’s why, in a lot of ways, Ben was really perfect for me — we kind of aged him a little bit. It worked really great. I’m really excited about the Batman we created.
A lot of has been said of the Frank Miller influence on the film — “Dark Knight Returns” has an older Batman, in conflict with Superman — how much of that do you see in the final product? And were there any other specific creators that were an influence on you?
There are so many great artists who have drawn Batman. So many great comics that have been created — it’s countless. I was talking to Frank about it: “Dark Knight Returns” was such a big influence on me, that I wanted to to honor him through imagery in the movie. You could still make “Dark Knight Returns” into a movie, if you want. That’s what I’m saying, as far as how much we used and how much we didn’t use. The visual elements, there are some that I homage, but I don’t think the movie [is an adaptation].
But the influence is there.
Definitely the influence.
At this point, it seems like people have a specific idea of what this movie is going to be — very serious, there’s not going to be any humor in it — do you think there are some misconceptions out there?
All people have to go on are the first two trailers. They’re going to see more when we show more. You’ll learn more.
Directed by Zack Snyder, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is scheduled for release on March 25, 2016.