No one in the past 30 years has had more influence on the portrayal of Batman in comic books, television, film and video games than Frank Miller, whose "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" and "Batman: Year One" remain seminal works. So it's perhaps no surprise that he might have an opinion about the direction the Warner Bros. movie franchise should take.
"My dream would be to make it much smaller," Miller told Variety at the Lucca Comics & Games convention in Italy, "to lose the toys and to focus more on the mission, and to use the city a great deal more. Because he’s got a loving relationship with the city he’s protecting. And, unlike, Superman his connection to crime is intimate; it has been ever since his parents were murdered. And he defeats criminals with his hands. So it would be a different take. But it will never be in my hands, because it would not be a good place to make toys from. There wouldn’t be a line of toys."
As Miller notes, that may be difficult advice for Warner Bros. to heed, as merchandising is such a crucial component to a studio's plans for both marketing and financing; a superhero movie without an expansive toy line would be shocking indeed.
Miller was also asked about Darren Aronofsky's abandoned movie based on "Batman: Year One" -- "it was much more down to earth" -- and his views on "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
"I’ll just say: ‘Thanks,'" he responded. "What can I say? — he laughs — no, actually I’ll withdraw that; I’ll say: ‘You’re welcome!’"
This isn't the first time Miller has commented on the Zack Snyder film. Asked his opinion in June, he replied only, “I was rooting for Batman," before going on to praise Ben Affleck's performance as the Dark Knight. “I liked it, he’s a good actor,” he added. “I mean, he’s obviously very, very close to this material and plays it with great affection.”
Affleck reprises the role in Snyder's "Justice League," opening Nov. 17, 2017, before going on to direct, co-write and star in a Batman solo movie, which could begin production as early as next spring. His "affection" for the character may manifest in his expressed determination to get the screenplay just right before moving forward on the project.
“I’m not happy enough with it yet to actually go out there and make a Batman movie, for which I have the highest of standards,” Affleck told a group of journalists in June on the London set of “Justice League.” “That’s something that would have to pass a very high bar for me. It’s not just, ‘Yeah, that might be fun, let’s go try this out.’”