Jonathan Nolan Calls Batman the Black Sheep of ‘Justice League’

He also reveals which characters he never thought would work for Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City.

Jonathan Nolan talks Batman and Justice League
Jonathan Nolan talks Batman and Justice League
Jonathan Nolan, little brother of Christopher Nolan and co-writer of The Dark Knight Rises, might just make his directorial debut with Justice League, which is being set-up with a proposed 2015 release date. No director has been announced yet, but Jonathan seems like a likely candidate, especially since Christopher is rumored to be a producer and creative consultant. None of this will be confirmed or denied until the release of Man of Steel, which holds the fate of Justice League in its hands.

As is the case with such matters, both of the Nolan brothers have been coy about their involvement, but not necessarily quite. When asked about the film, Jonathan Nolan hinted that we will see a completely different take on Batman in this DC Comics ensemble, but he'll still be the black sheep of the family, so to speak.

"I'm incredibly excited [about Justice League]. I was a big Batman fan when I was a kid. In fact he was the only comic-book character I really liked. I went through a brief spell where I was reading Captain Britain, because I was an English kid living in the States, and Wolverine for 30 seconds, Spider-Man too, but really Batman was the one. And I love that there are different versions of the character. I love that in the context of Justice League, he's kind of the black sheep of that family."

The writer/producer than revealed which characters he never thought could exist in the Nolan universe version of the DC Comics world. He also explained the Robin gag at the end of The Dark Knight Rises.

"Clayface or, indeed, The Penguin. Part of what's compelling about Chris's take is the naturalism of it and I think that's one of the things I loved about the Frank Miller comic books was that they were sort of urban, gritty vigilante stories first and foremost. So everything had to stick within that universe. It's hard to imagine [in these movies] any of the rogue's gallery characters who have sort of a more supernatural or science-fiction bent to them. And I think that's one of the aspects of Batman which are fascinating: in 70 years, the character has been sort of fully laundered. Because of writers and artists having every month coming up with a different story to tell with this character, there are often different genre aspects to it. You have your science-fictions, you've had fantasy elements along the way, horror, camp comedy... I mean there are so many different versions.

It is a little hard to imagine Robin working in that universe, so the idea had to be limited to that gag at the end. But Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character is very important to the story. In any movie you need a character looking at proceedings the way you see them, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character is that character for this film. One of my favorite scenes is when John tells Bruce how he knew he was Batman. It's like that scene in The Prestige where the little kid sees through Christian Bale's trick. Little kids, they don't have any illusions, they just see the truth of the situation. I feel there's a kind of spiritual connection between the two movies there."

To read more from Jonathan Nolan: Click Here!

Justice League Part 1 comes to theaters November 11th, 2017 and stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller. The film is directed by Zack Snyder.

Sources: Empire
Tags: Batman

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Comments (46)

  1. Youngrizo

    Sounds like someone's drinking their own koolaid....

    2 years agoby @youngrizoFlag

  2. Superman81

    Also if they did go the Stewart route with GL I think maybe Michael Ealy would be a decent pick.

    2 years agoby @superman81Flag

  3. Superman81

    I think Serinda Swan would be a good choice for Wonder Woman. She has the look and has been in the DC universe on Smallville. I would pick Ryan Gosling for Flash. Green Lantern should be left as Ryan Reynolds unless they plan on a complete reboot.

    2 years agoby @superman81Flag

  4. ejk1

    @Steve-UK-FilmFanatic I think Ramsey is the more logical choice because of expense.

    2 years agoby @ejk1Flag

  5. skywise

    Sure they can recast the part as they will obviously do, but the bottom line is that Bruce Wayne IS Batman.

    ....unless of course your going with Batman Beyond in which Bruce Wayne plays the Oracle essentialy. That is something I can get behind BUT when your talking about modern Gotham City Bats...thats all B. Wayne.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  6. skywise

    @penguin-9026 There have ben 2 other Batman's as @instead8909 mentioned below but @renodc makes a greast point.

    Batman is one of the most beloved superheros of all time. There are hardcore comic fans to please as well as people who only know the movies. Either way, If some other person put on the cape and cowl I believe it would turn a LOT of the primary audience away.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  7. renodc

    @penguin_9026 Answering your question posed to Skywise on Why does Batman have to be Bruce? The answer is simple: history. Historically, anytime DC or Marvel has attempted to replace an original alter ego it is met with intense displeasure, so from a marketing standpoint they wouldn't take that chance.

    2 years agoby @renodcFlag

  8. Steve_UK_FilmFanatic

    @ejk1 If a new Green Lantern is in play (especially John Stewart) then Idris Elba is the perfect John Stewart, just a shame he is part of the Marvel Universe as Heimdall.

    Carl Urban would be great as Batman, but is already the lead in one comic book franchise (Dredd) which would make it difficult for him to be successfully as Batman.

    2 years agoby @Steve-UK-FilmFanaticFlag

  9. WongFu

    I stopped reading the Batman comic's a long time ago, but to my knowledge there was two others Azrel took the mantel and Dick Greyson.

    I still want Nolans Batman to be in the JLA, it's sicking that they want to reboot it. I wish they would just expand it into the supernatural world.
    I'm fed up seeing films being rebooted especially superhero's.

    2 years agoby @instead8909Flag

  10. penguin_9026

    @skywise Why does Batman have to be Bruce? Because people who read a comic once in a blue moon and watch the movies that call themselves fans only associate Batman as Bruce?

    2 years agoby @penguin-9026Flag

  11. David garcia

    Well there are rumors the JGL will make a cameo in the man of steel, but if he is nightwing,that In the comics, he becomes the new batman. Which we might see that.

    2 years agoby @David-garcia-67788063Flag

  12. skywise

    JGL CAN NOT be Batman, It has to be Brice Wayne. Ienjoyed th ambiguous ending as to just what exactly JG would b ecome - t seemed as if they ere hinting thathewould be the new batman - offscreenofcourse since "it doesnt matter who wears the mask, Batman is symbol."

    I liked that idea but the more i think about it the mre Batman HAS to be Brce Wayne - recs or whaever - Bruce Wayn IS Batman.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  13. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    Only reason why the thought of Carano would work for me is because anything I care about the heroine is her beauty and ability to kick glorious ass.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  14. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @ejk1 Lost's Evangeline Lily would also make for an excellent WW.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  15. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @ejk1 Lovely. Aquaman would work as a sequel hero addition, though if they manage to put him in the front on the first go, then so be it.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  16. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @mieko-siede Preach my friend!

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  17. ejk1

    @bawnian-dexeus Interesting. There is the big issue of who is going to actually be in the film, which is why I posted the link to IGN earlier today. She based her choices off of characters from the "No Longer New" 52, but the story DC is planning on using has different characters. Clearly problematic, DC may be going for a story that does not include some of those mentioned, opting instead for Orion, Firestorm, and others that audiences will have no clue about.

    But let's assume that DC will smarten up, and switch some of the lesser knowns for the right roster for a JLA film. This is the way I see it:

    Superman: Cavill. Whether MOS is a good film or not, whether Cavill is good in the role or not, DC basically pinned JLA to MOS by announcing its arrival a mere two years later. Superman is not Hulk. He isn't that guy that plays on the periphery, and is a green monster half the time. Superman is the lynchpin. He IS NOT interchangeable. If Cavill isn't the guy, that means MOS wasn't good, which means JLA shouldn't even get made. So Cavill, hopefully for the best, is the guy.

    Batman: Lee Pace. Karl Urban is a good choice as well, but I love the Pie Man. Dude can act, and he has the right look for Bruce Wayne.

    Green Lantern: I'm playing WB/DC executive in the post. So, I have to make an executive decision. Quite simply, Cyborg would kill my movie. He would just feel like an Iron Man/ War Machine/RoboCop rip off. So I'm replacing Hal Jordan with Jon Stewart. And I'm using David Ramsey, who plays Diggle on Arrow. It's an in-house actor that brings the diversity needed, and a cost-effective one at that.

    Wonder Woman: Gina Carano would kill my film. WW is more than muscles. Morena Baccarin is the easy pick. As a matter of fact, after Cavill, this is my easiest no-brainer.

    Flash: Jensen Ackles. And I'm replacing Barry Allen with Wally West. Why? Because I'm banking on the fact that kids and young adults will want to see my film. And they'll remember West from the JL cartoon. And the Young Justice cartoon.

    Aquaman: Here is an issue. Why use Aquaman for a film that takes place in space? Odd. I'm going to table whether I use this character for now. Something tells me a Thanagarian or the Martian Manhunter would fit better.

    Anyways, that's how I would play it if I was in charge at the present moment. Of course, if I was in charge at the present moment, I wouldn't be going about this in the way they are, but it's their call. I have qualms with their M.O., but I will support them.

    2 years agoby @ejk1Flag

  18. Mieko_Siede

    @bawnian-dexeus Well thank you. I think while these articles are read they aren't being internalized for what they are. We don't know anything as of yet but if Man of Steel is the bridge that could bring about a Justice League movie what we've seen of the trailers so far show promise. We already see the influence that Nolan has in the film. It looks more like a Nolan film than a Snyder film to be honest. Still, that's based on what we've seen thus far. If a large scale catastrophic event was to follow the melee of that film that would bring the worlds finest heroes out into one melding pot forced to work together while having separate agendas under the right direction and story telling it could be awesome. Imagine all the villains we could see merging together when their nemesis rivals are drawn out into the open. Imagine the heroes building bonding relationships as they learn to accept each other's methods--while they learn that they don't truly stand alone. And then to find that the influence is hinged on Darkseid's manipulation for a greater threat of domination.

    I would only suggest that for the first film, only as a dramatic effect, Superman shouldn't appear near the end at a point when all seems to be lost. He descends the air while to us there is only the sound of his cape snapping on the breeze and the sight of traveling down through dark clouds. Finally to be followed by the whooshing sound of his body making contact with the open atmosphere before the earth is shook by his thunderous impact to the ground. Taking a slow heroes stance as we are faced by the red of his cape and the back of his head taking the sound from the field of the fallout as all eyes are averted toward him before the battle commences again.

    There's an archive of so many characters that could be brought into the fray. There is no reason this couldn't be a great film unless it just isn't handled with care. The articles before about the POSSIBLE direction of the Justice League movie isn't the gospel until we see it come to fruition for ourselves.

    2 years agoby @mieko-siedeFlag

  19. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @mieko-siede Good lord man...don't think I could have said it better. Ever!

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  20. Mieko_Siede

    @Number1Wolverine There was a theme to the Nolan trilogy. The characters that were in his world had their extremes but he still managed to ground them in his realm of hyper-realism. They fit because they abide by the physics he'd incorporated in that series of movies. There is nothing supernatural in hallucinogenic drugs. There was nothing fantastic about Bane's dependency on the mask. There was no mystery to the psychotic break when Harvey Dent had over half his face burned all while suffering from grief and writhing pain. The concept was deception. There was the deception of phantasm--the deception of supernatural-ism--whilst the characters were very much grounded. Jonathan Nolan was very much correct in his assessment that the likes of a Clay Face wouldn't fit logically in the world of The Dark Knight series. Penguin on the other hand, he could have easily fit but that was more like rambling.

    I think Jonathan Nolan, if the speculation is true, could make an impressive directorial debut with The Justice League. Bear in mind, he spoke on what didn't work in the world his brother had created but also went as far as to point out that his Batman would be different from the one of the previous series. It's The Justice League so one has to assume that the level of phantasm we could expect would be much greater than that of Christopher Nolan's imagining. Certain laws of physics would vary. And if this leads into expansion films such as another Batman series, the door would be left open to see those much more artificial characters we've come to love throughout Batman's history. To rival Marvel's Avengers, they'd have to use a different approach rather than create a carbon copy of what we'd already seen this past summer. That means a blend of fantasy meeting grounded elements could do it some real justice. I'm just open minded though. I've always been a bigger DC fan than Marvel and I think with the right moving components they can make a worthy movie for the fans.

    2 years agoby @mieko-siedeFlag

  21. Bawnian©-Dexeus


    Need your opinion

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  22. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    As for younger Nolan directing, well, WB has one shot at this so, the choice is theirs. I'm not voicing my opinion on director's "right for the job" anymore. I'm tired of the Joss Whedon comments and such.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  23. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    Besides, Batman is a part-timer, so most likely he'll just say "If you need me, and you WILL, call me."

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  24. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    If Nolan wanted to use Penguin, it would have been easy to have a midget with a birth defect who carries umbrellas because of his mother's fears. So we didin't get him, big deal. Don't get so butt hurt. Call me crazy, but Scarecrow's gas is something that can actually be used (did we not forget biological warfare?), Bane's mask kept him alive...and for God's sake, she never even looked like a cat. Only her gadget glasses made it seem like cat ears. Hmm...what else? Nah, rant over. Carry on

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  25. Superman81

    I think if Jonathan is chosen to direct he would probably do a fine job. He needs to make it his own movie though and not try to be like his brother.

    2 years agoby @superman81Flag

  26. ace889

    Karl Urban should be Batman!!!!!

    2 years agoby @ace889Flag

  27. ROFLitschristian

    HA! ...Black.

    2 years agoby @ROFLitschristianFlag

  28. Sean

    @Roberto-Mata Yes, he is a great choice. I'd really like to see what his "different take" would be like in a Batman movie as well.

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  29. Ryan West

    Okay, how exactly does Penguin NOT work in the Nolan verse? He cites no reason why. As far as I know he's not really fantastical nor is he sci-fi like, so I see no reason why he couldn't have been used. Sure, some of his plots can be a little out there but that could easily be circ*mvented with different ideas working off of each other. He would have worked just fine considering the strong mob element that existed in the first two films of the trilogy. The Penguin is the ultimate mob boss of Gotham. I don't see why the hell this couldn't have been done.

    2 years agoby @Ryan-WestFlag

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