Batman Rumors & Reactions
Batman has not been spared from the rumor mill and speculation, especially considering his long history in popular culture. Since making his debut in Detective Comics #27 back in 1939, Batman has become an icon that's been reimagined and reinvented numerous times across different media. This makes him a fertile ground for rumors, speculations, and conspiracy theories, each driven by the fans' deep connection to and curiosity about this enduring character. Let's take a look at some of the most captivating Batman rumors and explore why they've garnered so much public interest.
Casting Rumors & Fans' Reactions:
Perhaps the most prevalent type of rumor surrounding Batman pertains to who will don the cowl in the next movie. Such whispers start circulating the moment a new Batman film is announced. When Michael Keaton was chosen to play Batman in Tim Burton's 1989 film, fans were skeptical of the comedic actor playing the Dark Knight. However, Keaton's performance went on to be lauded.
Michael Keaton as Batman
Read more in this post: Why Michael Keaton's Batman 1989 Casting Was So Controversial
BY EL KUIPER updated Feb 18, 2023
Even Adam West who was Batman in the 1966 TV series expressed an extreme amount of dismay about the casting of Michael Keaton.
Adam West as Batman 1966 TV series with Burt Ward as Robin
Read more in this post: Why Adam West Didn't Take Michael Keaton's Batman Casting Very Well
by Witney Seibold / Jan. 24, 2022
Yet, this pales in comparison to the controversy surrounding Ben Affleck's casting as Batman for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2013. There was an immediate, protracted backlash, which didn't dissipate until the first trailer for Batman v Superman was released, and people started to see Affleck in the role Despite the initial outcry and #NotMyBatman social media campaign, Affleck's portrayal of an aging Batman eventually won many people over.
Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2013
Read more in this post: Ben Affleck Opens Up About His Batman Casting Backlash
BY Ben F. Silverio /JAN. 9, 2022
And not unexpectedly when Robert Pattinson was cast as Batman in the 2022 Matt Reeves Dark Knight Trilogy, there was a casting backlash as well.
Read more in this post :The Batman: Robert Pattinson Reacts To Casting Criticism, “It Was Less Aggressive Than When I Got Cast In Twilight”
By Koimoi.com Team / Mar 8 2022.
Robert Pattinson as Batman in the 2022 film, The Batman.
The fervor around casting rumors often stems from fans' passionate debates over who can best personify Batman. For many, their attachment to the character is so profound that casting feels personal.
The Identity of Batman's Parents' Killer
Who Killed Martha and Thomas Wayne?
The identity of Bruce Wayne's parents' killer has been subject to various interpretations and rumors. In some versions, it's a petty criminal named Joe Chill, in others, it's an anonymous mugger, and in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film, it was even reimagined as the Joker. Rumors and speculation around this identity often reignite during reboots or retellings of Batman's origin, given how central this event is to his narrative.
There have been different shooters over the years. While some were nameless and had no motivation worth mentioning, others were key players in what Bruce would later become. So many different characters have done the horrific deed throughout the history of the many movies and TV shows surrounding Batman.
In most iterations of story lines about the early years of Batman as a chilf, Batman's parents died from a random street crime. They were just targets of opportunity. However not all story lines follow this premise. In the Gotham TV series, it was actually a contract killing ordered by the Court of Owls, (the shadowy conspiracy that had been ineptly running things from behind the scenes) because Bruce’s father had been investigating them. In the 1950s a story line in DC comics revealed that the Waynes were killed in a different contract killing from a mobster angry that Thomas Wayne had testified against him.
In the 1960’s Batman Series which as more campy in tone, the death of Batman’s parents was still portrayed on a more somber and grim note. Interestingly, the Waynes are not seen in a flashback, as is common in most other forms of Batman media, and the killer was just a dasteardly killer with no other name.
The murder of Bruce Wayne's parent- 1966 TV series.
In the comic story arc Batman: Year Two published in Detective Comics in 1987, written by Mike W. Barr, and illistrated by Alan Davis and Todd McFarlane, the main story focuses on Batman as he is confronted with the dangerous vigilante Reaper, the severety of his foes forcing him to confront his codes and vows. Batman ends up workig with Joe Chill to kill the Reaper. After it appears the vigilante The Reaper is killed, Batman takes Joe to Crime Alley, the scene of his parents' murder. There he confronts Chill. But before Chill can admit what he did, he is gunned down. In 1991 a sequel called Batman: Full Circle, Chill's son (also named Joe Chill) appears. He seeks revenge for his father's death. Chill knows that his father had killed Batman's parents and attempts to drive Batman insane by using hallucinogenic drugs to trigger Batman's survivor's guilt over his parents' deaths. In a 1994 storyline DC Comics stated that Batman did not catch or confront his parents' murderer. They were able to spin that by having Batman see in an alternate timeline where Chill hadn't murdered his parents after all.
And just when yuo think ok, maybe it wasn't Chill, in the 2006 Infinite Crisis #6, DC writers has another cosmic crisis reestablishing that Chill murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne afterall. AND for the first time Joe Chill is actually arrested on that same night for their murder.
In the interactive video game Batman: The Telltale Series, it is slowly revealed that the Wayne murders weren't as random as Bruce was led to believe. His entire life, Bruce Wayne thought that Joe Chill killed his parents in a random act of violence. In this plot line Joe CHill worked as a hitman for Carmine Falcone and murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne on behalf of Falcone's ally Mayor Hamilton Hill.
DC Comic writers have over the years introduced just about every itereation about the death of Batman's parent that you can image. Joe Chill appears in Justice League Unlimited where Joe Chill gets beaten up by Bruce's father, rather than killing his parents. In Batman: The Brave and the Bold Batman finds a lead in the case of who murdered his parents. Batman locates a dying Lew Moxon, who reveals that Chill was a hitman working for Moxon, who shoots Thomas and Martha Wayne out of spite.
Joe Chill also shows up in the Batman Arkham Knight series as well in Batman Begins where he is depicted as a homeless man living in Gotham, who turned to crime to his poverty.
Joe Chill in Batman Begins Arkham Knight series
One night he mugged Thomas and Martha Wayne, who were leaving the opera, but the robbery went wrong and he ended up shooting and killing both of them. Chill was soon arrested by the GCPD and jailed. His cell mate is mob boss Carmine Falcone who eventually has Chill killed so he couldn't testify against Falcone.
Joe Chill- murderer video game Batman: The Telltale Series
Watch this video The Real Reason Bruce Wayne's Parents Were Murdered (Telltale Batman) and learn about what Martha and Thomas Wayne were involved in that would result in their murders. Hint: His parents wealth and image as Gotham saviors was just a front for the media.
In Season 2 of Gotham Bruce Wayne begins to conduct his own investigation into his parents' murders.
Gotham Season 2
In episode 13 Bruce locates Malone, who later seemingly confirms he is responsible for the murder of Bruce's parents. He asks Bruce to kill him, but Bruce holds back at the last moment and leaves the gun behind, leading to Malone committing suicide. In episode 18, Gordon discovers that the person who contracted Patrick Malone to kill Thomas and Martha Wayne is known as "the Philosopher."
"I've killed all kind of folks just about every way you can. Rich, poor, guilty, innocent. By hand, by blade, by gun. Burn just one guy to death, they call you Matches for the rest of your days. Life's funny, isn't it?"
Spoken by Matches Malone to Bruce Wayne
Matches Malone Gotham Season 2
The actor Michael Bowen as Patrick "Matches" Malone
Learn more about Matches Malone in this Fandom post.
And in the 2022 film, The Batman, although Joe Chill doesn't actually appear, rumors abound by numerous characters that the Waynes' killer was a hitman sent by either rival crime bosses Sal Maroni or Carmine Falcone, or simply a random mugger.
2022 film: The Batman - Matches Malone
Did The Batman Secretly Reveal Who Really Killed Bruce Wayne's Parents? read this post by By Paul Shirey / March 7, 2022
All in all, Joe Chills takes the award for being the most frequent character in the comics, and movies for being tied to the deaths of Batman's parents.
But there are many other alternatives such as in Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son. In this storyline, Martha and her husband are anti-communist protesters in the Soviet Union. They are executed by the NKVD under Commissar Pyotr Roslov, which leads to their son vowing to overthrow the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Or the storyline in Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty is a graphic novel published by DC Comics under the Elseworlds banner in 1997.The story follows a feud between the Wayne family and the immortal Vandal Savage, a feud which starts in the 13th century and ends in the 24th century. Thomas and Martha are saved from death by Valentin Sinclair, only for Sinclair to later have them killed when they threaten to expose his plan. Joe Chill shows up in this storyline! The Waynes, triggered by the fear-inducing henchman Scarecrone, cause them to remember the orignal mugging, driving them to flee Chill by running off their balcony and dying.
Batman Dark Knight Dynasty
by Mike W. Barr Sept 1, 2000
Is it frustrating as a Batman fan to have so many story lines reagrding who actually murdered Bruce Wayne's parents? With the movie plot lines, video games, graphic novels, and the numerous comic books' writers coming up with new and inventive alternatives, it's really hard to keep track.
The Death of Batman:
There's been numerous rumors about Batman's death in the comics over the years. Most notable was in Grant Morrison's "Batman R.I.P." storyline where it was implied Batman dies. This was followed by "Final Crisis" where Batman apparently dies at the hands of Darkseid. The rumor mill went into overdrive, with fans speculating on whether Batman was really dead and who would replace him. Eventually, it was unveiled that Batman was sent back in time.
In 1979 a DC comic story titled “Death of Batman” was featured with the release of Adventure Comics Vol. 1 #462 which follows a retired Bruce Wayne. The story line is abouta man named Bill Jensen,who has inexplicable power. He single-handedly defeats the Justice Society of America at the top of Gotham Towers. Jensen screams that he wants to avenge himself against Commissioner Bruce Wayne, whom he believes framed him in order to further his own career. When Wayne learns of the situation, he comes out of retirement to once again operate as Batman. When Jensen tears off Batman's mask and he sees Bruce Wayne he becomes so furious that his pwers out of control, consuming both men.
Death of Batman
Adventures Comics Vol 1 issue #462
We can carry on his work -- you as Robin, me as the Huntress -- but the Batman is dead. Only legends live forever... not the men who make them.
-- Helena Wayne
So is this it for Batman? Nope! It’s later revealed that this is Bruce Wayne from Earth-2.
The speculations about Batman's death are attention-grabbing because they challenge the immortality of comic book characters, invoking discussions about Batman's legacy and his role in the DC Universe.
But really...Batman has “died” at least 22 times throughout DC comics. Most of his supposed deaths were due to heart attacks or electrocution. There were a couple of “true” deaths stances but there were actually Batman figures, such as Batman of Earth-2, Earth-51, or Thomas Wayne. Batman fans can be relived that all other Bruce Wayne deaths were either faked, alleged, or only temporary. CC Comics can't knock off Batman permanently, now could they!
If you want to read about at least 22 instances where Batman supposedly died go to this post on Comic Basics: How Many Times Has Batman Died? Every Comic Death Explained
By Jeijei /June 7, 2023.
Or this post Every DC Character Who's Killed Batman, In Chronological Order by Sean Migalla / Aug 12, 1022
- - Batman Poisons Himself To Join an Ancient Secret Organization: Death-Cheaters of Gotham City. (August 1952)
- - Bugsy Carthart And His Gang Electrocute The Bat (November 1974)
- - Batman Is Burned Away By Bill Jensen (April 1979)
- - Batman Is Electrocuted Again By Elmo Galvan (May 1992)
- - The Joker Finally Finishes Off Batman (November 1994)
- - Emperor Joker Kills Batman In A Variety Of Ways (October 2000)
- - Tezumak And Gamemnae Take Out Batman And Wonder Woman (October 2002)
- - Batman Chooses To Die Instead Of Being Captured By Soviets (2003)
- - Wonder Woman Stabs Batman For Freedom (December 2004)
- - Ultraman Kills Batman With A Single Punch (January 2008)
- - Darkseid Zaps Batman With His Omega Beams (January 2009)
- - Thomas Wayne's Batman Is Killed By Enchantress (August 2011)
- - Batman Sacrifices Himself To Stop A Parademon Horde (July 2012)
- - An Alternate Future Batman Is Blown Up By Joker (2013)
- - Thomas Wayne Sacrifices Himself To Kill Many Villains (June 2015)
- - Batman Takes His Own Life After History Was Altered (2018)
- - Alfred Shoots Bruce Before He Can Become A Zombie (2019)
Alfred Shoots Bruce Before He Can Become A Zombie (2019)
Batman Turns Evil:
An Evil Batman- Dark Nights: Metal
A 2017–2018 monthly crossover comic book storyline published by DC Comics
In the late 2017 DC Comics event "Dark Nights: Metal," the Multiverse was invaded by the Dark Multiverse, where twisted versions of Batman and others turned evil. The rumor that Batman himself would turn evil added an unexpected twist to his character and attracted much attention. Well, according to an Aug 2017 press release the mini-series reunites Batman's New 52 creative team including writer Scott Snyder, artist Greg Capullo, inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist FCO Plascencia, for a dark crazy new adventure that introduces a realm known as "The Dark Multiverse". The Dark Multiverse exists outside of the 52 alternate universes in current DC continuity. It's basically the dark shadow of the DC multiverse, and a place where a terrible evil has spread from world to world. Batman and the Justice League against an army of seven villains known as the Dark Knights including an evil Batmen. One key question Dark Nights: Metal addresses is just how closely intertwined Batman's origin is with the evil Batmen of the Dark Multiverse.
Such rumors were tantalizing in 2017 as the story lines flipped our understanding of the character on its head, forcing us to reimagine Batman in a completely different light.
5 Things to Know Before Reading Dark Nights: Metal, DC's Epic Batman Crossover an article written by Jesse Schedeen Aug 15, 2017 will shed more light on these stories.
This post on OBOOKMART titled 10 Evil Versions of Batman breaks down 10 evil versions who are found on different Earths and storylines.
- - Owlman
- - The Murder Machine
- - Nazi Batman
- - The Batman Who Laughs
- - Vampire Batman
- - Red Son
- - Azrael
- - Black Lantern Batman
- - Damian Wayne
- - Batfleck
The Batman Who Laughs | Owlman
Black Lantern Batman | The Murder Machine
Changes to His Costume and Batmobile:
Batman's costume and Batmobile have seen numerous iterations over the years, each time inciting rumors and fan debates. For instance, when Batman's suit morphed into a bulkier, more armored version in Batman v Superman, it sparked conjecture about a possible shift in Batman's crime-fighting approach.
Each time the Batmobile design changes, it invites fan speculation about the Batmobile's features and Batman's character development. The attention these rumors receive can be attributed to the iconic status of Batman's costume and Batmobile - they're not just gadgets but symbols of his character.
Batman's New Vulnerabilities:
Just as Superman has Kryptonite, there have often been rumors about introducing new vulnerabilities for Batman. Some of these rumors were substantiated, such as Batman's vulnerability to psychological manipulation and trauma, as explored in stories like "Knightfall," where Bane breaks Batman both physically and mentally.
There are also rumors of Batman's possible defeat at the hands of his rogue gallery members or even his allies. For instance, there were speculations that Batman was going to be defeated by the Joker in "The Killing Joke" or by Superman in "The Dark Knight Returns." These rumors gain attention because they challenge the notion of Batman's invincibility and engage fans in a debate over who could realistically defeat him.
Batman's Love Life:
Batman's romantic relationships have also been a source of rumors. Speculations about his romantic involvement with characters like Catwoman, Talia Al Ghul, or Wonder Woman have all stirred controversy among fans. These rumors highlight Batman's human side, making him more relatable and deepening his character.
One notable rumor involved Batman and Batgirl in the animated adaptation of "The Killing Joke." This plot point was not in the original comic and sparked discussions about the nature and boundaries of Batman's relationships. Rumors like these invite fans to engage in deeper conversations about Batman's character beyond his crime-fighting persona.
Batman's Identity Exposed:
There have been rumors about Batman's secret identity being revealed to the world. This is a persistent rumor that springs up whenever a storyline involves a close call regarding Bruce Wayne's secret. Most recently, the "City of Bane" storyline in the comics had Bane publicly outing Batman as Bruce Wayne.
Rumors about Batman's identity being revealed are exciting because they challenge the fundamental premise of Batman's character - his double life as Bruce Wayne and Batman. They raise the stakes, generate suspense, and open up interesting narrative possibilities.
Changes in Batman's Origin Story:
Every few years, there are rumors about changes or tweaks to Batman's origin story, particularly in relation to his parents' murder and his subsequent journey to becoming Batman. Different writers and filmmakers have interpreted these events in slightly different ways, giving rise to speculation and fan theories. The attention these rumors receive is a testament to how central Batman's origin story is to his character and mythos.
Batman’s Allies and Sidekicks:
Over the years, Batman's cadre of allies and sidekicks has grown, including the various characters who've taken up the mantle of Robin, Batgirl, and Batwoman. Speculation often emerges about changes in these relationships or new additions to the Bat-Family. The introduction of Damian Wayne, Batman's son with Talia al Ghul, was a hotbed of rumors and speculation before it was officially confirmed in the comics. Similarly, there's often speculation about which Robin will appear in new Batman films or TV series, leading to debates about which version of the character best fits the current Batman incarnation.
The Batman/Joker Relationship:
The Batman/Joker relationship is a cornerstone of the Batman mythos, and it has been the subject of numerous rumors and fan theories. One of the most persistent is that the Joker knows Batman's secret identity but chooses not to reveal it because it would ruin their game. This theory gained new momentum following the Joker's actions in the "Death of the Family" storyline. Another rumor posits that the Joker is a former Robin. This particular theory was confirmed in the "Batman Beyond" animated series, at least in one universe.
Batman's Significance in the DC Universe:
Rumors often surround Batman's role in larger DC Universe events. For instance, there was rampant speculation about Batman's role in the "Flashpoint" event, which ultimately revealed a universe where Bruce Wayne died, and his father, Thomas Wayne, became Batman. Similarly, there's often speculation about Batman's involvement in other DC events, reflecting the character's central role within the DC Universe and the influence he has over the direction of its major narratives.
Thoughts on Batman's Retirement:
Along with rumors of Batman's death, there have been many rumors about Batman's possible retirement. This speculation often arises when the comics introduce a possible successor to the Batman mantle. For example, Terry McGinnis's debut in the "Batman Beyond" series ignited such discussions. These rumors can generate a lot of attention because they offer the possibility of exploring a Gotham City without Bruce Wayne's Batman, and the legacy he would leave behind.
Batman's Morality and No-Killing Rule:
A cornerstone of Batman's persona is his firm stand against taking lives. However, this doesn't stop fans from theorizing about situations where Batman might break this rule. In the "Injustice" storyline, Batman's moral code is tested when Superman becomes a global dictator. The moral debates and dilemmas presented in these scenarios lead to rich discussions and engage fans in contemplating the boundaries of Batman's morality.
The Bat-Cave's Location and Secrets:
The Bat-Cave, Batman's secret lair, is a subject of great fascination and rumor-mongering. From speculation about its hidden compartments to its actual location under Wayne Manor, the Bat-Cave remains a mysterious and tantalizing part of the Batman mythos. This is where Batman's true self is most visible, and any changes or revelations about the Bat-Cave generate great excitement among fans.
Batman's Relationship with the Law:
Batman's intricate relationship with Gotham City's law enforcement frequently prompts discussions. There are often rumors about his partnerships, particularly with Commissioner Gordon, or his clashes with the Gotham City Police Department, all of which add layers of complexity to Batman's crime-fighting crusade.
The Nature of Gotham City:
Rumors and theories also swirl around Gotham City itself - its real-world inspiration, its impact on Batman's character, and its future. Some propose that Gotham City signifies New York at night while Metropolis represents New York during the day. Other rumors discuss the symbolism of Gotham's cityscape reflecting Batman's psyche.
Batman and the Supernatural:
Despite Batman's grounding in reality, his interactions with supernatural entities often stir speculation. Rumors regarding Batman confronting supernatural elements usually arise when characters like the Spectre, Etrigan the Demon, or Zatanna are slated to appear in his stories.
Bruce Wayne's wealth is a recurring topic of conversation and rumors among fans. Questions often arise when Batman introduces a new gadget or upgrades the Bat-Cave. His wealth is an essential part of his character, enabling his superhero activities, and any speculation about it ties directly into his capabilities as Batman.
Batman's Future in Film and Television:
As a prominent cultural icon, Batman's future in film and television is always a hot topic for rumors. Speculations about the next director, potential storylines, and villains keep the fans engaged even in the absence of a new release.
A significant part of Batman’s mythos revolves around his extensive training in various fields - from martial arts to detective skills. Fans often speculate about the extent of Batman’s training and the mentors who guided him. Characters like Lady Shiva, Henri Ducard, and Richard Dragon in comics ignited rumors about their influence on Batman’s skills.
Batman and Science:
Batman is well-known for his scientific expertise, especially in forensics, biology, and engineering. There are often rumors and debates around the scientific accuracy of Batman’s methods and gadgets. These rumors and speculations get fueled whenever a new Batman story features cutting-edge technology or unique detective methods.
Batman’s Mental Health:
Batman's mental health and psychological state have often been subjects of speculation. Stories like "Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth," where Batman's sanity is questioned, fuel such debates. These discussions fascinate fans as they delve into the deeper and often darker aspects of Batman's persona.
The Potential for a Real-Life Batman:
A unique angle of speculation is whether a Batman could exist in reality. Advancements in technology and martial arts have fueled discussions on the feasibility of a real-world Batman, reflecting the universal appeal of an ordinary human possessing the power to bring significant positive change in society.
The Aging Batman:
As Batman has been around for over 80 years, fans often ponder how his character would evolve with age. Frank Miller's portrayal of an older Batman in "The Dark Knight Returns" sparked discussions about Batman's potential retirement and his role as a mentor to younger superheroes.
Crossover Stories and Collaborations:
Batman's participation in various superhero teams like the Justice League leads to speculations about possible crossovers and collaborations. These speculations about team-ups with other superheroes add to the anticipation for future storylines. For example, the rumors about Batman's collaborations with Superman, Wonder Woman, and other superheroes add to the excitement and anticipation for upcoming storylines.
Batman’s Moral Code:
Batman's unyielding principles, notably his refusal to kill, leads to ongoing debates. Fans speculate about scenarios where Batman might violate his no-kill rule. When confronting lethal adversaries like the Joker, these moral discussions about justice become particularly intense.
Successors to the Batman Mantle:
The question of who will take over from Bruce Wayne as Batman often captures fans' attention. The list of potential successors includes characters like Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Damian Wayne, and Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond. This kind of rumor raises questions about legacy and what it means to be Batman, which are central themes in the Batman narrative.
Batman's Gear and Gadgets:
Batman's gear, from his suit to the gadgets he uses, is a constant source of speculation. Every time a new comic series or movie is announced, fans start theorizing about Batman's potential gear upgrades. Batman's gadgets play a crucial role in his crime-fighting, and their innovative, often futuristic nature fascinates fans.
Batman's pets, especially the Bat-Hound and the Bat-Cow, have been subject to rumors and speculation. When Batman saved a cow in the "Batman, Inc." storyline, it ignited fan theories about a new pet for Batman, which indeed happened. These lighter speculations bring a touch of humor to Batman's typically serious narrative.
Batman's Non-Superhero Life:
Bruce Wayne's life outside the Batman persona is also a frequent topic of speculation. Fans wonder about Bruce Wayne's philanthropic endeavors and how he manages his business, Wayne Enterprises. These aspects add another layer to Batman's character, making him more relatable and human.
Batman's Time Travel:
There have been rumors and speculations about Batman time-traveling, especially after the release of the "Return of Bruce Wayne" storyline where Batman was displaced through time. This added a whole new element to the Batman narrative, showing him in different time periods and contexts.
Batman’s Influence on Culture:
The broader cultural impact of Batman often triggers debates. From his political symbolism to his influence in popular culture, these discussions acknowledge Batman as a cultural icon - for example, see Batman t shirts. Different interpretations of Batman, ranging from an authoritarian symbol to an agent of resistance, reflect the character's multi-faceted appeal.
Over the decades, Batman has become a global phenomenon, giving rise to countless speculations, rumors and theories. Whether they are true or merely conjecture, they enrich the ongoing dialogue about this iconic character, showing how Batman continues to evolve, reflecting the changing interests of new generations