We are all going bat-wild thinking about Matt Reeves’ upcoming take on the Dark Knight. Luckily, we got some very interesting photos from the London set, which seem to include Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle in a comics-accurate costume from a lesser known 1999 series. So what does that all mean? Well, let’s dig into Batman: Dark Victory, how it’s linked to the set photos, and what ramifications it could have for The Batman.
Like so many Twitter discoveries, stan Twitter was the first to recognize that Kravitz’s on-set funeral attire seemed to reference a Batman comic. Batman: Dark Victory, the series in question, acts as a sequel to Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb’s The Long Halloween. We know that pulpy yarn is a big influence on The Batman, so it’s not surprising that the sequel is too. There’s plenty of great stuff that Reeves could be drawing on from Dark Victory. So without further ado…
Batman: Dark Victory begins with a funeral. In the comic it’s the funeral of Carmine Falcone, and it’s attended by none other than Selina herself. It’s implied that it’s not the first time she’s rubbed shoulders with the crime family, which lines up with what we saw on set. The photo, which shows Selina in a very similar costume to the one we see in Dark Victory, also seemed to show her attending a funeral with Carmine Falcone. It’s likely that this is the funeral of the recently murdered mayor, whom the Riddler has killed in the trailer. But why would Selina be with Carmine?
In the 14-issue sequel series from Loeb and Sale, she’s entangled with Carmine’s son Mario Falcone. Mario has returned to Gotham to help his brother Alberto—otherwise known as Holiday, the serial killer from The Long Halloween—get out of jail. Further, Carmine Falcone is dead in Dark Victory, leaving his daughter Sofia to run the crime family. Though readers are fed the idea that Two-Face is the killer in this comic, Sofia ultimately turns out to be the culprit. So, while it seems like the Riddler is the killer in The Batman, there may be a chance he’s being framed or set-up.
Beyond all that, there’s also another key part that the Falcones play, which seems to fit with Reeves’ vision for Gotham…
The Waynes’ Dark Secret
Matt Reeves has spoken about how The Batman will be connected to both the history of Gotham and the Waynes. From his teases, it doesn’t sound like any of that history is good. During a panel about The Batman at DC Fandome, Reeves explained that the corruption at the heart of Gotham will make Bruce reconsider his family’s legacy. That would fit in with the influence of Batman: Dark Victory, in which we learn that the Falcones owe a debt to the Waynes. Bruce doesn’t take this discovery lightly; he struggles to come to terms with the man his father really was.
Corruption in Gotham
Expanding on that corruption angle, at DC Fandome Reeves revealed more about the serial killer twist on his take. “The murders begin to describe sort of a history of Gotham in a way that reinforces what he knows about Gotham,” Reeves said, “but it opens up a whole new world of corruption that goes much farther.” Dark Victory follows a similar thread, as the corrupt police of Gotham are strung up and hanged. In the trailer, the Riddler seems to be killing politicians whom he sees as liars or corruptors of the system. This is exactly what the killer in Dark Victory does too, playing judge, jury, and executioner for the polluted Gotham police system.
Connected to the corruption in Dark Victory is the looming shadow of Harvey Dent’s heel-turn to become Two-Face. This turn pains Bruce as he grieves for his old friend. Connecting Bruce to his rogues has always been a great way of exploring his own morality, adding layers to his quest for vengeance. Maybe in The Batman his connection could be to the Riddler or even the Penguin; the Riddler does seem to know Bruce and his family in the trailer, so the younger casting of Paul Dano could mean that the two did know each other previously.
A Villainous Team-Up
Though I am not personally hoping for the Joker to appear in The Batman, Dark Victory does set a precedent of a supervillain team-up. In the series, the Joker, Scarecrow, and Two-Face all work together to try and take over the power vacuum left by the death of Falcone. While those big high-profile rogues are unlikely to just pop up and play a huge part in the movie, there are three villains already cast: Riddler, Catwoman, and Penguin. There’s plenty of comic book history pointing to the Penguin trying to step in and take over, what with the killings taking down corrupt politicians and potentially organized crime heads.
A Relationship in Turmoil
From what we’ve seen so far, The Batman will show us the early days of Bruce and Selina’s relationship. The pair have always cycled through being allies and enemies, and in Dark Victory their conflict is far more domestic. Bruce’s own struggles push Selina away. First into the arms of the Falcones, and eventually out of the country, when she leaves him and heads to Italy. We don’t imagine that Kravitz’s Selina will be hopping off on a European vacation. But if we look to the history of the couple in comics, and Dark Victory in particular, it’s unlikely that things will be smooth sailing for Bruce and Selina in The Batman.
A Young, Innocent Charge
As a direct sequel to The Long Halloween, Dark Victory continues the origin story of Batman. Thus, Sale and Loeb decided to add in one of the tenets of Bat-lore: Robin. After young Dick Grayson’s family is killed due to mob shenanigans, Bruce adopts the newly orphaned boy. We’ve still never seen a true live-action Robin who wasn’t already a 20-something-year-old man, so this could be an interesting route to take.
In the comics, Bruce adopts Dick and begins to train him, and at a crucial moment, Dick saves his adoptive father. In Dark Victory specifically, Dick is portrayed as a connection to Bruce’s ever-fading humanity. Fatherhood has often been a thematic thread in Reeves’ work, so it could be interesting to see a less outlandish and more humanist vision for the Bat-family. But how that would fit into the R-rated murder movie we’ll be getting is the big question.
We’ve got over a year until the movie hits screens, so expect plenty more theories to come!
Featured Image: DC Comics