How to avoid rehashing elements from the Nolan Trilogy


Apr 14, 2010
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As you may or may not know, WB has confirmed that Nolan's trilogy will remain as a stand-alone piece as opposed to part of a shared universe and that the success of MOS is what will determine whether or not a shared universe will happen as well as the tone & style of it.

"It's setting the tone for what the movies are going to be like going forward, In that, Man of Steel is definitely a first step. Nolan's Dark Knight series was deliberately and smartly positioned as a stand-alone. The world the films lived in was very isolated, without any knowledge of other superheroes. What Zack and Chris have done with this film is allow you to really introduce other characters into the same world."

From what we've seen of MOS, it seems to be made in the same vein as the Nolan films and more specifically, in the same vein as Batman Begins and The Dark Knight - an origin story, the idea of this being Batman/Superman at the start of their career, the grounded & real world feel of the films, the realistic angle, the social commentary that is apparently present in both films according to the people that saw the early screenings and described MOS as a "Nolan story", the scenes showing Clark travelling in the trailer that parallel Bruce's travels in BB (at least visually), the whole theme of both protagonists having to find themselves and wanting to inspire hope, a more real looking Gotham/Metropolis (based on what we've seen of Metropolis in MOS), etc.

Overall, MOS seems like it will be very similar to what Nolan did with Batman and according to what WB confirmed, the rest of the films in the shared universe will be similar to MOS in tone and style. We can also assume this means the other solo films will also feature young JL members around the start of their career. This all sounds awesome but when you think about it, this causes problems for the Batman reboot because we are now at risk of the writers rehashing major elements from the Nolan films. A Batman reboot would have to differentiate itself from the Nolan films while still being about a young Batman in a still-grounded-but-not-as-grounded world and while presumably still being influenced by a lot of the same Batman stories (Year One, Long Halloween, etc.)

The point of this thread is to discuss ideas on how to avoid this problem. So discuss :yay:.
I think that Man Of Steel will definitely be realistic, but also with some fantastical elements. I could see the Batman Reboot using a lot of elements from the Arkham games. It's dark, gritty, fantastical, and not to mention AWESOME!!
For what was said about MoS laying the groundwork; he says the 'tone' (an emotionally realistic, 'serious' handling of the occurrence of supernatural elements in the very 'real' world); not necessarily the structure (being an origin story).

WW and Flash will most likely start with origin stories as well (as it's their first movie outings), but Green Lantern and Batman (who have already had origin stories recently) very well may not.

Perhaps it might seem incongruous if the previous continuity's Batman is 'closer' to MoS than a reboot because they both start with origin stories, but that's just looking at one aspect. (well actually there are many similarities: stories by Nolan, syncopy productions, Zimmer score, etc, etc)

(It's for this reason that I previously always viewed MoS and TDK as a package deal: I could never imagine a Batman reboot seeming more in sync with MoS than TDK is.)

But it doesn't mean that the Batman Reboot can't feel closer to MoS than TDK. We haven't seen MoS afterall.
Perhaps the simple inclusion of supernatural elements will accomplish this (though having it be a Nolan-produced, Zimmer-scored, Snyder-directed film (which I doubt), would help as well)


If they do stick with a rigid and emphasized throughline of origin stories in every movie however, then perhaps we can have Dick Grayson's origin in the Batman movie. The trilogy can be framed from his POV (his growth from Robin, to Nightwing, to Batman), putting Batman in the badass, unrelatable, mysterious character role that none of the league members (nor the audience) get to truly know (unless it's through Grayson's eyes).

The JL movies will most definitely not be from Bruce's POV in this scenario.
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don't make the first film a rehash of Batman Begins. we do not need an origin story again. have it be sort of like the first Burton Batman film in which Bruce is already Batman but do flashbacks to when his parents died.

also, if the rebooted film is to feel closer to Man of Steel than that means having some fantasy-like elements. villains like Killer Croc, Man-Bat, Clayface, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, etc. would fit into this.
Even if the Batman reboot doesn't redo the origin, two of the things it will most definitely have because of MOS is a young Batman early in his career and an establishment of all the messages & themes that are true about Batman that BB already covered - what makes him who he is, why he uses fear against criminals, etc. Even without redoing the origin, you still risk rehashing a lot of of things from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

For the record, we don't know how similar Man of Steel will be to the TDK trilogy. We are purely trying to get an idea of how similar they are based on what we've seen so far of it, on what the production crew said, and on what those who said the early screenings said. So far, MOS looks very similar to what Nolan did with Batman. The film itself being described as a "Nolan story" is a big thing right there.

One way I think they can avoid this is by putting emphasis on what a brilliant detective Batman is and what a genius he is overall, which is something that Nolan didn't do. Nolan put more emphasis on Batman's martial arts and tech. Establishing from the beginning that Bruce is a modern Sherlock Holmes would already be something big that differentiates it from the Nolan films. Another thing that will help would be a different and more theatrical looking costume. Even the white eyes being there would go a long way.
Easy. Stick to the comic book mythology.


- Jow
BB & TDK were heavily influenced by graphic novels such as Year One, The Long Halloween, The Killing Joke, and more. The same stories that the reboot will most likely be influenced by especially if it is about a young Batman again, which will most likely be the case due to MOS.
Mixing certain realism with fantastical elements and that's how you avoid any rehashes. Even while TDKR felt less realistic comparing to BB, it still didn't have overall fantastical elements...Man of Steel can and already pushed those boundaries by using aliens, and even genetically created aliens of Krypton(which is what MOS's route is).
Will a reboot necessarily go through the same themes?

Can't it just do something new, like a hypothetical TDK4 would do?

Does it have to establish all the defining themes of Batman, when the TDKT is still there for that?

As for what could be new:
-Detective angle, and his obsessive nature. Learning to let go, etc.
-Robin. Learning to trust others. Learning to open up. The importance of being an example, etc.
-sympathy vs his urge to kill. Exploring the ethics of the 'no kill' rule more in depth (Under the Red Hood)
Visually: Gotham, Batcave, Suit/Color, Batmobile.

Other: More in depth with detective skills, same with fighting, Grayson's POV, different villains as much as they can, never thinking of leaving the life/always obsessed with being Batman forever. Quieter when inside the suit.

Arkham Asylum as a story is even appealing when you look at how you can make a different film. Only show him as Bruce Wayne in Wayne Manor/Batcave/Public in the beginning and end of the movie. In between he's locked inside Arkham Asylum. There's a point towards the end where he could leave no problem but he has to stay longer to end something important inside.
lol at "Superman" and "Realisitic" in the same sentence
lol at "Superman" and "Realisitic" in the same sentence

I think Superman can be realistic, there is so much to this universe we do not know. One day, a 6 ft nordic looking humanoid could make contact with the world and tell us they seeded us to mine gold - ok, been listening to ancient aliens too much. Anyways, i digress.

We can start off, for Bats reboot with Commissioner Gordon investigating a few crimes where a vigilante dressed as a bat has interfered. Evidence has been taken, then posted back to Co. Gordon, with possible outcomes, helping him solve crimes - on one hand, he is confused as to what the batman is, on other, he is impressed with his skills - this shows off his skills as a detective, doing what the gcpd can't do, or at least quicker.

We also see gotham, a great city, but with terrible crime, due to inner city slums, cliche but can be an interesting back story.

There are various types of gangs - mafia style and low end, messy amateur crime.

Riddler, Penguin could be good 'heads' of crime rings - i would like to see the riddler running sex trafficking rings. It's different, dark and he can be so mysterious that he has the nickname, riddler.

The plot of the story is that a girl, drugged up and used in the sex trafficking ring is rescued and tries to come clean, expose people - but the corrupt officials say she needs rehab, make up a few lies that she is suicidal, not safe - they medicate her and put her in Arkham Asylum - leaving her to rot.

She is key witness - Gordon wants her, as does bats - as does another mob boss, the penguin - known as this due to his sharp suits and ice cold character.

It's a race against time as to who gets her first.

We see Gordon trying to gain access the official way, Bats his own way and the two mob bosses through inside leaks and corruption.

Mean time we see and learn about Bruce Wayne - forever in his cave, rigged to gotham cctv through wayne enterprises, his friend and family care taker/body guard Alfred - ex military, british.

We see a young batman, in pursuit to take down gotham's bad guys.

It's a fushion of Dredd, Leon and Taken.
-Remove Lucius Fox from the narrative. Have Batman fashion his own equipment.
-If Two-Face has to be used, start the film with him scarred.
-Have supervillains installed in Arkham Asylum.
-No Mafia. Criminal Mafia, sure.
-Make Bruce a lovegod; don't lock him onto one woman (Rachel Dawes.)
-Make the Batmobile fantastic; reject the utilitarian principles behind the Tumbler and perversity of Burton's Batmobile.
-Increased Batarang and Grapnel-gun use.
-Make it a blend of location shooting and sets; use diverse architecture/architects (for example, Nolan acknolwedged Mies van der Rohe as the principle influence for TDK. And it shows. In the good way.)
-Use Americans for the cast. Nolan chose a Euro-centric cast (and also converted the League of Shadows to it,) so tap into the pool of American talent.
-Tap into the supernatural and hard-edged science of the comics; Legends of the Dark Knight might be a terrific source to extract elements from.)
-Sort of with the architecture, but not: more gargoyles, dammit.
-Create a different score: Elfman reinvented the Gothic Horror soundtrack; Zimmer created his own blend of electronic and orchestra; whoever takes over scoring duties should have their own distinct stamp on it, and not try to imitate the others. Possible candidates: David Arnold, Nigel Godrich, Tyler Bates.
-Change the suit: don't make it all black. It's been done to death. What I would like (which would also separate it from Nolan): make the suit collapsible. I always loved scenes in the TAS when he carried his suit with him in the suitcase. Better yet: make it blue, like it was in the Denny O'Neill/Englehart runs.
-Avoid League of Shadows/Assassins for 1-2 films,depending on the space between them.
-Play the clown imagery associated with Joker: give him a vehicle with his face on it, a lair with clown/carnival imagery on traps, and an oversized hammer. We've had the viral terrorist, now it is time to have the creative maniac who theatricality knows no bounds (I am thinking of AC Joker.)
-Include characters from the comics, instead of surrogates: Leslie Thompkins, Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya, and hell, Jack Ryder.
-Use Arkham City's network of Easter Eggs as an influence: hint at all of the characters active in the city. Planting seeds in the film will a) tickle fans b) serve as a way to set up future scenarios without introducing retroactive continuity. It does not have to be as tightly wound as the MCU. A mention on a newscast about a sewage worker missing, a radio mention of a renowned surgeon moving to Gotham City, or a newspage advertisement for the Iceberg Lounge.
-Do not have Bruce confront Joe Chill: let him not be found. Nolan had him confront him, and Burton had him confront Napier. It has been overused.
-Create a sense of community: what I loved about the first two Halloween films was that Haddonfield Illinois felt like a real place. The effects of the villain were experienced all over the social landscape, which was refreshing. The same can be done with a city: carefully construct the script to reflect the changes that super-heroes/villains are having on the city, in addition to meeting my rule about the ratio of sets/locations.

This is the beginning of my list; I am going to go to sleep now, and will post more in the morning.
-Use Americans for the cast. Nolan chose a Euro-centric cast (and also converted the League of Shadows to it,) so tap into the pool of American talent.

I'm sure he didn't choose a euro-centric cast because they were European...

Perhaps Bruce has been Batman for 1 year, to the day, prompting him to reflect on what he has done. (or perhaps discussing it with someone. A young inquisitive Dick Grayson?)

We get different flashbacks from Bruce's early years (covering different things than BB did).

-exploring his decision to be 'reborn' as a Bat, examining his Bruce Wayne/Batman identity, his unhealthy complete devotion/obsession; how that relates to his Detective Skills; flashbacks of his 'detective' training/mentor, etc.
-The name also clearly establishes the reboot I think.
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Grayson shouldn't even be a thought if Bruce is only 1 year into his career.
Batman Reborn?

Using reborn just seems odd when Nolan killed off the original Batman in TDKR, even if it's a reboot and not related to Nolan's trilogy.

The Batman or Shadow of the Bat are my choices for the title.
I love the title "Batman Reborn" though I would personally prefer "The Dark Knight Reborn" because it sounds more epic in scale.

Establishing Batman to be a detective and overall genius from the beginning would immediately make it distinct from the Nolan films and would avoid rehash territory.

A European Gothic looking Gotham would also be a good idea. Unlike Burton's Gotham which was a gothic city in a fantasy world, this Gotham would be an American city that could exist in real life but was modeled after the Gothic architecture in European cities such as London and Paris. This will also make the city contrast with the Metropolis in MOS.

Having a corrupt commissioner in the GCPD and a young Gordon getting beaten up by his fellow police officers for being a good cop like in Year One would also help establish a still corrupt atmosphere for the city yet also make it distinct.

Batman should also be considered an urban legend, or a monster, by the people of Gotham. Batman Begins had this briefly while in the reboot, this belief should stay that way and be consistent throughout the entire movie.

Robin should not be used for the first film considering this will be a fairly young Batman much like Superman in MOS. Plus, Batman needs to be seen operating by himself at least in one film. Establishing Batman to have a partner from the start and then have him be the loner of the JL wouldn't work as well IMO.

Batman Reborn?

Using reborn just seems odd when Nolan killed off the original Batman in TDKR, even if it's a reboot and not related to Nolan's trilogy.

The Batman or Shadow of the Bat are my choices for the title.

That's the point though. It immediately establishes the film to be a reboot.
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