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Zack Snyder wanted Man of Steel set in the Nolan Batman universe

Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice
Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck as Superman and Batman in Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Movie fans almost got a different Batman-Superman face-off. 

In a new interview, Zack Snyder confirmed he wanted to set Man of Steel in the same universe as the Christopher Nolan Batman movies.

While it’s unlikely this would have meant Christian Bale appearing on screen, it would have been a notable connection between the two franchises.

The DCEU’s plans

It’s forgotten that Man Of Steel wasn’t intended to be the start of a true DCEU, but rather Snyder was allowed to put his own spin on the Superman mythology. 

There had been some buzz at the time of the possibility that the movie would take place in the same continuity as the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, but it turned out separate. 

Speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Snyder revealed that the idea of having MOS set in the Nolan-verse was a serious consideration.

“It was not 100 percent off the table. We did talk about it a little bit.”

Naturally, this leads to the idea that Batman v Superman would have happened in a much different way. The key issue with this concept would have been that it wouldn’t have been the Christian Bale Batman involved. 

The other Batman

John Blake
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises Pic credit: Warner Bros

The ending of 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises is Batman seemingly sacrificing himself to save Gotham City from a nuclear bomb.

But an end scene has Alfred (Michael Caine) spotting Bruce Wayne in Paris, now living a quiet life with Selina Kyle. It’s up in the air whether this was real or merely a fantasy of Alfred’s.

Meanwhile, having quit the police force, cop John Blake is revealed to actually be named Robin. Receiving a note from Wayne, Blake finds the entrance to the Batcave.

The trilogy thus ends with the idea that Blake either becomes the new Batman or perhaps Nightwing. 

This means that it would have been the Blake Batman battling Henry Cavill’s Superman, not Bale’s. 

“Maybe that’s why we didn’t do it,” said Snyder. “It would have been Joseph. Which could have been cool.”

Speculation is that Nolan himself considered the Dark Knight saga closed and wanted no sequels to it. Snyder has no issues with Warner Bros passing on this idea as he respected the Nolan movies and understood why they wouldn’t want to create a direct sequel to them. 

“I don’t blame him. I like that his thing doesn’t get muddied by these other touches.”

The backup Batman?

Matthias Schoenaerts
Matthias Schoenaerts in Brothers By Blood Pic credit: Cineart

While mentioning how he still hopes to create a live-action version of the classic story The Dark Knight Returns, Snyder also revealed who he was hoping to cast as Batman if Ben Affleck said no.

Surprisingly, rather than any A-list star, Snyder would have gone with Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts. The actor had broken out in 2011 with an award-winning performance in the film Bullhead, and Snyder was impressed by his charisma. 

“I was talking to him a lot about it,” Snyder reveals. “He never got in the suit, but I did do a bunch of mock-ups of him because Ben was on the fence. And I don’t blame him. Everyone should be on the fence when you’re asked, ‘Do you want to play Batman?'”

In the end, Affleck signed on to help create the DCEU as we know it.

But Snyder’s revelations offer a glimpse at a fascinating alternate world where the battle of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel looked a lot different.

Man Of Steel streaming on HBO Max.

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