With Christian Bale "retired" from Batman, who will succeed him as the Dark Knight?
Warner Bros. rocked San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend when it announced a Batman / Superman film was in the works.
According to the press release, Bats' big return to the big screen alongside the Man of Steel will release summer 2015. That will position it to go head-to-head with Marvel's highly-anticipated "Avengers" sequel due out May that year.
We don't know much about the film — other than two suspected titles — but we do know that if you're hoping for Christian Bale to reprise his role as the Caped Crusader, you should hang any thoughts back up on the "Dark Knight Trilogy" mantle.
Bale in the Batsuit is just not happening guys.
We know, we know.
This is the ultimate Batman / Superman geekasm fans have been waiting for since a logo hinting at a showdown between the two was featured in 2007's "I Am Legend."
And the big reveal from the Warner Bros. panel consisted of a popular Batman line from 1989 graphic novel "The Dark Knight Returns," hinting that a Bale Bruce Wayne may return.
So why wouldn't Warner Bros. bring back the man who brought in more than $2 billion at the box office worldwide?
For one thing, before fans could get carried away, "Man of Steel" director Zack Snyder preemptively pointed out the project will NOT revolve around the plot of the graphic novel.
"We're not adapting this thing," said Snyder. "But it is the thing that will help tell that story."
Still not convinced?
There are a few simple reasons to make this a pretty closed case.
Bale told Entertainment Weekly he won't be the Dark Knight in a "Justice League" film. Though, technically this isn't a "Justice League" film, this film will undoubtedly set the scene for an impending rumored DC team film in 2017.
The slightest of slight slivers of hope: Speaking of "The Dark Knight Rises" to E! back in 2010, Bale has said the only way he would sign on for another movie is if Nolan asks him.
"The thing is that this will be, I believe, unless Chris says different, this will be the last time I'm playing Batman," said Bale.
Nolan will be working on this next film, but as an executive producer. Snyder is set to direct.
2. Look no further than the Superman / Batman logo.
The Bat logo premiered looks entirely different than that of Nolan's Batman.
Unlike the sleek, futuristic look of Nolan's Bat symbol, the latest, clunkier logo mirrors the 1989 logo with a small bat head.
It also looks reminiscent of Warner Bros. most recent computer-animated incarnation of the Caped Crusader in "Beware the Batman."
3. The press release.
The biggest theory-killer about any Bale return is a single line from the press release about the movie:
"The new Batman has yet to be cast."
Bottom Line: We pointed out a few weeks ago that it would be disastrous for Warner Bros. to ever replace Bat-Bale. The actor's name has become as synonymous with Batman and Bruce Wayne as Robert Downey Jr. is with Tony Stark and Iron Man.
Since it looks like Warner Bros. wants to cast a new man in the suit, the only chance of Bale in a Batman / Superman movie is in a slight cameo as Bruce Wayne.
Fans of the Caped Crusader know Wayne isn't the only man to wear the Bat suit.
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