In a just a few short weeks, The Dark Knight and The Man of Tomorrow will meet on the big screen for the first time in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but they won't just be meeting: They'll be battling, as Superman sees a vigilante terrorizing a city and Batman sees an alien with the potential to wipe out humanity. This fundamental conflict will eventually serve as the forge that gives us the Justice League, but before they unite against a greater threat, these guys are going toe to toe.
It's not an unfamiliar concept in the realm of comics, but it is new to the DC Cinematic Universe. No filmmaker has ever confronted this matchup before, which leaves Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder in a very unique position. He's not the first director, or even the second, to tackle either character, but he is the first to pair them, and before he did, he apparently hoped another iconic superhero filmmaker would give him his blessing.
In a new interview with Empire, Snyder reveals that he went to Dark Knight Trilogy director Christopher Nolan -- who's directed Batman more than anyone else, and who also served as executive producer on Man of Steel -- and asked if it would bother him if the Man of Steel followup essentially made Batman a bad guy on the hunt for Superman.
“You tell me if you don’t want me to do it,” Snyder told Nolan. After a silence, Nolan said, “Well, we don’t own these characters. When you’re done making Batman movies, someone else will [make them].”
“I think he found it a little bit hard,” Snyder admits. “I would feel the same way.”
It wouldn't be surprising for Nolan to be at least a little apprehensive about a new direction for Batman, but his reaction to Snyder's question is also not surprising. Batman and Superman are both characters that literally hundreds of storytellers have tackled at this point in one form or another, and there's no sign of that slowing down. It's quite possible that, in a few years, another director will be asking Snyder for his own blessing on their version of the characters he's working with here, so Nolan's answer shows both wisdom and realism.
That said, it'll be interesting to hear Nolan's take on the final film once it's released.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters March 25.