The Dark Knight Returns, writer/illustrator Frank Miller’s acclaimed four-issue comic miniseries from 1986, casts a huge shadow over the Zack Snyder-directed DC Extended Universe movies. The filmmaker was heavily inspired by that comic to create specific imagery in movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it turns out that Snyder is not content with being able to craft those nods and winks to the source material.
In a new interview, the director says he still wants to make a full-fledged adaptation of the comic for the screen, but without Batman v Superman stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in the lead roles.
“That’s my white whale, Dark Knight Returns,” Snyder said on the latest episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “That’s my Holy Grail. One day!” He says someone told him that he’d already put too much of that comic material into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to be able to still adapt The Dark Knight Returns into a movie, but Snyder disagreed. “I was like, ‘I haven’t, I promise you!’”
When asked if his dream version of the project would be with Cavill and Affleck, Snyder said, “No, I don’t think so. I think it would just be its own thing. Yeah, I think it would be its own thing. I would just do it one hundred percent, Watchmen style, really frame-accurate. Really do it. I don’t think it would be that expensive, to be honest. I don’t think so. It’s pretty gritty. But you know, the dialogue in there is just incredible. The [voiceover] in that movie is just Frank at his best. That whole, ‘The rain on my chest is a baptism,’ or whatever.”
One one hand, it seems a little ridiculous to think that Warner Bros. would want to work with Snyder again after the whole Justice League fiasco. But then again, the studio is about to experience a leadership change at the top. And maybe someone up there is a big Snyder fan. After all, DC has widened its parameters a little with films like Joker. And there will soon be multiple Batmen operating in the movies at the same time due to the multiverse.
Here’s my question, though: if he was actually able to get this movie made. What kind of movies would Snyder make after that? What do you do when you’ve slain the white whale?