In the Arrowverse, Batman was such a ghost that not even the Green Arrow, ostensibly the world’s first vigilante, knew about him. We didn’t know Bruce Wayne existed until Arrow season 6, and it wasn’t until the Elseworld’s crossover a year later that we’d get confirmation that Batman himself existed. Now, though, Batwoman (watch it here) has officially given Bruce Wayne a face by way of Tommy Elliot’s new face transplant. While actor Warren Christie will technically be portraying Elliot as Wayne, he’s also portraying Wayne himself, and that gives a very real path to bring Batman into the Arrowverse. Here’s how we think it could happen.
Where’d he go?
No one has seen Bruce Wayne in years, and so he’s presumed dead. But what if he’s just… broken?
If Greg Berlanti & Co. wanted to bring back Batman, then maybe the world we’re witnessing right now is smack dab in the middle of this Batman’s version of Knightfall.
We know that the Joker, Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, Scarecrow, and Hush all exist in this world. Luke told Kate that the Joker is dead and that Batman killed him. That’s possible, but these shows and the comics they’re based on are basically soap operas. Dead isn’t dead until you see someone take the body from the morgue to the cemetery and bury it by hand, on-screen, with no cutaways. In the Elseworlds crossover, we also saw a Bane mask that referenced the one used in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, suggesting that Bane exists and once wore the mask.
So we have two key characters missing and unconfirmed here: Bane and Batman. It’s easy enough to conclude that this Bane got his hands on the Venom we see the comic-book version using and he no longer needs the pain-mitigating gas provided by the Nolan mask. That gave that Bane the opportunity to unleash Gotham’s many villains onto the city at once, exhausting Batman and giving Bane the chance to do what Bane always does: Break the Bat.
If Batman was so utterly unknown that not even Oliver and Felicity knew about him, and then Bane broke him, how would we find out?
If Batman is alive but has been missing for three years, it seems unlikely that he’s been sulking. As prone as Bruce is to self-pity and misery, three years is a really long time. More likely, I think, is that Batman has been physically unable to fight, or to even stand up. And while this Batman didn’t pick him to work in his place, we also know that Azreal exists in this world because Lucius Fox’s journal references him when viewed through his special glasses.
Batwoman season 2 will likely spend a good portion of its time on Thomas Elliot stealing Bruce’s identity. What would be a better way to end that storyline than with Bruce pushing his way in on a wheelchair and revealing the truth? This would be a perfect way to re-introduce Bruce and slowly reintegrate him back into Gotham. It would be a great way to introduce Bane, too, as the villain that Batman couldn’t beat on his own, and that he and Batwoman need to work together to fight.
Actor Warren Christie seems like a great pick for a TV Batman. Too good a pick to just be Thomas Elliot with a new face. Christie truly has the Bruce Wayne look, he’s in great shape, and at 44 he’s the right age to be a slightly-older Batman. He has some leading-man superhero-type experience with the Syfy show Alphas, too. He seems like someone that Berlanti and Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries cast knowing there was a chance he’d be putting on the cape and cowl at some point.
Big hurdles lie ahead
I don’t think it’s inevitable by any means, though. A live-action Batman on television is a big ask and a big risk. To get it looking like we fantasize about it looking, you’d need an HBO-sized budget, not a CW one. Us Batman fans are also notoriously persnickety about how our Caped Crusader is portrayed.
Even so, the Arrowverse machine is well-oiled and running full-steam ahead with one finished show, five on-going shows, and one planned one. That last one is Superman & Lois. The time might be ripe for a Batman show, at least once Batwoman gets through her sophomore year, and this seems like one way the show bring back Bruce Wayne and the Batman while incorporating some Batman lore and explaining the Bat’s disappearance.