One of the bigger announcements at this year's San Diego Comic Con, the <b>Man of Steel</b> sequel will center around Batman appearing alongside (and quite possibly up against) Superman. While director and screenwriter Zack Snyder stated at the Warner Bros panel that he was still writing the script, the mere fact that a <i>World's Finest</i> movie is within our reach certainly took everybody by surprise. <p>With Christian Bale definitively hanging up the cape and cowl and the Nolanverse Batfilms ending with last year's <i>The Dark Knight Rises</i>, there is now a slew of Hollywood actors that we're sure are champing at the bit for a chance to don the mantle of one of pop culture's most recognizable icons: Batman. <p>The rumor mill is producing big names from Josh Brolin to Ryan Gosling, to up and comers like Tyler Hoechlin (MTV's <i>Teen Wolf</i>). With Henry Cavill once more taking up the S-shielded superthreads, here at Newsarama, we pick our top candidates for Gotham's new Dark Knight as well as somebody who could carry the Batman franchise for a new generation.
Okay, we admit, this is the longest of the long shots here. Having already been Superman/Clark Kent in the ill-fated Superman reboot <i>Superman Returns</i>, could one man be both of DC's flagship characters in such a short period of time? He polarized fans of his portrayal of Superman, but fans across the board seemed to love his performance as Clark. And yes, for the most part, Routh was doing his best Christopher Reeve impression, but it'd be interesting to see if he could be Gotham's Caped Crusader without having to be in any one's shadow and to do his own thing. <p>Don't forget, Captain America was also the Human Torch, and Hal Jordan was Wade Wilson, so prior comic book roles don't automatically rule an actor out.
From playing Eomer in <i>Lord of the Rings</i>, to Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the rebooted <i>Star Trek</i> films, to donning the famed helmet of Judge Dredd, Karl Urban certainly is no stranger to sci-fi or comic book films. While nerd cred is hardly enough to simply be given the role of Batman, Urban's acting chops give him enough credibility to at least be given a shot. <p>Plus those piercing dark eyes certainly don't hurt his chances.
Mainly known for his TV roles in <i>Lost</i> and <i>The Vampire Diaries</i>, but Ian Somerhalder was once on the short list for the role of Superman/Clark Kent for the Superman reboot under Brett Ratner's direction, as well as up for the role of Warren Worthington III aka Angel, in <i>X-Men: The Last Stand</i>. <p>While eventually losing out to Brandon Routh and Ben Foster respectively, Somerhalder has the aura of mystique that could easily be used to his benefit if he took on Batman's trademark brooding nature.
Another one-time Superman candidate, Matthew Bomer (TV's <i>White Collar</i>) oozes old-school Hollywood cool with his penetrating gaze and strong jaw line. He looks almost like an artist's rendition of Bruce Wayne from the 80's. Though he may seem atypical for such a role, Bomer's range and charm are definite pluses to have when you're looking for a Bruce Wayne and a Batman.
You might think is a bit of a cop-out, but think of it this way. Christopher Reeve, Henry Cavill, Adam West, Brandon Routh, and even to an extent Christian Bale, were all relative unknowns when they were cast in the roles that would define their career. Adam West was a small-time television character actor who had done work on anything from Betwitched to Gunsmoke before setting off Batmania in '66. With expectations for the first live-action Batman/Superman movie, why shouldn't the studio make things a little interesting by giving somebody we don't know the shot of a lifetime?
Another case of "what could have been," Wes Bentley, most known for his roles in <i>American Beauty</i> and last year's <i>The Hunger Games</i>, Bentley's name was thrown around right before the last Batman reboot as one of the frontrunners for the role of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Well, there's no time like the present to make that happen. <p>Bentley's roles are usually quiet, but still hold a lot of hurt within (the role of Blackheart in Ghost Rider, excluded of course). Also, his similarities to Bruce Wayne in Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's Batman: Year One is almost haunting.
Fan's of TV's Mad Men have been saying this since almost the show's debut: make this guy Batman. Hamm's Don Draper deals with issues of duality throughout the show and having to be two people in the same body isn't always easy. Hamm handles the role with a level of style and calm demeanor with instances of pure volcanic power, it's hard to not imagine him as Batman and Pete Campbell (played by Vincent Kartheiser) as the Riddler whenever they have to throwdown. Draper is also haunted with his past and that's something at the core of Bruce's character and how he deals with it. <p>Hamm could easily portray both the suave, and business savvy Bruce Wayne, as well the mysterious caped crusader should he be given the chance.
Already a big name with Tolkien fans as Thorin Oakenshield in <i>The Hobbit</i>, and a somewhat big name in British television, Richard Armitage is on the verge of superstardom much like the same way Viggo Mortensen was when that other <i>Hobbit</i>-centric trilogy wrapped. <p>He's probably a bit more rougher looking than the other names on this list, and the uncertainty of handling an American accent has yet to be fully seen (but our most recent Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine have all handled it with aplomb), Armitage could be launched into the stratosphere if he donned the mask. After all, compared to a dragon, how hard could taking down the Joker or Lex Luthor really be?
Known to <i>Once Upon a Time</i> fans as August W. Booth, aka Pinnochio, and fans of the HBO classic <i>Band of Brothers</i> as Private David Webster, Eion Bailey also came close to wearing the batsuit for <i>Batman Begins</i>, but fate had other plans. Of course, not being chosen to be Gotham's protector once, doesn't mean he couldn't be offered it again. <p>Bailey's charm and wit on <i>OUAT</i> could be seen as a more "playboy" Bruce Wayne, and the more action-oriented role of Ben Mercer in USA's <i>Covert Affairs</i> could have possible prepped him on taking on Gotham's Most Wanted. Only time will tell if opportunity knocks again.
Sometimes, things fall apart so better things can come together. This could be the case with our top pick. <p>With Disney's <i>The Lone Ranger</i> failing to garner the success of their <i>Pirates of the Carribean</i> franchise, looks like Mr. Hammer could trade his white horse for the Batmobile. Deemed as one of the fastest rising stars today, should Hammer get the role, his A-list status would be cemented for sure. Before <i>The Lone Ranger</i> was supposed to launch his leading man status, Hammer garnered critical acclaim as the twin Winklevosses in <i>The Social Network</i>. <p>Once already attached to play Batman in George Miller's proposed <i>Justice League</i> movie, this talented actor could seize the day – and become the night – in what could be the biggest comic book movie in DC's history.