Henry Cavill's Superman and Christian Bale's Batman could have shared the same cinematic universe. As we know now, Man of Steel would be the movie to launch the DCEU when it was released in 2013. Many other movies would follow in the coming years set in the same universe, which includes a version of Bruce Wayne played by Ben Affleck.
Christopher Nolan, who helmed all three installments of The Dark Knight trilogy, served as a producer on Man of Steel. The Superman movie was also written by Dark Knight trilogy writer David S. Goyer, who developed the story of Man of Steel with Nolan. While Nolan is known for being protective of his Batman movies, Snyder regales in a new interview with Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that there were talks of keeping Man of Steel in the Dark Knight universe.
"It was not 100 percent off the table. We did talk about it a little bit," Zack Snyder said on the podcast, via THR.
Given the ending of The Dark Knight Rises, getting Batman into the Man of Steel continuity may have been a challenge if the movies were to share a universe. The Batman movie trilogy concluded with Bruce Wayne passing on the mantle of the Dark Knight to police officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), aka "Robin." It seems unlikely that the eventual Batman/Superman crossover would have had the same impact if it was Robin in the Batsuit instead of Bruce Wayne.
"Maybe that's why we didn't do it," said Snyder, though he added that he still wasn't entirely opposed to the Dark Knight idea. "It would have been Joseph. Which could have been cool."
Ultimately, Snyder supports Nolan with his final decision of keeping the movie universes separate, noting: "I don't blame him. I like that his thing doesn't get muddied by these other touches."
You obviously can't blame Snyder for looking at the situation with that mindset. His version of Justice League was drastically altered by reshoots when he had to suddenly leave the project. It took tens of millions of dollars and years of fans campaigning for Warner Bros. to actually let Snyder finish the long-awaited "Snyder Cut," which premiered on HBO Max in March.
Meanwhile, Snyder also revealed another actor he had in mind to play Bruce Wayne in the Snyderverse if Ben Affleck hadn't signed on. The director says Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts, who's known for his roles in Bullhead, Rust and Bone, and Red Sparrow, was the runner-up for the role. Discussions didn't make it far enough for Schoenaerts to actually don the tights or screen test for the role, but Snyder reveals that the two did have a lot of talks about the possibility.
"I was talking to him a lot about it," Snyder explained. "He never got in the suit, but I did do a bunch of mock-ups of him, because Ben was on the fence. And I don't blame him. Everyone should be on the fence when you're asked, 'Do you want to play Batman?'"
In the interview, the Zack Snyder's Justice League helmer also talks about his desire to do a movie based on The Dark Knight Returns, but as a standalone movie with all-new actors in the roles. He also touches on the time he nearly got involved with the Star Wars franchise. You can check out the interview in full on the Happy Sad Confused podcast.