The Batman – Backstory of Ben Affleck’s Batman

Ever since I saw Batman v Superman, I’ve wondered about what kind of stuff this older (angrier and more hardcore) version of Batman went through in his 20 years career.

So I took the Grant Morrison-like approach to Ben Affleck’s Batman by assuming that every live action Batman films happened, in some form or another, to the Bruce Wayne that we met in BvS.

I pieced together some stuff from the Batman films and edited this video. What you end up with is a somewhat logical ‘biography’. All the stress, trauma, violence and the tragedies…it all led up to this darker and more brutal Batman.

I tried to create a logical story through the movies:

We start with the first two Nolan films where Batman wanted to get rid of crime in Gotham City and then retire as Batman. Then he met the Joker and he realized that the war against crime in Gotham is harder than he thought.

Gotham got darker and crazier after the fall of the ‘White Knight’ Harvey Dent and we move into the Tim Burton era. Bruce Wayne became more socially awkward and reclusive. Batman and his colourful villains affected the art and fashion trend of Gotham – gothic with neon lights. Robin and Batgirl added colour to Bruce’s life until tragedy strikes – Batgirl got shot and Robin got killed by the Joker.

Batman couldn’t deal with the loss and he got reckless – almost cost his life when his back got broken by Bane. Batman recovered, regained focus and defeated Bane.

Then Superman battled Zod in Metropolis and we know the rest…

In short: DCEU Batman’s 20 year career is a alternate version of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Batman 1989, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight Rises.

The Batman – a possible TV Series

One of the things I loved about Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy was that it had that sense of a definitive beginning and ending to the story of Bruce Wayne and Batman. I’ve also been recently delving into Grant Morrison’s Batman saga and I think his ‘metanarrative’ approach to Batman (almost every story in the last 75 years of Batman comics actually happened in his 15 years career) was a really great idea.

So I thought, what if you try to make a TV series (could either be animated or live action) that tries to tell a clear ultimate story arc for Batman and his allies – taking inspirations from all the popular storylines in comics and movies.

It’s not meant as direct adaptations of any story arcs but a mish-mash of things plus little stuff I made up (eg. ‘Thomas Elliot” is a mix of Hush, Dr. Simon Hurt of Black Glove and Lincoln March of the Court of Owls) . And I did not try to include everything (No Damian Wayne here, sorry).

So without further ado, here is what I came up with for a Batman series – 5 seasons, bookend by two Miniseries.

T H E   B A T M A N

ORIGINS MINISERIES

inspired by: Year One (comic), Gotham (TV Series), The Man Who Falls (Comic), Batman Begins (Film), The Dark Knight Rises (Film)

Batman_year_one

We begin with a three part Miniseries that details Bruce Wayne’s pre-Batman days.

Young Bruce Wayne sees his parents gunned down in an alley. First part revolves around the investigation of the Wayne murders by a young James Gordon. It introduces us to the corruption in Gotham City and the fragile balance between the Falcone and the Maroni mob families. Meanwhile, young Bruce Wayne, with the reluctant help from his friend Thomas Elliot, who recently also lost his dad, does his own investigation and is convinced that his parents’ death was part of a conspiracy involving a shadowy group called the Court of Owls, believed to be an urban myth by everyone. Bruce’s investigation leads him nowhere.

Second part shows Bruce Wayne fleeing Gotham and travelling around the world to train and learn about ways to fight crime. He learns how to be an illusionist from the great magician Zatara, detective skills from Henri Ducard, survivalist techniques from Willie Doggett.

ras training

The third part finds Bruce being picked up by the League of Assasins and trained by Ra’s Al Ghul. Here he meets with Talia Al Ghul and they developed a relationship. Bruce also has a rivalry with another of Ra’s students, the man later known (and feared) as BANE.

Talia_Al_Ghul_batman_and_ra

The League’s mission is to bring balance to the human societies through violent means. Gotham is seen as an irredeemably corrupt city and must be destroyed to restore balance. Bruce Wayne disagrees with the League’s methods and betrays them. He manages to blow up their base and severely injures Bane. Bruce tries to convince Talia to come with him but she refuses. Bruce fights Ra’s Al Ghul but Bruce manages to barely escape with his life.

batman-begins-2005-33-g

SEASON 1

inspired by Zero Year (comic), Year One (comic), Batman Begins (film), The Man Who Laughs (comic), Prey (comic), The Man Who Laughs (comic), The Dark Knight (film).

Batsuit: ‘Zero Year’ Costume – Black and Grey biker outfit with purple gloves

Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham and starts out as a masked vigilante fighting criminals.

There is a new gang in town, the Red Hood Gang, that’s more violent than the Falcone and Maroni mobs. Bruce tries to fight them and gets beaten up. One night, while Bruce was recuperating in Wayne Manor, a bat crashes through the window. He finds the batcave and decides to take on the identity of Batman to instill fear into the hearts of criminals.

bat004

Batman stops the Red Hood Gang at the ACE Chemical factory and the Red Hood Gang leader accidentally drops into a vat of chemicals.

batman red hood vat

The rest of the season involves Scarecrow’s plan to release the Fear Toxin all over Gotham and Dr. Hugo Strange’s unhealthy fascination with Batman. Batman also finds allies such as James Gordon, Harvey Dent, Lucius Fox and Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Sadly, Bruce’s childhood friend, Thomas Eliot has disappeared since the death of his mother.

Joker the Man who laughs

The multi-part season finale sees the return of the Red Hood Gang leader as the Joker. This is ‘The Man Who Laughs/The Dark Knight’ story.

The season ends with Batman, Gordon and Dent meeting on the rooftop and vowing to clean up the city.

The Night is Darkest just before the Dawn. Dawn is coming to Gotham!

SEASON 2

inspired by The Long Halloween (comic), Dark Victory (comic), The Dark Knight (film)

Batsuit: traditional Black and Grey suit with Bat symbol.

This is the Mob war season.

The status quo of the mobs is under threat following the emergence of Batman. Things get messy when a mysterious serial killer known as the ‘Holiday Killer’ starts killing gang members creating a gang war between the Falcone and the Maroni family. The mobs starts to break out/recruit crazy villains such as the Joker, Scarecrow, the Penguin,  the Riddler and Poison Ivy.

twoface_acid

Two major casualties occur in the mid-season finale – the scarring of Harvey Dent and the death of the circus family, the Graysons. Dent becomes Two-Face and goes on his own violent twisted brand of vigilanteism against the mobs while Bruce Wayne adopts the only surviving member of the Graysons, young Dick Grayson. Batman also develops a relationship with Catwoman and the two make an unlikely team for most of the season.

robin flying Grayson

Season 2 ends with the Joker and Two Face on the loose, both mob families pretty much destroyed, Catwoman ends her relationship with Batman and leaves Gotham to find more about her past, Dick recites an oath to Batman and becomes Robin. The Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder.

DetectiveComic38

SEASON 3

inspired by Robin Year One (comic), Batgirl Year One (comic), Nightwing Year One (comic), Death in the Family (comic), The Killing Joke (comic).

Batsuit: Dark Blue and Grey with Yellow Oval Bat symbol

The season takes place over the course of few years detailing the rise and fall of the Bat-Family.

After the fall of  both the Falcone and Maroni mob families, the Penguin rises to fill the void in the criminal underworld but he has to deal with the surge of crazy and colourful villains.

Batman and Robin establishes themselves as the Dynamic Duo when they defeat the Mad Hatter. Meanwhile, the young and idealistic Barbara Gordon is inspired by them and she starts dressing herself up as Batgirl, much to annoyance of Batman. She later proves her worth when she helps Batman and Robin defeat Killer Moth and Firefly.

batgirl_yearone

The ‘Bat Family’ faces the return of Two Face while cracks between Batman and Robin begins to appear over the course of their mission. Dick Grayson leaves Batman mid-season and becomes Nightwing.

Batman Fire Robin

Nightwing does his solo crime fighting while Batman takes the hot headed Jason Todd as the new Robin. Dick begins a romantic relationship with Barbara who is still a crime fighting partner to Bruce who Dick is not on speaking terms with. And Jason is a bit pain in the ass. But things doesn’t work out between Dick and Barbara so they agree to break it off.

Nightwing Year One Jason-Todd-First-Time-As-Robin

But enough with the soap opera stuff because the Joker re-appears and is more sadistic than ever in the season 3 finale. Everything quickly goes wrong! Joker traps Jason and tortures him before blowing him up.

Jason Todd Joker The_Death_of_Jason_Todd

He then shoots Barbara! Leaving her paralyze from waist down. The Joker kidnaps James Gordon and straps him on a roller coaster while forcing him to watch pictures of his bloodied and naked daughter to drive him insane. Batman rescues Gordon and defeats the Joker.

Killing Joke Barbara Gordon

But that’s not the end yet. The climax of the season is Nightwing confronting Batman and blaming him for Barbara’s predicament. Batman, feeling guilty about Jason and Barbara, lashes out at Nightwing for abandoning the ‘Bat Family’. All the bottled up emotions exploded as Bruce and Dick brutally fight and almost kills each other in Wayne Manor. The fight causes a fire and Wayne Manor gets burned down.

Dick leaves Bruce and visits Barbara at the hospital while Bruce is in his Gotham city penthouse all alone.

The ‘Bat Family’ was no more.

Christian-Bale-as-Bruce-Wayne-in-Dark-Knight

SEASON 4

inspired by A Lonely Place of Dying (comic), War Games (comic), Arkham Origins (videogame)

Batsuit: Back to Black and Grey with bigger pouches on belt and bigger Bat Symbol ala Dark Knight Returns/Batfleck

Batman is going solo again and rougher on the criminals. But he’s also losing focus and is occasionally reckless. With Penguin’s empire weakening, a new gang war erupts with Black Mask seemingly climbing on top the Gotham criminal food chain. He wants to destroy the Batman and place a bounty on Batman which led to the arrival of assassins like DeadshotDeathstroke, David Cain and Lady Shiva to Gotham.

Despite his rocky relationship with Bruce, Dick Grayson couldn’t stand by and watch his reckless former mentor getting hunted by a bunch of skilled assassins. He crosses path with Deathstroke and they form a rivalry. Dick also meets with a young assassin named Cassandra Cain who is on a journey of redemption. She is in Gotham to track down her estranged father David Cain and settle some score with Lady Shiva.

cassandra cain

Meanwhile, Barbara struggles to adjust to her new wheelchair bound life. To make her feel useful, she begins to provide technical support for Nightwing and adopts the alias Oracle. She, Dick and Cassandra makes a good team. Batman works with them from time to time but he mostly prefers to be work alone now.

Oracle_Barbara_Gordon

Two people from Bruce’s past return to Gotham: childhood friend Thomas Elliot and Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Thomas left Gotham when his mother passed away while Bruce Wayne was traveling around the world training. Bruce feels guilty that he wasn’t there for him so he helps him resettle in Gotham. Thomas also tells Bruce of his political ambition to make the city better. More on Thomas Elliot later.

Meanwhile, Catwoman returns to Gotham after hearing the bounty on Batman. She heard about what happened to Jason Todd and how it affected Batman psychologically. Batman and Catwoman rekindle their romantic relationship.

batcatkiss

They track down a villain that call himself the Cluemaster while following clues left behind by daughter Stephanie Brown who wants to ‘spoil’ his father’s criminal activities because he was an abusive father. Stephanie, taking the name ‘The Spoiler’, continues to spoil her father criminal activities. Oracle tracks her down and warns her that her actions could provoke the gangs and create unintended escalations. But Stephanie proves her worth and becomes Oracle’s agent.

Stephanie Brown Spoiler

Nightwing meets the bright and idealistic Tim Drake who deduces the identity of Batman and Nightwing. Tim pleads to Dick to reunite the ‘Dynamic Duo’ for the sake of Batman’s sanity.

Tim Dick Robin Nightwing

Of course, in the end, Batman gets his focus back and defeat Black Mask with the help of the new and expanded Bat Family. Batman outsmarts Deadshot but struggles in his battle with Deathstroke, only to be saved by Nightwing. Deathstroke vs Nightwing! Cassandra defeats Lady Shiva but finds out that she is her biological mother.

Bruce reconciles with Dick and they both agree to train Tim as the new Robin and Stephanie as the Spoiler. Cassandra is left disillusioned by the revelation that Lady Shiva was her biological mother and join the Bat Family as the new Batgirl.

Blackbat

The season ends with Bruce, Dick, Barbara and Alfred overseeing the rebuilding of Wayne Manor.

The Bat Family is back!

SEASON 5

inspired by Knightfall (comic), No Man’s Land (comic), Hush (comic), Battle for the Cowl (comic), Court of Owls (comic), Batman R.I.P. (comic), The Dark Knight Rises (film).

Batsuit: Black and Grey and no trunks on the outside ala New 52

It is a relatively peaceful time in Gotham. Batman and his Bat Family have mostly defeated all the supervillains in Gotham. But Bruce can’t shake the feeling that something terribly big is going to happen. He tries to find connections between random minor crimes that recently happened.

Dick and the others dismiss Bruce as being too paranoid and not used to the relatively quiet times in Gotham. Bruce somewhat agrees and decides that it’s time to minimize Batman’s role.

Meanwhile, Bruce’s childhood friend and Mayoral candidate Thomas Elliot convince Bruce to look into the future of Gotham now that major crimes have been eradicated. So Wayne Enterprise publicly announces its plan for the future of Gotham.

But an owl suit assassin known as Talon kills Thomas Elliot in the name of the Court of Owls – a shadowy group supposedly controlling Gotham behind the scenes. Bruce gets paranoid again and recalls the urban myth from his childhood (see Miniseries). No, it can’t be.

An injured Commissioner Gordon is discovered at the sewers. Gordon tells Batman that they were chasing a group of thugs into the sewers but they were ambushed by a more powerful gang and he got to hear the name of their leader before he escape – his name is BANE. A ghost from Bruce’s past with the League of Assasins.

The-Dark-Knight-Rises-Fight

Batman eventually comes face to face with Bane – now disfigured and wears a mask but a behemoth of a villain – in the midseason. He recalls how Bruce betrayed the League of Assassins and left him disfigured (see Miniseries). Batman and Bane fights while the Court of Owls watch. Bane overpowers Batman and breaks his back.

Bane_0020

With Batman gone, Bane and his mercenaries makes their public debut and activates an underground weapon that causes tremors all over Gotham. They blow up bridges and cut off Gotham from the rest of the country. Bane leads an uprising targeting the rich and powerful with the help of the Talons.

Bane holds the city hostage and releases the Black Gate prisoners and Arkham inmates. The Joker refuses to leave Arkham because it is not fun without the Batman.

Cassandra Cain as Batgirl happens to be the closest to Black Gate prison. She disregards Dick Grayson’s advice to wait for back up and goes to deal with the Black Gate prisoners alone. She puts on a good fight but the rogue gallery traps her in the prison and set off an explosive, destroying the prison and seemingly killing her.

Meanwhile, a broken Bruce Wayne wakes up in an underground prison with Bane telling him of his alliance with the Court to take Gotham back from the Batman. Bane keeps him alive so that he can see – through the tv monitors – the fall of Gotham. Bane wants Bruce to realize that all his work to save Gotham was for nothing.

Batman Maze Court of Owls

Bruce was treated by a fellow inmate – an old doctor – who helped re-align Bruce’s spine. Outside Bruce’s cell is a seemingly inescapable labyrinth.

battle-for-the-cowl_picture

Back in Gotham, Nightwing and the Bat Family together with the Gotham Police struggle to control the city for months. In order to boost morale of the city, Dick Grayson agrees to take the mantle of Batman while Stephanie Brown, with Barbara’s blessing, becomes the new Batgirl in honour of Cassandra Cain.

Stephanie Brown Batgirl

The Joker briefly return to the public only to be disappointed because he soon realize that he wasn’t ‘his Batman’. Two-Face forges an uneasy alliance with Gordon against the League.

The Bat Family finds out that Bane and the remnants of the League made a deal with the Court of Owls to takeover Gotham. The League gets their revenge on Bruce while the Court can use this as way to cleanse Gotham back to how it was before Batman.

Dick Grayson also finds out that the Court of Owls have a history with Haley’s Circus and the Flying Graysons. It turns out the circus was a secret training ground for Court’s assassins – Dick was supposed to be groomed to be a Talon!

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne wakes up to find the old doctor gone along with any evidence that he ever existed. Bruce tries to escape the labryinth and begins to hallucinate. He sees his dead parents, Jason Todd and the Bat Family all bloodied up. Bruce is losing his mind.

Batman Court of Owls Maze Crazy

The Court also leaves clues in a form of portraits all over the Labryinth revealing that they have been manipulating events in Bruce’s life.

They were responsible for the Wayne murders…

…they were the one who recovered the Red Hood leader after he fell into a vat of chemicals and let loose as the Joker to test Batman….

…they helped the mob break out the Arkham inmates in season 2….

…they manipulated events that led to the hot headed Jason Todd being the new Robin anticipating that Bruce will fail to redeem him and get him killed.

But Batman persevered against all odds to rise from a symbol of fear to a symbol of hope for Gotham. They found an opportunity to do away everything Batman have fought for when Bane and the League showed up with an offer.

A Talon strikes Bruce when he was at his lowest point psychologically. The Court of Owls shows up led by none other than Thomas Elliot! It was revealed that Thomas actually killed his parents because he despised them. Bruce was his only friend and they were supposed to rule Gotham together after their parents’ death. But Bruce left Gotham and abandoned him only to later return in a silly Bat costume.

The_Court_of_Owls

Thomas later joined the Court and they have watched and manipulated Batman ever since. Thomas sentence Bruce to be beaten up to death. Bruce gains his strength and fights back. He escapes through the sewers.

The Talons chase Bruce through the sewers and cave system. Just when it looks like he’s trapped and outnumbered, Cassandra Cain (who actually survived the explosion at Blackgate Prison) shows up to fend off the Talons and rescue Bruce.

Back in Gotham, Dick Grayson (as Batman) leads our heroes to successfully take over half of the city. They are almost there, they can take back the city! But Gordon gets betrayed by Two-Face and gets captured along with Barbara!

Bruce and Cassandra reunite with the Bat Family. They update Bruce on what happened to Gordon and Barbara. Dick offers to give back the mantle of Batman to Bruce but Bruce says he can keep it. He tells Dick that he earned it.

That night, Bruce returns as the black/grey Batman while Dick dons the blue/Grey Batman suit. They will completely take back this city even if it means having two Batmen.

FINALE MINISERIES

inspired by Knightfall (comic), No Man’s Land (comic), Court of Owls (comic), Batman R.I.P. (comic), Endgame (comic), The Dark Knight Returns (comic), The Dark Knight Rises (film).

Three part Finale!

Part One: The Bat Family mount a rescue operation to free Gordon from the League. Batman, Gordon and Two-Face have one last confrontation on the roof of GCPD (like old times). Two-Face eventually falls to his death. Gordon informs them that they have taken Barbara to Arkham.

Part Two: The Joker returns to the public when he heard that ‘his Batman’ is back. He goes on a killing spree (even killing League members). The Court of Owls cautiously makes an offer to give whatever the Joker wants. The Joker wants only one thing: The Batman. The Court allowed the Joker to takeover Arkham Asylum from the League of Assassins – where Barbara is being held and where Batman will surely strike.

The Batfamily fights through the villains from the past seasons. Meanwhile, the Joker knows that the Court of Owls just want Joker and Batman to be  in one place so that they can kill both by detonating explosives rigged all over Arkham – killing two birds with one stone. The Joker kills most of the Court of Owls. The Talons arrive to kill the Joker and rescue Thomas Elliot. But the Joker detonates the explosives in Arkham anyway and the whole building is on fire and collapsing. The Joker kills Thomas Elliot.

Batman battle Joker Endgame

Batman vs Joker Endgame

Batman engages in a brutal fight with the Joker, made worse by the release of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Joker manages to pin down a bloodied and heavily injured Batman. Barbara crawls and shoots the Joker her father’s gun, paralysing the Joker (sweet payback!). Gordon and Dick help Batman get on his feet and escape the collapsing building. Joker is left behind laughing maniacally as the whole of Arkham Asylum falls on him.

Part Three: Dick leads the final assault at City Hall as the ‘Blue’ Batman and has one final showdown with Deathstroke.

Batman Gotham Battle TDKR

Despite being badly injured, Bruce still wants to settle the score with Bane but he knows that he is not currently physically up to the task. So, he hastily assemble a ‘suit’ made up of mechanical leg braces that enhances his leg strength, Power Gauntlets, a prototype armor and a technologically advanced helmet. They’re all prototypes so he doesn’t know how much they can withstand in a fight with a behemoth like Bane. One way to find out.

Batman Incorporated Armor

Armored Batman glides into City Hall and confronts Bane. An epic fight ensues with Batman finally breaking Bane in different places and beats him up. Batman wins but at the cost of his armor. Then he gets stabbed by Talia Al Ghul who was behind everything. Talia manipulated both Bane/League and the Court of Owls. She is here to fulfill her father’s mission of destroying Gotham once and for all.

Talia lectures how Batman tried to save Gotham but he only made it worse. She made Bruce look outside and see what he has done – people fighting on the streets…criminals ‘businessmen’ replaced by murderous psychopathic freaks….and the Court of Owls, a group that has survived behind the shadows and keeping ‘balance’ in the city was forced to come out – all because of what the Batman had done.

Talia wants Bruce to know that he failed and reveals a nuclear bomb on top of City Hall that will destroy Gotham. Bruce will die as a failure along with the rest of the city.

NEVER!

A heavily injured and exhausted Bruce Wayne just had a marathon of fights in the past few days – escaping the Court of Owls, fight with Two Face, storming Arkham, fighting Joker, fighting Bane, stabbed by Talia – but that is not an excuse to fail his city. Not today, not ever.

Bruce fights Talia on top of City Hall. She trips and Bruce grabs her. Talia slices Bruce’s hand so he can let go of Talia. She falls from the roof with a smile on her face and throws an explosive on the ground below her. BOOM!! When the smoke clears, Talia was nowhere to be found.

The countdown is ticking and there is no time to disarm it.

A heavily injured Bruce says goodbye to the Bat Family and takes the bomb away from Gotham with the Batplane.

The bomb detonates, Gotham is saved but Bruce Wayne seems to perish.

Batsignal endgame

As a memorial, the Gotham citizens shine the Bat signal into the night sky.

Dick, Alfred, Barbara, Tim, Stephanie and Cassandra mourn at Bruce Wayne’s grave. Dick gives a moving eulogy about what Bruce/Batman has meant to all of their lives.

As they all leave the grave, Alfred stays to mourn for Bruce alone. But once everyone is gone, Alfred smiles….

Meanwhile in Congo, a former child soldier and disillusioned cop David Zavimbe is approached by none other than Bruce Wayne! – still alive and traveling around the world training new Batman everywhere. Bruce tells him that he can teach him how to be a symbol to fight injustice and save his town from corruption.

Bruce Wayne is spreading his crime fighting philosophy around the world.

Batman Batwing

In a flashback, we see Bruce telling Alfred about his worldwide mission and ask him to keep it a secret. Bruce also tells Alfred to keep an eye on ‘their family’ while he’s gone.

Meanwhile back in Gotham, a group of criminal sees the Bat signal and scoffs at the idea that Batman will ever show up again. Then Dick Grayson (as Batman) and Tim Drake (as Robin) storms in!

Batman and Robin will never die!

Batman Robin Never Die

It never dies. It never ends. It probably never will.

T H E   B A T M A N

And that is how I see an ultimate Batman Series play out. Hope you enjoyed it!

A Half Remembered Dream

You can read my previous posts on dreams:
I Have A Dream –  Outlined several instances where I visit the same place in my dreams again and again.
A Dream Within A Dream – Exploration on the dreams that I’ve had. I attempt to define several properties of my dreams.
Dreaming The Inception –  My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’

***

Never intended to write another post on dreams but after the release of the movie ‘Inception’ and it’s surprising commercial success (and the fact that it is probably the most talked about movie right now), I couldn’t resist not writing one more thing on the subject. I’ve written down what I dreamt about the night after I saw Inception over my Tumblr blog. However, for this post I’ll be talking more in depth about dreams and I’ll also be referring to things from the movie so I advise you to stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

Construct of dreams

One of the main criticisms of Inception was that people were screaming “Hey that’s not an exact portrayal of dreams! It’s too formulaic and too restraint! It’s not surreal! It’s not weird! What about the sexual elements?! Where are the boobies?! We entered four guys head and no boobies?!!” I think those criticisms weren’t fair because:

  • These are lucid dreamers. They have a certain level of control in their dreams. They are not dreamers who are passively experiencing crazy surreal images/narratives when they are dreaming. Like I’ve said before, I tend to like the latter way of dreaming.
  • The dream worlds in the movie were constructed by the Architect. They were grounded in realistic way in order to fool the subject that he’s not in a dream. It’s like a mouse trap with the illusion of reality being the cheese.

So it’s not an accurate portrayal of dreams because those dream worlds were constructed for the purpose of the mission.

Levels of Dreaming

I’ve talked quite a bit about my experiences of “dreaming within a dream” Of course, there is a difference between how ‘dream within a dream’ (DWD) worked in the movie and how I’ve experienced it. In the movie, the concept of DWD is related to the technology of dream sharing where a group of people is connected through some wires which enables them to share a dream space. A DWD occurs when the procedure is repeated within a dream therefore entering a deeper level of the subconscious. The dreamers take turns in ‘hosting’ the dream space they enter. For example, in the early sequence of the movie, Leo and Saito were in Joseph Gordon’s Levitt dream WITHIN the first architect guy’s dream!

For the last sequence please refer to this nice diagram from http://dehahs.deviantart.com

So in the end, Juno was in Leo’s dream within Tom Hardy’s dream within Joseph Gordon Levitt’s dream within Yusuf the chemist’s dream! Here are several interesting comparative points between my own experiences and Inception’s rules on DWD:

1) I’m experiencing it myself so I’m not jumping into other people’s dream while I’m in a dream. I don’t have a dream sharing technology (If such thing even exists!)

2) I always start on ‘Level 2’ (although I don’t really prefer it but I’ll just use the terminology from the movie to make things clearer) and then wake up to ‘Level 1’. Never have I dream about going to sleep except for maybe this one time:

I woke up and I looked at the clock on the wall of my room. It’s still early so I went back to sleep. I woke up and it’s 6pm!! I’ve missed or am late for whatever it was that I was planning to do that day! I went out my house and I’m suddenly in a parking lot. It’s night time and raining. I saw a group of actors gathering around the parking lot and shooting a scene. HOLY SHIT! IT’S THE CAST OF ‘LOST’!! They greeted as if they know me and asked why I was late. Turned out I’m supposed to be in that scene they were shooting! The rain stopped and it’s suddenly a beautiful sunny day. I hung out with Henry Ian Cusick and Daniel Dae Kim (actors who played Desmond and Jin respectively). We went to a parked double decker bus that was actually an ice cream restaurant in disguised. I was talking to this cute lady who was behind the counter and taking my order. I woke up…and looked at the clock on my wall of my room. It’s STILL early so I went back to sleep.

It may sound like a normal ‘one level dream’ but I began to doubt that I even wake up in the beginning.  Although I’m really sure that I really did wake up the moment after I ordered my ice cream, I’m still a really hazy with the first moment when ‘I wake up’. Is this an example of me dreaming about going to sleep and dream about something else? A ‘Level 1’ ->‘Level 2’ -> ‘Wake up’ scenario as opposed to my usual ‘Level 2’ -> ‘Level 1’ -> ‘Wake up’ experiences?? I HAVE NO IDEA!!

3) I don’t think this is intentional on Christopher Nolan’s part but I notice that the further down the dream level you are in, the further it gets from the realm of reality. For example, Level 1 was constructed to be close to reality with its urban setting. While Level 3 was a hospital that looked like a fort in the middle of nowhere!! I’ve noticed the same thing with my DWDs:

  • Level 2 – A character dies in one of my favourite TV shows.
    Level 1 –  Woke up and I saw the same character die on TV and I told my brother that I dreamt it!
    Reality – Woke up.
  • Level 2 – A wrestling match between Shane McMahon, Goldberg and Peter Petrelli from Heroes.
    Level 1: woke up to write it down in my dream journal.
    Reality: Woke up to find out that I DIDN’T WRITE IT DOWN BECAUSE IT WAS JUST ANOTHER DREAM!!
  • Level 2 – A road trip on New York with friends.
    Level 1 – Woke up and writing down my dreams while in McDonalds with my friends.
    Reality – Woke up.

You can see how Level 1 reality is more realistic/believable than Level 2 dreams in terms of the settings (eg. Wrestling ring/bedroom, New York/McDonalds) and the people (eg. TV characters/my brother).

4) I’ve never experienced a more than 2 Levels of dreaming. Hell, I don’t think it’s possible!!! Unless you watch too much TV/movies or play too much video games! That is how I always like to explain the cause of DWD…because I watch too much TV and movies.

Cinematic dreams

“You have very….adventurous dreams” “That’s because my life isn’t that adventurous!” That may be true but I tend to think that it’s because I watch too much TV and movies. So certain aspects of movies and TV shows gets deeply ingrained into my subconscious to the point where my dreams tend to follow movie formulas. The following example is one of most memorable dreams I had when I was a young:

My friend’s little brother has been kidnapped by a group of mafia/gangsters. Nobody dared to volunteer for a rescue mission except for me (don’t know why I volunteered…probably because I was a bad ass!). CUT TO – Another friend of mine getting stalked by some perverted guy. She tries to escape from her stalkers so she volunteered to join me on my mission. CUT TO – We arrived at a lavish party hosted by the evil mafia. I stood up and shouted at the head mafia boss. I demanded that he release my friend’s little brother or else he will pay the price! The mafia boss laughed and ordered his men to kill us. Crazy gun fight!! I gave my friend a gun but she said she didn’t know how to shoot. “Then what the hell are you doing here?!” “I was just finding a way to escape from my perverted stalker!!” I gave her a quick lesson on how to shoot. She managed to kill a few bad guys. I continued dodging bullets and killing few men. BULLETS FLYING! GLASS SHATTERING! PEOPLE SCREAMING! I woke up….checked the time, still early in the morning. Got back to sleep but I couldn’t continue my kick ass dream.

That dream had a typical action movie written all over it! A rescue mission? Check! A bad ass hero? Check! Evil gangsters? Check! Crazy gun fights? Check! A female partner? Check! Hero’s love interest? That girl was someone I had a crush on so that’s a Check! The way it was sequenced also felt cinematic with scenes suddenly cutting into another scene.

Another interesting dream I had recently borrowed one particular cinematic technique. There were three ‘scenes’:

1) My mom asked me about whether I went to eat at this restaurant with my friends. I didn’t go but I decided to lie at my mom. With every question she asked, I made up some story to answer it.

2) Its raining hard and there is a flood. Water started to violently flood the restaurant that was referred in the previous ‘scene’.

3) A Voyager space probe flying past the planets with me narrating my intention of creating an exciting fantastical account of the Voyager space probe into a Sci fi tv show

Those three ‘scenes’ were intercutting between each other in my dream! The relation between the first two ‘scenes’ were obvious: I was lying to my mom and it is evident that I was lying because that restaurant was actually flooded. As for the third ‘scene’….that’s an idea I had when back when I was 3rd grade or something. It also proved that an old idea is never gone but just got lost somewhere deep within your mind waiting for it to resurface.

“You Never Really Remember the Beginning of a Dream”

That was a line from Inception where Cobb made Ariadne realize that she was in a dream. It’s a common thing for dreams to start abruptly and drop you in a middle of things. And usually within a dream, you just assume that you know the situation, the people and the backstories related to the situation in the dream.

One notable dream that I had when I was kid involved me saying farewell to all these wonderful animal characters that I’ve had many adventures with. It was a tearful farewell and I got so emotional about it. The funny thing is that I never remembered any of my adventures with them…I never had any dreams about them before! The dream abruptly started with a farewell to these animals that I was supposedly having many adventures with without actually knowing what those adventures were exactly. It’s like watching an emotional ending of a TV show without watching the whole series.

Here’s another and more recent example of a random non-beginning dream that I had:

I’m in a hotel room with three other people: two guys and a girl. We’ve been staying in the hotel for a while and we’re waiting to go another city. On each city that we’ll visit in our road trip, we get to stay on one of our friend’s house. I told the others that it’s impossible for me because “I have no friends.” One of the guys took pity and said “don’t worry, we’re your friends.”

That last part of the dream is really interesting because they claim to be my friends yet I DON’T REALLY EVEN KNOW WHO THOSE THREE PEOPLE WERE IN REAL LIFE!!! They weren’t friends that I know nor fictional characters from TV or movies. They were just three random people (a guy in red shirt, a girl in green shirt, a guy in black shirt). But I seemed to be fine and have some “unseen backstories” with them in my dreams. Although, I do think they were mash ups of different people I know but that would still make them a bunch of random strangers!

Dream Time vs Real time

According to the movie, Dream time is slower than real time (eg. sleeping for 5 minutes feels like an hour in the dream world, which feels like a week in a dream world within the dream, etc). Is there any difference? Yes. Is there a specific time difference? I don’t think so. Normally, I wake up and check the time to see that it’s still early in the morning so I go back to sleep. I would have some elaborate dream that feels long only to later wake up again, check the time, ONLY 5 MINUTES JUST PASSED!

Here’s a recent example:

– I wake up, check the time, still early, go back to sleep.

– I have a conversation with a friend

– **more dreams but I couldn’t recall it clearly**

– I’m a soldier in a computer game going around shooting opponents. It’s a fast paced FPS Counter Strike/Battlefield/COD type of game. The ‘map’ is Machu Picchu, a famous archaeological site in Peru.

– I have a restaurant by the seaside. It’s late and I’m closing it down. Strangely, I strap a balloon around my waist and I was floating around.

– I wake up, check the time, WTF?! ONLY around 15 minutes?! All those dreams felt longer!!!

***

Well that’s it for now! Inception is definitely the most talked about movie this year and if you haven’t seen the movie yet then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! GO WATCH IT NOW! And if you have….GO WATCH IT AGAIN!! Honestly, I’ve only seen it once and I’ve been talking about it for a few weeks now!

To close it off, I’ll leave you with this weird ‘dream’ that happened to me just few days ago:

It was a sunny day and I was walking with my friend in the middle of a road. It was crazy with cars, parades and marching bands yet we didn’t have any problem because they always gave us space to walk. We were having a conversation about last night (thus giving this dream some sort of time frame) UNTIL…..

*my phone vibrates*

Woke up and that same friend is calling. She asked if I could join her for lunch. I barely opened my one eye to peek at the clock on my wall. I closed my eyes again and said that I’m not coming but I’ll probably meet them at a later time.

She said, “Ok! Sorry to wake you up”

I said, “What if I’m still asleep?”

She said: “Hahaha!”

I said: “What if I’m in a dream within a dream?”

“HAHAHA YOU NEED A TOTEM!!”

“You could be my totem”

ummm..ok, how?

If you call me and say ‘I love you’ then I know it’s fake and that it’s all a dream

errmm…ok…..

if you call me and say ‘get up, go take a shower, you smell’ then it’s reality

ermm…i think you should go back to sleep…i’ll see you later ok, BYE!

*hangs up*

I didn’t even say bye and slept for a few more hours…..

Or was I asleep all that time?! Obviously, I wasn’t fully conscious when I say those things….or maybe I was?! so was that real? Or was that a dream?

***

***

Read my previous writings on my dreams:

Here’s one where I outlined several instances where I visit the same place in my dreams again and again.
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/i-have-a-dream/

This one is a much more elaborate exploration on the dreams that I’ve had. I attempt to define several properties of my dreams.
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/a-dream-within-a-dream/

My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’
http://trylobyte.tumblr.com/post/827995205/dreaming-the-inception

A Dream Within A Dream

UPDATE 12/8/2010

You can read my more recent posts on dreams:

Dreaming The Inception
My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’

A Half Remembered Dream
A more recent posts on my dreams plus with references to the movie, Inception

I have always been fascinated with dreams. Anything can happen in dreams and for most people they are beyond their control. It can be exciting or frightening but most of all, it is mind-boggling. It is a place where you experience your heightened fantasies and fears that you most probably don’t know you even have. I believe that the best way to understand your own mind is to dive directly into your subconscious part of the mind and dreams are the easiest place to do it. Some seek to fully control their dreams but I prefer not to. I want them to surprise me…I want to see what kinda of stuff my mind can create.

Most of the time, I tried to mentally recall my dreams as soon as I wake up but recently I’ve scribbled down notes every time I have a chance to wake up (Nov 1 – 11 2009; May 11 – June 2 2010). The fun part begins when you are fully awake and you start reading the stuff you wrote. Some of them actually create a coherent narrative:

May 14

Group of students in a theatre with an empty stage – trying to create a play but there is no script – a teacher shows up warning us to leave if we don’t have anything to show – the scriptwriter (a white girl) and her friend (a black girl with curly hair) wrote the first scene – a casual talk between characters at a dining table and they find a mysterious origami – they asked us for suggestion on the next scene – my friend, Ida stood up and start giving some elaborate suggestion – I disagree and suggest another scene – we argued

Some of them are randomly funny:

May 23

Watching TV – saw a music video of a new catchy song by Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan – titled “Candy Time” – lyric – “wake up, it’s the morning, It’s Candy TIME!”

And some are just…it made me pause and say WTF? because it seemed to be gibberish:

May 17

The city got its ‘Voice’ back. I told Joan that I’ll be the new voice of Amy’s town.

“Building a dream from your memory is the easiest way to lose your grasp on what’s real and what is a dream”

But as strange these dreams may sound like, they can be dissected and explained. The first dream is just an alternative representation of a real life situation between me and my friend (in this case, arguing about direction of a script we’re working on). Furthermore, the origami is a reference to the game ‘Heavy Rain’.

The second one is strange because as far as I know Mischa Barton is not a singer. But I could tell that the ‘Candy Time’ lyrics have its basis from Robin Thicke’s ‘It’s in the Morning’ song. As for the third dream, the only image that I remember from that dream was an animated city from the Facebook game, ‘Social City’. As for the inclusion of my friends and the whole business of ‘Voice’…that I have no clue.

Therefore, a dream will always have its basis from aspects of your memory. But can it have a basis from things that hasn’t happen yet?

Dreams as prophecy

Throughout history, some people have associated dreams with predicting the future. I lost a comic book once and I dreamed that I would find it in a drawer. I woke up the next day and guided by my dream, I found the comic on that very same drawer. A divine message? Or was I just thinking about the possible areas where the comic is and the dream was just a mental representation of my thought process?

Let’s take another recent example. I dreamt about me and my brother trying to climb over a fence. My brother climbed first and when he did, I noticed a big centipede on his back and then I woke up. Later that day, me and my brother were watching Bear Gryll’s Man vs Wild and there is a scene where he encounters a big centipede! Was my dream predicting this? Or was it just my mind taking something from my memory (a movie called ‘Human Centipede’) and it manifest itself in the dream? Back in November, I tried to not only write down what I dreamt about but also what happens during the day just to see if there is any connection.

I found out that there is a connection between what goes on in your day with what you dream about later that night. Here’s one notable example where on Nov 4, one of the things I noted that happened that day was “Laptop got fucked up” and this is what I strangely dreamt about that night:

Nov 4

I was walking on the street – my laptop was in the middle of the street – went to plug it out and shut it down – three kids/siblings (a girl, a boy and an older brother) starts stepping on my laptop intentionally – I pleaded them to stop – they refused to stop – I got furious – I punched the little girl and choked the little boy to the ground and threaten him – the older brother was standing up and too scared to do anything – they all fled. I met them later – they were scared – smiled at me – one shook my hand

And all of that was created by my mind only because I was frustrated with how my laptop got fucked up earlier in that day. Now it is really an interesting exercise to keep a record on your dreams however I stopped doing it mainly because it got more difficult to keep up especially when you encounter this situation….

Dream within a dream (DWD)

On May 16, I dreamt about a wrestling match involving Shane McMahon and another wrestler beating up Goldberg. Peter Petrelli, from the TV show Heroes, later arrive at the ring to assist Goldberg. I ‘woke up’ and wrote about the dream in my notebook and then I went back to sleep. A few hours later, I woke up again and was eager to re-read what I wrote. BLANK. I didn’t write anything and never did!! because it was a dream!! A Dream within a Dream! My plan has backfired! This went on several times where I started having dreams of writing about my dreams!!

“This can’t be done. Dreams within dreams is too unstable.”

My method was to write when I’m in a half-awake state because I believe that’s the best time to get a more accurate recollection of your dreams. What I didn’t take into account is I can easily drift back into a dream state OR be deceived into believing that I’m actually awake! Hence, the occasional occurrence of ‘dream within a dream’ (DWD) situation whenever I tried writing in my journal.

But DWD isn’t anything new to me. The first DWD that I remember was when I was kid, I dreamt about watching a cartoon where one of the main characters died. I ‘woke up’ and watched the same cartoon only to see that very same character die. I told my brother that I actually dreamt about it!!! THEN I woke up again….for real this time.

Here’s another more recent DWD:

I took a bath in this large expensive bathroom. Then suddenly a lot of people (from both gender) came in. I was embarrassed and asked one of them “What the hell are you people doing here?!”They said that this was a public place and we are all sharing it. I ‘woke up’. I met three of my friends and told them about my dream. They started debating  about it and came up with ridiculous explanation.  Later, I was in Starbucks and I was discussing about my dream to my classmates and the subsequent debate among my friends. When I left Starbucks, I couldn’t find my car on the street and started searching for it at a mall (why? Don’t ask). This is where the logical part of my brain kicks in and I said “My car is not here because it’s back at the garage in Brunei”. I woke up for real.

The thing that I noticed in this dream is the amount of time jumps. One moment I’m debating with friends and instantly the next moment I’m at Starbucks. Later, the streets where I lost my car was instantly transformed into a mall. That is entirely illogical and it should’ve been an obvious sign that I was in a dream. But it didn’t wake me up because I haven’t reached that level where I could logically grasp the concept of time and space when I’m in a dream state. Then how could I finally put some logical thinking at the end of the dream?

Wake up call

I’ve noticed that I can only wake up from a dream when I’m in trouble or in fear. I couldn’t find my car so my logical thinking kicks in to escape from the nightmare. I got chased by a monster and force myself to wake up. I had to do an examination and my logical part of the brain instantly creeps up to tell me that I don’t need to because I’ve already sat through it and I passed! I used to think that these are evidence that I’m capable of controlling my dream but I now think I’m merely just reacting than controlling.

Morphing location

Let’s go back to the concept of space in a dream. For me, it is rare for a dream to take place in a single location. I usually end up in an environment that is radically different from where the dream started. Look no further than the dreams that I’ve managed to record:

Nov 1 – Walking on a brick road at night – hallway with red carpet – a shopping mall

Nov 3 – climb a steep green hill – climb down – reach a muddy lake and could only be crossed with the floating logs – entering a club with changing coloured floors

Nov 6 – shopping mall full of people – went upstairs to a casino – went down and the mall was dark and empty – walked further and end up at an airport

Nov 11 – in a ‘Counter Strike’ map (CS assault) – parking lot – swamp – residential area

What was amazing is that these locations morphed in a seamless way that you don’t even realize it.

Here’s an example of one of my recorded dream that seemed to combine all of the major aspects that I’ve mentioned so far (Real life basis, Dream within Dream & Morphing location) plus a surprising twist at the end that I will get to later:

May 29

It started with me and my friends on a road trip around New York. We didn’t have any maps so we followed our guts (real life basis: we recently did a road trip). We eventually end up at a shopping mall that was about to close. The girls rushed around and shop a lot while I only bought one shirt.

I woke up and I wrote down what I dreamt about (‘Dream within a dream’).  I was suddenly at McDonald’s, writing in my dream journal (‘Morphing location’). I was surrounded by my friends who wanted to see what I wrote but I refused to show it them.  A guy walked past with three dogs. The three dogs started fighting with a cat and another dog. One of the three dogs was a bulldog who starts spitting his saliva all over the place. A lot of the saliva washed over my burger and I got furious at the dog!

It was suddenly night-time and McDonald’s was no longer located in town but beside a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. My friends and I followed the dirt road and found ourselves at a quiet abandoned resort. We came upon a swimming pool. I recognized the place and told my friend that this was a place where we had a New Year party. She didn’t recall that party.

Now this is where things got interesting. The reason why she didn’t recall that party was because she wasn’t there….actually, NO ONE WAS THERE! IT DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN….at least in real life. I was actually referring to another dream!!

Memory of other dreams/de javu

I’ve visited the resort many times in my dreams. Of course in another dream, it was full of people and joy (certainly not abandoned). There are many places that I’ve visited many times (creating a sense of de ja vu within a dream) and the most notable one was the fountain room. I’ve talked about this place in my blog few years ago and you can click here to read it. One possible explanation for why I seemed to recognized places that I’ve dreamed  before is because these places, just like a lot of things in dreams, have their real life counterparts. I admit that the ‘Fountain’ that I usually come across in my dreams is just a supersized exaggerated version of a fountain at Glorietta shopping mall in The Philippines. Yet, it doesn’t explain one particular dream: My friend and I found a secret passage at our Elementary school that leads us to a magical place with dancing fountains. Years later, I dreamt about returning to that place and actively seeking the very same secret passage (and successfully found it too!).

***

And that was my weird account on dreams and I’m not sure if other people share similar experiences. But what I do know is that there is an upcoming movie that I’m REALLY excited to see!! From the director of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan…

…directs an international cast in an original sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible—inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. This summer, your mind is the scene of the crime.

Things I noticed:

– a mention about creating a dreamworld not based from your memory. I find that almost impossible (“You gotta draw from something right” said Ellen Paige’s character)
– A mention on ‘Dream within a dream’
– A ‘Kick’ – sense of falling that snaps the person out of his dreams. ‘Falling’ in a dream tend to wake you up.

Inception – July 16 2010

**

Well I’m off to bed now! Let’s see what’s in store for me tonight! 🙂

***

UPDATE 24/06/2010

My dream the night after I posted this entry. Enjoy

– Made my way to an old run down hospital located somewhere at a backalley of futuristic industrial Blade Runner-esque city

– Met a Chinese doctor and nurse. I needed an special medical treatment to prevent myself from being infected with a new disease.

– The treatment involved making a minor incision on my shoulder. Then they heat up this small but thick disc shape object – place that on the area of my shoulder that has been cut – the object sticks to my skin and eventually gets absorb

– the doctor even introduced to me another procedure where several of these heated disc shaped object gets put on people’s head to increase their memories

– went out of the hospital – Walked through the rainy and dark city – had to pass through a chocolate cake factory – managed to steal one too – arrived at a toy shop but it was closed – I was disappointed but a security guard lady came to me and told me that I will get a discount on my next visit

– I was watching TV and it was showing a documentary on ghosts. The show depicted a scene where a guy was sleeping and his laptop automatically switched on – showed some scary but blurry images – the images seems to be showing a particular room

– next thing I know, I was no longer watching the TV show BUT was part of it! I was part of a team who are experts on the paranormal. My speciality was that I study the connection between ghosts and electrical energy (thus explaining how the guy’s laptop got messed up) – we arrived at an abandoned hospital and there is a dark room – some entered the room (a cop and a scientist) – we suddenly hear a scream and two fingers flung out of the room and hit one of the cameraman!! The cop and the scientist got out of the room – the scientist were screaming and showing his bloody hands (missing fingers!) – the rest of us were closing the door and try hard to prevent whatever is inside the room from getting out – THEN a head pops out of the door – A PALE FACE WITH WHITE BLANK EYES!!! – EVERYONE SCREAMED! – I shouted MOTHERFUCKER!

– I woke up.

***

Read my other writings on my dreams:

Here’s one where I outlined several instances where I visit the same place in my dreams again and again.
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/i-have-a-dream/

My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’
http://trylobyte.tumblr.com/post/827995205/dreaming-the-inception

A more recent posts on my dreams plus with references to the movie, Inception
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/a-half-remembered-dream/

Batman 3 – What I want to see

What lies Ahead

He’s the hero that Gotham deserves but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not a hero. He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.
– Gordon

There are two aspects that I think we need to think about that should give us a better picture of what to expect from the third movie.

  • The Main Theme
  • The Villains that relates to that theme.

Batman Begins was about Fear. It ties with the origin of Batman as we see Bruce Wayne overcome his fear of bats and eventually adopt the identity of Batman. The villains are related to this theme with Scarecrow using the fear toxin as his weapon of choice and Ra’s Al Ghul as the man who helped Bruce overcome his fears in the first place.

The Dark Knight was about Escalation or as Gordon puts it at end of the first movie, “We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor-piercing rounds.” Batman’s crusade against the mobs becomes a double edged sword as it only creates more trouble. The epitome of this escalation is the Joker, the agent of chaos, who wants to bring Gotham’s citizens to their breaking point. Corresponding with the escalation theme is the rise of the idealistic Harvey Dent and his fall/transformation to Two Face.

Now comes the third movie and I have an idea for the possible theme of this one. Like how the theme of escalation was first hinted at the end of the first movie, the theme for Batman 3 was hinted during the final moments of The Dark Knight: The theme is Isolation. By the end of the second movie, Batman has finally become the Batman that we all know from the comics and the cartoons: a true outsider, a loner, the Dark Knight. He lost Rachel and Harvey Dent which means he lost his hope for a normal life. The police are chasing him thus he can’t work openly with Gordon anymore.

I expect a darker and grumpier Bruce Wayne as he starts getting a more pessimistic outlook on life yet can’t help to bring himself to stop fighting crime due to his hero complex (set this movie like 2-4 years after TDK to make it believable). And expect more detective work by the Dark Knight since he can’t rely on the GCPD now. Meanwhile, the cops are still hopeless in finding out the identity of the Batman (remember that scene early in TDK where the cop had Elvis as one of their suspected candidates for Batman). Just like how the mobs turned to the Joker in their desperate times, the cops also turned to “a man they don’t fully understand” for help.

Enter Edward Nigma aka The Riddler, a private detective/specialist hired by both the cops and the mobs (with both not knowing he works with them at the same time) to track down and find the identity of the Batman. He’s smart, a child prodigy, anti-social and highly obsessed with Batman especially with the dark knight’s detective skills. He finally find someone who can challenge him and is willing to do anything to achieve his goal, including creating an elaborate crime scene for Batman to solve.

Not only that, Batman has to face the idea that his privacy is being invaded as the Riddler slowly gets to know a lot of things about Batman (eg. Lucius Fox, batcave, identity). Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne starts dating Selina Kyle who leads a double life as the notorious thief, Catwoman. In the end Batman and Catwoman have to work together to stop the Riddler.

So how do all of this relates to the theme of isolation? In a way, the Riddler and Catwoman are the cure to Batman’s feeling of isolation. Following my idea that Riddler is a crazy Batman fanatic, I think he would probably leave clues/riddles that he knows ONLY Batman can solve and no one else. Therefore, Riddler would be the only one, aside from Alfred, who really understand Batman’s mindset. Unlike the Joker who just wants to mess with Batman’s head, the Riddler, or at least a version of him that I want to see in the next movie, wants to play games with him. In that way, Batman doesn’t feel isolated anymore.

As for Catwoman, well, that’s really obvious. Bruce Wayne is mysteriously drawn to Selina Kyle; she’s not Rachel Dawes yet she’s not like any of those other super models he flirts with. And Catwoman operates outside the law and enjoying it which is a perfect foil for Batman’s more serious attitude.

So yeah, I want the next movie to revolve around Batman’s growing isolation and how both the Riddler and Catwoman proves to be the answer to that problem (Batman is lonely and finds a new friend to play with & a new girlfriend). As for the casting of the two characters, I want Michael Emerson (Lost) as the Riddler and Carla Gugino (Sin City) for Catwoman. Meow!

The main reason why I think they should get Catwoman for the third one, aside from filling up the female character void left by Rachel Dawes, is that to the average folks she is one of the most instantly recognizable character from the Batman universe. One of the reason why Dark Knight is doing so well is because you have the most famous Batman villain, The Joker. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t put villains that haven’t been adapted to the big screen (eg. Clayface, Mad Hatter, Man Bat, etc) but if they want to draw a lot of people, Catwoman is their best chance. It’s also a chance to redeem the awful Halle Berry movie!!

So that’s what I want to see for the third movie. What do you think?