Marvel fans hardly need extra reasons to want to see Thor: Love and Thunder as soon as it hits theaters. But if they did, having Batman alumni Christian Bale play the film’s main villain is one excellent reason. It’s not that Bale played Batman before coming to the MCU that makes his Gorr the God Butcher so exciting. It’s the reason why Bale’s Batman was so exciting in the first place. And it all boils down to this: Christian Bale is in the movie.
But would the actor return to making Batman movies after his iconic Dark Knight trilogy? Bale is open to a return, but he has a critical condition that’s probably very hard to meet.
Bale playing Gorr wouldn’t be the first time we see a former Batman actor come to the MCU to portray a villain. Michael Keaton gave us Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming. And then we saw the character jump to the SSU for Morbius in one of the most puzzling post-credits scenes Sony could have ever come up with.
But if Christian Bale’s villain is as exciting as Taikia Waititi would have us think, then we’d rather see him continue in the MCU than return to the Caped Crusader.
Then again, should Bale get his Bruce Wayne costume on for the DC universe of stories, he wouldn’t be the first actor to return to Batman after playing an MCU villain. You’ve guessed it, Michael Keaton will reprise his Batman role for Warner’s The Flash. That’s a multiverse movie that will feature several Batman variants. Or a perfect project for Warner to bring Bale back.
The problem with Christian Bale’s return to Batman is that the DCEU is an incredible mess. There’s no clear, cohesive story. We have too many Batman and Joker variants. And it doesn’t look like the DCEU will match the MCU anytime soon.
The Dark Knight trilogy is still the most exciting story out there, and that’s even though not being part of something greater. Many fans would love Bale to reprise his Bruce Wayne/Batman role and make it work for a redesigned DCEU.
Ben Affleck’s Batman is hardly as exciting as Bale’s. And Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is just in the early innings. The first film was better than Affleck’s Batman stories, but we’re yet to see him match Bale.
Christian Bale’s condition to return to Batman
With all that in mind, Batman came up during Christian Bale’s press tour for Love and Thunder. And it’s in this context that the actor explained under what condition he would be willing to return.
He told ScreenRamt that nobody asked him to join The Flash as a Bruce Wayne variant. Bale went on to say that he would only return to the role if Christopher Nolan asked:
No. No one’s ever mentioned [The Flash] to me. No one’s brought it up. […] Occasionally people say to me, ‘Oh, I hear you were approached and offered all this.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s news to me. No one’s ever said that.’
I had a pact with Chris Nolan. We said, ‘Hey, look. Let’s make three films, if we’re lucky enough to get to do that. And then let’s walk away. Let’s not linger too long.’ In my mind, it would be something if Chris Nolan ever said to himself, ‘You know what, I’ve got another story to tell.’ And if he wished to tell that story with me, I’d be in.
Will Warner ever consider trying to bring Nolan and Bale back to Batman? Considering what we saw so far in the DCEU, anything is possible. But don’t get your hopes up just yet.
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