Why Adapting ‘Under the Red Hood’ for a Batman Solo Film is a Brilliant Move

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Last Friday, DC fanboys around the internet collectively lost their minds as they read the latest scoop to come out of JoBlo. If the rumors are correct, the first in a planned trilogy of the Batman solo films starring Ben Affleck will be an adaptation of Under the Red Hood, the landmark comic storyline which saw the resurrection of the second Robin, Jason Todd.

Todd was brutally murdered by the Joker, but was later resurrected in the Lazarus Pit. After coming back from the dead, he donned a red hood and mercilessly assaulted criminals throughout Gotham’s underworld. Fueled by rage and using the most brutal tactics he can muster, he frames Bruce Wayne, making it appear to the public as if vigilante has finally gone over the edge. This is all done in an attempt to draw both the Joker and the Dark Knight into a final confrontation with one another.

If these rumors are true, and Warner Bros. and DC are planning on adapting all or part of Under the Red Hood as part of the DCEU, it’s huge news. The re-introduction of Jason Todd is one of the most fantastic Batman storylines of the last 25 years. It also gives us an incredible insight into what Zack Snyder, David Ayer, and the rest of the people with a hand in this new movie universe have been up to.

One of the many reasons that I loved Man of Steel was because of the teases and foreshadowing woven throughout the plot. Despite the fact that they probably had no clue on whether or not a rebooted Superman would pay off, they undoubtedly wanted to hedge the bets. Inserting things like LexCorp, Wayne Enterprises, and ancient Kryptonian technology led to great preliminary world building.

If the scoop from JoBlo is to be believed, it seems as though the web of world building is just getting started. Remember that scene from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer where Bruce opens up the newspaper clipping with “You Let Your Family Die” scrawled on it? Most people (including myself) assumed that it was Jared Leto’s Joker who wrote it, but imagine how interesting it would be if it were Jason Todd, beginning his quest to take revenge on Batman.

It also puts an exclamation point on the reveal of the seemingly burnt Robin costume with the words “HAHA Jokes On You Batman” scrawled across it. They could have put that in the movie just to show the toll that 20 years of crime fighting has taken on our hero. Using it as a seed for the future is just freaking fantastic!

The rumors also state that contrary to the assumptions of fans, this Joker does not know the Dark Knight’s secret identity. Red Hood is one of the few people who would not only know where to send that clipping, but have the motivation to taunt Mr. Wayne as well.

We also have another excuse (not that we need one) to ponder the possible clues in the Suicide Squad trailer. One thing that initially caught my attention the first time I heard it was Harley Quinn saying “You’re in so much trouble.” It’s exactly the kind of quirky thing she would say after witnessing or hearing about the second Robin being killed. This of course is all speculation, and could be proven horribly inaccurate in time. However, it does fit both the rumors and facts that we’ve been given so far.

Making an Under the Red Hood Batman movie would be a fantastic excuse to bring several amazing characters to the big screen. The Hood may be one of the best anti-heroes in all of DC, but he’s just the tip of the iceberg. It would also require much more from Joker, which I doubt few would complain about. And since Jason was the second Robin, that means it’s only a matter of time until we’re introduced to the first.

That’s right folks, Dick Grayson is rumored to be appearing as Nightwing! He may be alluded to or mentioned in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but a solo film focusing on the Caped Crusader would be the perfect opportunity to bring him to the big screen.

A few months ago, I wrote about why Ben Affleck being courted to star in and direct one or more solo superhero films was a great idea. The storyline we’re talking about now would be ideal for his directing style. At its core, Under the Red Hood is brilliant detective story. There is suspense, action, and a whole lot of mystery. Affleck has touched on themes like this in films like The Town, Gone Baby Gone, and Argo. And as we saw in Gone Girl, he can easily hold his own in front of the camera in this genre.

No matter how amazing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy was, one thing that was horribly glossed over was Bruce Wayne’s detective skills. He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, and we’ve barely ever seen it touched on in the feature films.The Dark Knight was a full-blown crime thriller, and we still saw almost nothing of Mr. Wayne’s advanced forensic and deduction skills.

We’ve known for some time that Ben Affleck’s take on the character will be much more tech-savvy than any of the previous live-action film portrayals. We’ve also been told that they’ve taken the fighting up several notches. If we are given the methodical genius who can solve any mystery placed in front of him, it will be everything that fans of the character have wanted to see.

Since it was announced that Batfleck would be going solo in the DCEU, I was pulling for some kind of adaptation of the Hush storyline. Now that I’ve had a chance to look over these rumors, I think this is a stronger choice. Hush involves so many characters that over two-thirds of the movie would be required to introduce them. Thanks to the steps being taken in Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, we’ll have everything that we need to bring this fantastic plot to life.

It also will give us more of what Suicide Squad director David Ayer alluded to last week in an interview. He stated that his film will reinvent the genre, giving us comic movies version 2.0. Instead of a plot where a bunch of people have to gather together to stop the world from being conquered (again), we will be getting a smaller, more personal story.

When Bruce sees that Jason Todd has been brought back, it brings up all of the issues that he tried for years to bury, including blaming himself for the young Robin’s death. It also puts him face-to-face again with his arch-nemesis. Seeing characters confronted with personal pain can often draw out a deeper range of emotions than an army of nameless, faceless adversaries. It’s exactly why films like The Dark Knight and Captain America: The Winter Soldier struck a chord with audiences.

While I seriously doubt that the majority of films in the DCEU will go this route, I won’t be complaining if we get a few that bring it down to street level now and then. I may not rush to the theater to see every film in the MCU, but I’ve seen how well Marvel has been able to utilize variety. Despite the much darker tone of DC’s Expanded Universe, there’s no reason to believe they won’t be throwing different genres in the mix as well.

In case you can’t tell, I’m beyond psyched, and sincerely hope that this latest round of rumors is true. It takes a great deal of care to plant seeds for this kind of world building, and I cannot wait to see how it all pans out on the big screen!

Do you think that this is the story that they should adapt for a Batman solo film? How do you feel it will tie into the DCEU? Sound off below in the comments section!

If this doesn’t shut up the “Joker is Jason Todd” crowd, nothing will…

Jesse M

Jesse M

Jesse M is a lover of film, science fiction, and DC Comics. He currently works as a professional writer, and lives in frigid Upstate, NY.