As a filmmaker, lifelong comic book fan, and someone who has played in the Arrowverse, Kevin Smith knows a thing or two about the Dark Knight – and he might have pointed out the DCU’s perfect Batman actor without even knowing it. Of course, Smith is good friends with a certain Ben Affleck, but even he knows the time for Batfleck is over, and there will be a new Caped Crusader in James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new DC cinematic universe.
Smith’s FatMan Beyond podcast has become a must-listen and must-watch for pop culture junkies. On a regular basis, Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin share their thoughts on all the latest happenings in the world of entertainment, recommending what people should have on their radar.
In February 2022, Smith gushed about one brand-new show in particular: Amazon Prime’s Reacher. He showered the series with incredible praise, stating: “Every episode is satisfying. I can’t think of a better word for it, man. It’s like Batman with no cape. That’s it. He just f***ing rolls around punching f***ers and killing them.”
Naturally, Smith’s lavish praise extended to the lead star of Reacher, Alan Ritchson, who Smith described as “astounding.” So, if Ritchson is already “Batman with no cape,” why don’t Gunn and Safran give it to him along with a cowl?
Ritchson is no stranger to comic book adaptations. He played Arthur Curry/Aquaman on Smallville, then Raphael in both 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 2016’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. More recently, he played the fan-favourite Hank Hall/Hawk in the Titans TV series, while there were also rumours that he was in the running to play Shazam before Zachary Levi was cast.
Five years ago, Ritchson may not have been the hot commodity to play the Dark Knight, struggling to shake off the ghost of Thad Castle from Blue Mountain State, but he may be the right person to play Batman in the DCU now. Not only has his popularity skyrocketed because of Reacher, but he’s also being taken as a legitimate action star now, as he is set to appear in Fast X. More importantly, Ritchson looks like a dead ringer for Alex Ross’ Batman. He’s tall, muscular, and has the razor-sharp jawline to bring the Dark Knight to life.
While it’s obvious the DCU is rebooting, Gunn has only mentioned how Superman will be younger – no other character. Considering The Brave and The Bold is set to feature Batman and Damian Wayne, this means the Caped Crusader has been around for a few years and had multiple sidekicks already – if it sticks to canon of course. Now, this doesn’t mean he has to be the 55-year-old Batman from The Dark Knight Returns, but he’s most likely in his late 30s or early 40s as in the comics.
Ritchson is set to turn 39 years old in 2023, making him the right age to play Batman in the DCU. At the same time, he’s also a father to three children, so he will already be familiar with and relate to some of the challenges that Bruce Wayne may encounter with Damian, too – apart from having his kid raised by the League of Assassins.
While it’s unlikely that the DCU Batman actor has been cast already, Kevin Smith may have inadvertently earmarked Alan Ritchson as the perfect Dark Knight. If anything, Ritchson should be somebody who is on Gunn and Safran’s list of top candidates, because he ticks every single box.