In talking about what happened to Wayne Manor in Batman v Superman, Zack Snyder potentially retconned the already amorphous DCEU continuity.
Batman v Superman is still one of the most controversial entries in the DCEU, as well as one of the more hotly debated superhero movies of all time. Its grim tone and unfriendly relationship between the World’s Finest were less than well-received by many fans, and this reception was seen by many as dooming the theatrical release of the follow-up, Justice League. The official release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, however, has revitalized talks about its predecessor’s plot elements.
With the release of images of The Joker for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the director brought up the backstory of the Caped Crusader and the Clown Prince of Crime. The crux of this discussion was the death of Robin, but it also involves a piece of priceless Wayne family real estate. In talking about what happened to the ruins formerly known as Wayne Manor, Zack Snyder also potentially retconned the already amorphous DCEU continuity.
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Batman v Superman’s Wayne Manor
During Dawn of Justice and later in Justice League, Wayne Manor is seen in absolute ruins. This building’s burned down, dilapidated status was seen by many as being reminiscent of Batman Begins and the sequels it spawned, but it had its own backstory behind it. This backstory wasn’t mentioned in the film itself, but it was recently brought up by Snyder himself in an interview with Vanity Fair discussing the recently released images of The Joker.
“I’d always wanted to explore the death of Robin,” Snyder said. “And if there ever was going to be a next movie, which, of course, there probably won’t be, I wanted to do a thing where in flashbacks we learn how Robin died, how Joker killed him and burned down Wayne Manor, and that whole thing that happened between he and Bruce.”
This information suggests that Wayne Manor met its end during the DCEU equivalent of “Death in the Family,” which would explain a lot. After all, this version of Batman essentially broke down into a far more cynical character following this event, and leaving Wayne Manor in such a moribund state would be a physical reminder of the rage burning inside of himself. As philosophical as this sounds, though, it contradicts earlier statements from Snyder about Wayne Manor and the events surrounding its destruction.
Zack Snyder’s Retcon
A few years after Dawn of Justice released in theaters, Snyder expounded on why Bruce Wayne lives in a lakehouse and why Wayne Manor was seen in such bad shape during the film, stating, “I think his father commissioned the lake house as a gift to his mother a place built by her favorite architect and she loved it. When Bruce turned 18, he moved in [and] he ordered Wayne Manor be left to decompose.”
This explanation is problematic for two reasons. Not only is it significantly less interesting than the new reasoning that Snyder provides, but it also directly contradicts it. It insinuates that Bruce simply stopped living at Wayne Manor for no real reason, while the “new” reason for him deserting the property adds much more gravitas. There is the possibility, however, that the Joker burned down even if that wasn’t where Bruce lived anymore. This doesn’t add up, though, mostly because it would mean that the Joker tried to make a statement by burning down an old building that was already derelict.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the DCEU has been quietly retconned, however, as each subsequent appearance of Wonder Woman makes the universe’s continuity that much more confusing. Plus, unlike in those cases, Snyder’s original explanation for Wayne Manor’s departure was never shown or mentioned within any of the films themselves, making it much easier to overlook.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. The film arrives on HBO Max March 18.
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