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Why Batman's new costume could be made from a gun

Damn, Bruce... that's metal.

Footage from a camera test for The Batman featuring Robert Pattinson in the Batsuit has officially been unveiled (courtesy of the film's co-writer and director Matt Reeves), and fans are already picking it apart. Among their more fascinating discoveries: Batman's chest plate appears to have been made from repurposed materials.

Although the footage is bathed in red light, it does reveal a pretty sweet-looking Batsuit with a solemn Robert Pattinson demonstrating that, at the very least, he has the right jaw for the part. The chest plate really turned heads, though; at first glance, it simply appears to be mechanical, possibly made from a pair of Batarangs or some other gadgets of the type that the Dark Knight is inclined to utilize. At second glance, though, it looks like something much more hardcore: pieces of a gun.

Now, we know what you may be thinking: Batman doesn't use guns. Heck, he hates guns. Why on Earth would he have pieces of one embedded in his costume? Fans think they know the answer, and if you haven't guessed it yet, prepare for a big ol' explosion inside your cranium.

The theory is that it isn't just any gun that Batman may have used to construct his chest plate. Fans believe that the possible gun in question will serve to remind Bruce Wayne, every single time he goes to put on that suit, why he's putting himself in danger to protect the citizens of Gotham. The gun that can prod him to think of the innocent lives that might be lost if he should lose his focus — the gun that set him on the path to becoming the Batman in the first place. That's right: the idea goes that protecting Batman's heart in the new Batsuit could be the gun that was used to kill his parents.

There's precedence in the pages of DC Comics

Fans weren't the only ones to jump on this possibility. Filmmaker and comic book writer Kevin Smith was among the first to notice that the insignia on the new Batman costume could be made from a gun — because if it's indeed true, he's likely the one that gave the film's team the idea. Smith was among the many writers to participate in the creation of Detective Comics #1000, a 2019 tome that featured a plethora of intriguing Batman tales. In Smith's story, Bruce Wayne melted down the firearm that was used in his parents' murder, fashioning it into a plate that was hidden under the logo on his chest. 

In response to a fan's tweet opining that Pattinson's Bruce Wayne is rocking pieces of his parents' murder weapon on his chest, Smith tweeted a series of panels from his story, seen below. He added in the caption: "As the author of a certain @JimLee story in #Detective1000, I pray to SMod this is true."

If this is true, it could be a very savvy move on the part of director Matt Reeves and his co-writer Mattson Tomlin. The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne is a well-known and oft-depicted element of Batman's story, and it'd be easy to make the case that The Batman would do well to avoid revisiting that particular plot point (much like Spider-Man: Homecoming declined to give us another version of the death of Peter Parker's Uncle Ben).

Using their murder weapon as an element of Batman's costume could serve as a compelling visual signifier of the Dark Knight's origin — a way to ensure that even if they're never even seen onscreen, the Waynes' presence will loom large over The Batman's narrative.

Also, as more than one fan on Twitter pointed out, it would be metal as hell.

Batman has previously wielded the gun used to murder his parents

The gun that killed Batman's parents also appears — in an arguably even more significant way — in the pages of the wondrously loony Batman: Year Two, a four-part story penned by Mike W. Barr that first appeared via Detective Comics #575 through #578

At a tense point in the first issue's narrative, Bruce Wayne decides that the proper way to avenge his parents' deaths is to take the gun involved in their murder and fire it at someone else — the Judson Caspian iteration of the Reaper, an original protector of Gotham who suits back up and aims to outperform Batman with his experience in lethal-force-fueled vigilantism, penchant for violence, and proficiency in wielding weapons (most notably guns). 

"I've always dreaded this, but perhaps the only way to avenge them is to fight my enemy on his own terms, to fight the kind of men who killed them with the weapon that made me what I am," Bruce says in the comic. "The gun that took their lives."

Now, Reeves has made it clear that his film offer a fresh take on the character, previously teasing that The Batman is "an almost-noir driven, detective version of Batman" that pulls inspiration from the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Likewise, Pattinson made waves by stating that Batman is "not a hero" but rather a "complicated character" who isn't totally good or bad. That considered, though, it feels like it would be too much of a narrative risk to put any kind of gun in Batman's hands in the upcoming film — let alone one with so much importance. Batman has long opposed guns, and the backlash that could come from incorporating the Batman: Year Two plot point into the new movie's narrative would be major. Thus, it seems that if the gun used to kill Batman's parents does somehow make its way into the film, it probably won't be used by Bruce to murder anyone else. 

This further fuels the idea that Batman might use it to fashion his suit's insignia, just as he did in Detective Comics #1000. But with nothing confirmed in this regard as of yet, any chatter about the gun's involvement in the new movie is just speculation.

The new Batman costume seems to have a lot of influences

Circling back to the new Batman costume, fans have pointed out that it seems to be something of an amalgam of a number of Batsuits past. Among its more prominent features is a popped collar, which calls to mind the design of the cowl in Gotham by Gaslight, the animated film that posited an alternate version of Batman operating in the Victorian era. Battinson's cowl isn't quite so stuck-up as the version seen in Gaslight, but it's enough so that it seems certain that the animated flick was an influence on The Batman's costume design.

The shoulder pieces and overall aesthetic of the new Batsuit also seem to owe a lot to Batman's design in the Arkham video game series – particularly 2015's Arkham Knight, — while the mask is reminiscent of nothing so much as the classic design from Tim Burton's original 1989 flick Batman

If the Batman team was going for a best-of-all-worlds kind of feel with the new Batsuit, then so far, it's looking like they pretty much nailed it.

It wouldn't surprise us if the influences of even more versions of the Batsuit were to reveal themselves once we get a better look at the Caped Crusader's new duds, preferably one that doesn't look like it was shot from the bottom of a bowl of cherry Jell-O. Hopefully, that will come sooner rather than later. 

The Batman is schedule for release on June 25, 2021.