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Is This Black Panther Star Being Eyed To Play DC's Black Batman?

Is a black Bat coming to the big screen?

Citing their wily anonymous sources, the rumor-mongers at We Got This Covered are reporting that Warner Bros. and DC Films have designs on making an Elseworlds-style film featuring a black version of Batman ... and that the studios already have an actor in mind.

That actor is Daniel Kaluuya, the heavyweight British thespian who knows his way around a comic book adaptation. The star has previously appeared as the supervillain Black Death in 2013's Kick-Ass 2, and as W'Kabi in 2018's Black Panther. You may also recognize him from his lead role in Jordan Peele's brilliant 2017 directorial debut Get Out, or perhaps from his appearance as poor, lovelorn Bingham Madsen in "Fifteen Million Merits," one of the best and most brutal episodes of Black Mirror.

There's no doubt that the guy could make an amazing Batman, since he's as talented as actors come and has demonstrated the necessary physicality to take on a lead superhero role. The idea of a Batman story set outside the DCEU's main continuity could also be interesting — just look at Joker, which is in no way connected to the other films from the label, and which was hailed by many as one of the best films of last year, period.

As to whether there's actually anything to this rumor, though, suffice to say that we're highly skeptical, even though there is precedent for a black version of the Dark Knight (Black Knight?) in the comics.

Has there ever been a black Batman in the comics?

DC Comics gave us the black hero Batwing, a Bruce Wayne-sanctioned crimefighter operating in the fictional city of Tinasha in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The character was introduced in Batman Incorporated, a series that saw Wayne essentially trying to franchise the symbol that is Batman and train various operatives to carry on his legacy of striking fear into the hearts of criminals all over the world. 

The Batwing suit, which was designed by Lucius Fox, and which is armored and has limited regeneration and flight capabilities, was first worn by David Zavimbe, an ex-child soldier turned police officer hand-picked by Wayne to lead the fight against the global terrorist organization known as Leviathan. After the supervillain Massacre (who lived up to his name) was revealed to be Zavimbe's older brother, he resigned as Batwing.

The next character to take on the mantle was none other than Luke Fox, Lucius' son. This version of the character has had slightly more staying power, and has also appeared in the animated film Batman: Bad Blood, the DC Icons novel Catwoman: Soulstealer, and the massively multiplayer online game DC Universe Online. Luke Fox even appears in the CW series Batwoman, portrayed by Camrus Johnson, although the character has yet to suit up as Batwing.

Does the DCEU really have plans for a black Batman?

While the thought of Kaluuya stepping into the role of Batwing (or just an alternate Batman) is certainly enticing, the unfortunate fact is that WGTC's report is, in all likelihood, a bunch of malarkey. For one thing, it simply doesn't make sense on its surface for DC Films to be muddying up the Batman waters at a time when they're getting ready to bring the first solo Batman film in almost a decade to market, with a rebooted version of the character on which fans aren't entirely sold, yet. We think Robert Pattinson will absolutely kill it in the role, but not everybody is so convinced.

For another, even though it's tough to argue with the "Elseworlds"-style approach in the wake of Joker's billion-dollar success, there have been no announcements concerning any other such projects, even in the vaguest terms -Even Joker 2 is far from a foregone conclusion. Pair this with the fact that exactly zero media outlets other than WGTC are reporting on this rumor, and we're left with the strong possibility that the web site's sources are — as they often tend to be — not entirely sound.

We suppose it's possible, though, that some executive somewhere will catch wind of this rumor, think that it sounds like a pretty good idea, and jot down a note reading, "Kaluuya — Batwing?" for their next pitch meeting. In the meantime, we'll just look forward to the actor's next project: He'll be starring as Black Panther (the political party, not the superhero) Fred Hampton in an as-yet untitled biopic, currently in post-production and slated for release later this year.