After the Capitol riot occurred, was there any discussion of removing that plotline?
Well, the problem is that it was so central to the story. We all looked at each other and said, ultimately, we felt that it was both different enough, and also it was, quite frankly, so critical to the story.
There were moments when we were shooting and the cast and I looked at each other, going, this is strange. I remember the day where Jayme Lawson [who plays Bella Reál, the mayor-elect] is talking, in the aftermath of everything that happened, and she says, we must rebuild — not just our city but people’s faith in our institutions. It’s one of these things where I was like, whoa.
I was really interested to see if that was something that would come up for an audience when we did our test screenings with all these Batman fans, and it didn’t really, and so that gave me reassurance, too.
Batman’s line, “I’m vengeance,” was played up in the promotion of this film, almost as a catchphrase, but then he hears those words repeated back to him by one of the Riddler’s followers. Is his lesson that he has to transcend this — that for the people of Gotham, he has to be a real hero?
When I was looking at the comics and “Batman: The Animated Series,” Kevin Conroy’s speech about “I am vengeance. I am the night,” something about that really connected to me. He’s doing this to get back at what happened to him, so he’s striking out. That is a form of vengeance, but that vengeance is not enough. He has to become more, and that’s the message of the whole movie. I want him to go from somebody who is projecting vengeance to somebody who’s letting people know that somewhere in all of this darkness, there’s hope. That was his arc.
You seem to have clearly laid some track for a possible sequel. Are you already thinking about where the story is going to go next?