‘Batman: Unburied’ creator explains audio drama’s unique twist on Bruce Wayne’s backstory

Winston Duke & Batman Unburied Getty Images Remix By Keane Eacobellis

Batman begins again in a whole other medium in brand-new podcast Batman: Unburied, a star-studded audio drama that’s the first fruit of a lucrative partnership between Spotify and DC. The podcast just launched this Tuesday May 3, allowing listeners to get their first taste of this bold reinterpretation of the Caped Crusader’s story, which features Black Panther‘s Winston Duke as Bruce Wayne.

The brain behind Batman: Unburied is David S. Goyer, most known as the screenwriter of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Anyone expecting something that’s stylistically similar to those movies, however, will be in for a shock. The podcast actually turns Batman’s whole schtick on its head by giving him a living parent. Yes, in this version, Bruce is no longer an orphan.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Goyer explained that the drama’s core concept developed out of some “what if?” thought he had about his work on the Dark Knight films.

“When I was working with Chris [Nolan] on The Dark Knight movies, so much of that story was based on the shadow that Thomas Wayne cast and Bruce trying to live up to it,” Goyer revealed. “And so we thought, what’s that relationship like if Thomas is still alive? The obvious thing you think of is if Thomas Wayne is still alive, then probably Bruce wouldn’t be Batman because that was the formative experience that drove him to become Batman. We thought, would he go into the medical field? Maybe. So he’s in forensics, where he straddles the line between solving crimes and doing medicine.”

As Goyer says, Unburied casts Duke’s Wayne not as a playboy vigilante but a pathologist who’s still got an avid interest in detective work. In this case, he’s on the trail of a new serial killer operating in Gotham City, known as the Harvester (Sam Witwer). Other retooled versions of familiar DC characters likewise appear, including Barbara Gordon (Gina Rodriguez), the Riddler (Hasan Minhaj), Alfred Pennyworth (Jason Isaacs), and Vicki Vale (Ashly Burch). Lance Reddick voices the surprisingly still-going Thomas Wayne. The A-list cast also includes John Rhys Davies, Jessica Marie Garcia, and Toks Olagundoye.

The first two episodes of Batman: Unburied are available to stream exclusively on Spotify now. Future episodes drop weekly. Various international versions are similarly releasing today, in the likes of Brazil, France, India, Mexico, Germany, and Italy.