This isn’t quite on the level of one of the riddles put forward by Paul Dano’s Edward Nashton, but what do you get if you cross Taxi Driver‘s Travis Bickle with iconic Star Wars villain Darth Vader? Robert Pattinson’s armored costume in The Batman, according to several members of the design team.
The latest iteration of the Dark Knight has opted for the most grounded outfit we’ve seen yet, with his armor battered and scraped from two years spent patrolling the streets of Gotham. He doesn’t have the necessary equipment, nor a Lucius Fox-style benefactor to provide the fancy toys, so Matt Reeves’ Bruce Wayne has to do it all himself.
In an interview with Variety, costume designer Glyn Dillon revealed that Reeves always cited Robert De Niro’s incendiary outcast as a touchstone for how the Caped Crusader stores and utilizes the gadgets on his wrist gauntlets.
“When Matt came to us, he wanted the harpoon gun to somehow be within the vambrace. He was always talking about the Robert De Niro film Taxi Driver.”
As for Darth Vader, cinematographer Greig Fraser had previously lensed the galaxy’s most fearsome Sith when he shot the awe-inspiring epilogue to Rogue One, with Dillon going on to say that Pattinson’s Batman costume had to be painted in a color other than the blackest of blacks so that it would translate to the screen while still making sense contextually.
“When we were doing Darth Vader, again, he’s an all-black character. But when you actually see the helmet in real life, you realize that large chunks of it are painted dark silver. We definitely were going for the feeling of everything being utilitarian.”
Batman might be a one-of-a-kind superhero, but that doesn’t mean the folks tasked to design his aesthetic can’t take a couple of cues from a pair of cinema’s baddest dudes.