In most Batman stories Thomas and Martha Wayne are beacons of truth and goodness. Thomas was a well-regarded surgeon, Martha was a philanthropist, and both were considered shining lights of Gotham City. This makes their murder all the more tragic, with their positive example a factor in their son becoming Batman.
But we’re hearing reports that the Waynes will have some serious skeletons in their closet in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Apparently in this universe Martha Wayne had a crippling addiction to pills and Thomas Wayne arranged the death of those about to expose the truth.
This would fit with the moody and brutal tone of Robert Pattinson’s new Batman, as well as potentially giving his enemies a reason to seek revenge against the Wayne family.
Batman fans will know that the idea of the Waynes being far from squeaky clean isn’t new. In Grant Morrison’s excellent Batman R.I.P. comic arc it was revealed that the Waynes were secretly involved in the criminal underworld, abusing drugs and hosting Eyes Wide Shut-style orgies. DC played damage control on this in later stories, but the notion of a secret stain on the Wayne family coming back to haunt Bruce has remained in the background.
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And, of course, 2019’s Joker showed us a much less sympathetic Thomas Wayne than we’d previously seen in live-action. In this story he’s a callous and amoral politician who refuses to even consider that Arthur Fleck might be his illegitimate son. His dismissal of him leads to the riot in the movie’s finale, during which he and Martha are killed and Bruce is inspired to become Batman.
The Batman‘s drug addiction story could just be a smokescreen concocted by Paul Dano’s Riddler to make Pattinson’s Batman doubt himself, though even that’s the case it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with it. Let’s hope we get another trailer soon that hints at this plotline.
The Batman will hit theaters on March 4, 2022.