Sylvester Stallone As Batman In “The Dark Knight Returns”


Whenever anyone asks me the question “What comic book story would you most like to see turned into a live action film” (and I do get asked that question a lot) I always respond with the same two answers. 1) The Age Of Apocalypse from the X-Men universe, and 2) The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (300, Sin City).

The Dark Knight is the book that got me into comics in the first place. The story is of a 55 year old Bruce Wayne who gave up on being Batman after the death of the second Robin (Jason Todd). Consumed by guilt Wayne become an alcoholic. Now, years later Gotham is overrun by gangs, drugs and crime. One night Bruce is confronted by gang members, AND NOW HE’S HAD ENOUGH! Bruce comes back as Batman, but this time he’s older, his body can’t do all the things that he used to do and the public sees him more as a menace now. However, he’s also more brutal than he used to be with no compassion for those who would break the law. He RULES! Eventually this leads to a confrontation with Superman that culminates in the most epic battle in the history of comic books (in my opinion anyway).

Whenever you hear people talking about wanting to see a “Superman vs. Batman” movie, this is where it comes from.

For decades now people have wanted to see a Dark Knight Returns movie… but one of the problems that has always existed was who on earth you get to play Batman/Bruce Wayne. Well… maybe Frank Miller himself has given us the answer. Our friends over at Cinematical quote an interview with Miller about who he thinks would be the right guy for Batman:

“Just that mouth of his, the scowl and the way it would look in a mask. I loved Rocky Balboa. This wounded warrior, that’s what Batman is in Dark Knight Returns. “

I’ll cut right to it. I LOVE THIS IDEA!

Sylvester Stalone is not the greatest actor in the world, although when he’s on his game he can be pretty good, but he embodies The Dark Knight at 55. He has the face, he has the pure massive physique, he has that rage, that anger and he also has that sadness that underlies Wayne in the story. I can 100% see this without question. If I had $100 million in the bank I would immediately start making phone calls and try to get this off the ground.

The great thing is that The Dark Knight Returns is set in another time. It’s 20+ years in the future from where the current Batman franchise is set and thus you don’t have to worry about pretending they’re in the same or different continuities. Which just feeds into another reason why you get Stallone for this… he’s just about the right age (actually, he’s a touch too old, but he would work).

Will this ever happen? Probably not in a million years, but that doesn’t change the fact that Sylvester Stallone as Batman in The Dark Knight Returns is a wicked idea. So good, that I’d pay for it myself if I could (you might be surprised to discover I can’t).

So put on your casting hats. What would you think of Stallone as Batman? If not him, who could you see as the aged caped crusader?

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70 thoughts on “Sylvester Stallone As Batman In “The Dark Knight Returns”

  1. if Stallone gets the role of batman ? hummm i honestly think that would suck Bale is a very good bruce wayne / batman… stallone will fuck up the whole flow of the 2 movies …

  2. Why we always casting short asses for the Batman role??
    (lets discount West, Clooney and Kilmer as accidents of an entirely different kind).Seriously first Keaton, Bale and now STALLONE?

    (By the way I have nothing against Stallone. Yes he’s done some of the shittiest movies of all time, but he’s also given some outstanding performances (Rock and First Blood are brilliant)and some real guilty pleasures (Rambo, 2 and 4). He’s FAR TOO SHORT!! And don’t even mention his last effort at a comic adaptation with Judge Dredd.

    For TDK Returns its gotta be MICKEY ROURKE.
    He RULED Sin City! He’s big, he has the physique, and like Downey in Iron Man, Rourke is a bad boy actor on the comeback.

    Forget Bale,Nolan and Batman 3, lets get straight to TDK Returns, Rodriquez and Miller directing. AND MICKEY FUCKING ROURKE!

    Also if Watchmen is a success and with the current pulling power of TDK on an audience, then The Dark Knight Returns is absolutely gonna work.

  3. Wow, a lot of you guys really have no idea about how good an actor Stallone can be. As mentioned here already, watch films like F.I.S.T., Cop Land, Rocky as well as films like Nighthawks or Lords of Flatbush, and you’ll see that Stallone is easily on the level of a De Niro. No, he doesn’t talk like Rocky in real life, that’s like saying Al Pacino speaks with a bad Cuban accent, separate the person from the character. As for the role, I’m not sure, Stallone plays the role of melancholy, pensive, sad type character quite well, it might work and he’s probably the best choice out there. Mickey Rourke is another good idea. Really, at this point these two are probably the only ones capable of playing a broken down character like this.

  4. My brother and I were up until 6AM talking about this and you guys have already said most of the ones we came up with but not my favorite.

    Stalone has it on looks of course, and is close in some of the emotive areas, but you just cannot make that guy seem smart, and Miller’s Batman is one of the smartest men in the world. Sorry, can’t work.

    It’d love to see Kurt Russel in the mask, but I think the guy who’s got the voice (most important for all those inner monologues), the face, the emotional range, AND the acting chops is without a doubt Russel Crowe. All you gotta do is beef him up in the right way. Maybe he’s not quite that old, but he’s played old convincingly enough in the past that people would believe it with minimal make-up.

    I can hear his voice “…something ancient sucks the air and hisses…”

  5. Sly Stallone is definitely an interesting choice for Bruce Wayne, although an unorthodox one. He’s a great actor. Bruce Willis would be cool too. With Nathan Petrelli from heroes as Superman and Tim Curry as the Joker.
    How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

  6. i think people forget that in The Dark knight returns universe, Superman doesnt age. I think this is probably consistent with most Superman series. So Superman wont be the samea ge as Batman, at least appearence wise. in the comic, Superman is the only one who HASNT aged. he looks like he did in his prime. I think Bruce even makes a comment to him about his Kryptonian blood and how Bruce wishes he had some. this might be from something else, but it proves my point.
    As for Sly as Batman, I just dont see it. I guess on the up side, he has the build, is old, and who knows, maybe years of crimefighting has had a negative effect on the way he speaks (nerve damage or something). I just dont know if Sly could pull off being among the most intelligent men alive. It doesnt seem plausible.

  7. Dream DARK KNIGHT RETURNS cast–
    Daniel Day-Lewis as Bruce Wayne/Batman
    Anthony Hopkins as The Joker
    Matthew Bomer as Superman/Clark Kent
    Dakota Fanning as Carrie Kelly/Robbin
    Robert Redford as Ollie Queen/Green Arrow
    and just for shits……Michael Keaton as Harvey Dent
    Alfred is more difficult, in my opinion. You think of Bruce, who is 55, and imagine the other heroes and villains around his age. this means that alfred is probably 80+.

  8. I hope you followers aren’t serious. I mean, Stallone? Absolutely not. No one can replace Bale, it would be like replacing Ledger (R.I.P.) with George Clooner. Stalone wasn’t meant to play a part like this, he’s meant to play action movies with no mind-set/hollywood crowd pleasers.

    You people sure are one-sided and sure take direction easily. I guess when Martial law hits the states you’ll be the first people to sell out your family & friends and go along with the chaos. You people are pathetic…

  9. I totally agree with most of what has been written by the author here and prefer both this and The Dark Knight Strikes again, over Watchmen or other graphic novels (Sin City, 300, Wanted et al) and never grow weary of reading this again and again. Stallone seems a very good idea, but….what about Clint Eastwood (perhaps too old, but what the heck, he….just……rules). I sure hope an excellent director makes this (I was disappointed with the easy ways out taken by Nolan for his movies on Batman, esp. going for the PG-13 rating, so I hope he is not contracted). In my opinion, the best guys to direct this would be (in no particular order) – Darren Aronofsky / Quentin Tarantino / Roger Avary / Christopher McQuarrie / John Hillcoat / Peter Jackson / Guillermo Del Toro (his sellout Hellboy2 notwithstanding) / Timur Bekmambetov, and various others I perhaps do not know about. Here’s to hoping…….

  10. Stallone would be superb as the retiree Bats in TDKR! I think the film should go the same route “300” did with CGI backgrounds-save some money and you can make the city look dirty as hell. Give the rubber suit a toss and bring in the tights so Sly can show off his physique. The tights can work as proven by the fan film Batman: Dead End. My only grumble is that voice of his. Something would have to be done, maybe dubbing, who knows.

  11. Yeah, I can see it, cowering criminal held up against a wall, the dark knight full suited and in a scared voice the criminal asks…Who are you, to which Sylvester Stallone responds “I AM THE LAW!”

  12. Holy crap, just reading the title of this blog post got me excited. Sly playing this role is a great idea! I think people over associate his Rocky voice and mannerisms with the “real” Stallone. Think what you will about him, he’s a professional actor, and a damn bankable one. His look is perfect, and he could pull it off as an actor.

    I was actually thinking Mel Gibson for the Joker before I saw him suggested in the comments. He can play crazy, and I can see him with the same hair and persona as Ledger’s Joker.

    Or even Mark Hamill? He plays the Joker very well in the animated series and could probably pull it off.

    Superman and Alfred are tough for me. Alfred is seriously old in this story; maybe Christopher Lee? Even though Superman and Batman would be roughly the same age, Superman didn’t go through years of beatings, depression, and alcohol abuse. Plus, he’s Superman. Someone Stallone’s age that is leaner has more of a pampered look would work. I liked the Mark Harmon suggestion, and maybe he could work here. Or William Hurt? I don’t know, that’s tough for me.

  13. Great idea John, i think it could be the next best batman after batman 1 and 2. What i mean is it could be really dark and stylish movie especially when Frank Miller wrote it. To my mind The Dark Knight was too mainstream. Anyway that’s only my opinion.
    I suggest to make there some kind of online petition if possible to vote for this concept to come out and maybe there will rise a day when moviegoers can decide what they want to see instead of studios.


    p.s. cool blog by the way, keep it real.

  14. VAGABOND goes and does exactly what Im refereing too. Stallone isnt a boxer with slurred speech, your thinking of the fictional charatcter Rocky Balboa, I know they look alike and all.

  15. i like the idea of stallone as batman
    and though ive been thinking of who would make a good older batman/bruce wayne
    i hadnt thought of stallone

    i did however suggest

    Mark Harmon
    he looks like a much older experienced batman
    and at the same time play a very convincing bruce wayne

  16. i love that idea john…i also love the idea of maybe after what you sayd…
    we can get an even older batman that teaches the teenager high school jock how to be batman so they can make a “batman beyond” movie
    (the futuristic red and black batman…does anyone know what im talking about?)

    but that would prob have to wait after a while…but really look up the batman im talking about im sure you prob have no clue who im talking about

  17. No way! Batman is not a 50 year old italian with a mumble and a funny lip twitch. “Yo….Suooperman you and me in da ring!”

    ALEC BALDWIN should play him, got the right looks, good chin and the perfect voice. Nuff said.

  18. And rated R.

    That would separate it even more from the Nolan movies and make it obvious that it’ll be very different. Maybe if Watchmen does well they’d consider that. If Miller is involved and this idea actually gets going I think its definitely a possibility.

  19. mickey rourke x 1000

    alec balwin (lol i cant stand this guy and would love to see superman punch his whiney megalomaniac face in.)

    the clooney.

    donald trump – with rosie as the villain of course.

  20. Was surprised to see this headline, as I have been saying this exact same thing for over five years now. Way before the new batman movies. Stallone could do the role, he has the age and the body. Voice does not matter, as Batman does not speak much anyways. What got me first thinking this was the movie Copland. The way Stallone played that role would fit perfect for a movie like Dark Knight Returns. The tired, depressed, yet wanting to do good.

    I would love to see this movie. I have wanted it for years. Glad to see someone else saying the same thing.

  21. F.I.S.T. is underated, and obscure. People always struggle to separate Sly from Rocky. When comedians lampoon SLy they always use a Rocky voice. Just watch him in an interview and separate fact from fiction! This would be the best casting call since Clint Eastwood was mentioned a few years ago ( hes now too old).

  22. I always liked the idea of Clint Eastwood being an older, grizzled Batman. I just picture him in the suit and with that scowl, and the testosterone starts pumping!
    Now that he’s too old, i think his genetic offspring could work, namely Ed Harris or Viggo Mortensen. They both have a mean, wiry look and would look awesome in a thinner type suit similar to TDK. And they’ve got the acting chops to pull it off. Also, I think on youtube there’s an animated version of The Dark Knight Returns fight..

  23. Stallone with a good role is damn good!! I’ve said this time and time again. Myself along with the 7 other people on this earth who have seen copland would agree with me that Stallone is well capable of bringing a good character to the screen. Not to mention Rocky, Rocky II, and Balboa are exceptionally well acted on his part as well. I also enjoyed F.I.S.T. which I don’t know too many people who’ve seen it. He’s been typecasted unfortunately but hopefully the older he gets, he’ll be tempted and dedicated to bringing better characters to the screen again, like he did in his younger years,

  24. If you could get rid of Stallone’s voice then maybe, but only as Batman in the suit I definitely cannot see him as Bruce Wayne.

    I like entertainmentandbeyond’s idea of Michael Keaton. Now that would be something I would get excited about.

  25. Kristopher Tapley:

    Mr. Stallone speaks the way he does because of a condition he suffered at birth. Your comments are deeply unfair to the man.

    As for the idea of Mr. Stallone as Batman: JUST HOOK IT TO MY VAINS!!!

  26. Naming Nick Nolte for this could be seen a little too much as typecasting but a part from the ‘lifestyle experience’ he also seems to perfectly control the grunting voice needed while wielding the batsuit.

  27. Well Sly did look
    which covered up a similar amount of his face.

    now i think about it the character wouldn’t be too different for a lot of reasons, and i thought he did well so…

    Lets HOPE some EXECS read this blog.

  28. the voice to me is meh but thats easy to fix….i had just read these comics within the last 2 months and ya i totally can see this…i mean the art alone in the series shows batman to be slightly bigger at onset ot age….stallone would be IMO the perfect pick for the role…and to be honest the story line is completely what seperates batman from the “others” that wear outfits n stuff.

    and i hear what people are saying about rourke but lets be honest he is a douchebag that is trying to say sorry…but the fact is he is a douchebag… some research he was a monster to people more then 10 years ago…dont love the guy till u see the jerk he was….sure he is acting all cool now but i mean come on he is still mickey rourke….hey look at me i had everything but felt like portraying myself as a man that has been in prison for 15 years lawl …what a douche.

  29. If dark and serious Batman movies keep making bank like TDK has then absolutely, this will get made. It’s just going to take a while and if it never gets made in live action then i’m convinced we will see it as one of those animated straight to DVD movies.

    It would be nice to think that Bale will stop making Batman movies after his third but then comeback in twenty years and do this.

  30. I like the idea but someone please explain to me how Batman can have any chance against Superman? Kryptonite brass knuckles? Superman can move so fast Batman wouldn’t even who gave him the atomic wedgie.

  31. i’m a big fan of stallone’s and I don’t always agree with you john but, i think stallone would be an awesome older batman. the only problem i have if this were to ever happen is getting past all the other memorable characters he’s played in the past and that mug of his is kind of hard to hide behind a mask. i could live with his voice but if batman were to wear a full face mask, then i could accept it. i would even be okay if he were a body double for batman. another possible actor could be mickey rourke.

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