Comics, cartoons, live action. Adam West, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale. Nipples, no nipples. Batman comes in many forms. Along with these forms come fan theories about Bruce Wayne, his Chiroptera alter ego, and the myriad deranged, maniacal, sometimes, decent characters populating Gotham. Some of these theories are well thought out, complex, and totally believable. Others are so insane you wonder whether whomever cooked them up was also cooking meth. Compiled in one list, find here the wildest Batman fan theories, those that belong tied up in a straitjacket and locked in a padded room at Arkham Asylum, alongside Joker, Pamela Isley, and Jonathan Crane.
Alfred Pennyworth is the central villain of the Batman universe
This theory comes from Facebook user Philip Johnson.
One night at the Wayne mansion long ago, Martha goes to Thomas’ study to tell him it’s time for bed and for them to go upstairs. He declines and continues to work, as usual. Frustrated, Martha then goes into the liquor cabinet and begins to drink. She goes to her room closes the door then begins crying. Alfred hears Martha sobbing. Martha begins to tell Alfred she’s tired of feeling neglected. Alfred calms her down, and they both begin to drink. One thing leads to another…Alfred wakes up sometime shortly after and returns to his quarters, neither of them tell Thomas to preserve the relationship and the Wayne family name.
10 weeks pass and Martha wakes up feeling sick. She goes to the doctor and finds out she is pregnant. Still in shock, she tells neither Alfred nor Thomas that the Alfred is the father. Thomas and Martha agree that they are not ready to be parents and give the baby boy up for adoption.
The guilt of what she has done plagues Martha. She writes a letter to Alfred explaining everything – that it was Alfred’s child she was pregnant with, and how she regrets abandoning him, but she decides not to give him the letter. The child that was given up for adoption has been growing up and living in orphan homes. He causes trouble and displays early signs of psychopathy. No family wants him and he is tormented by the other children. Eventually he goes mad.
Years later, Bruce Wayne is born. Alfred is cleaning and stumbles upon a letter addressed to no one. He opens the letter begins to read. Alfred is furious and resents Martha for lying to him, and for giving up their child whom he would have loved. Alfred’s resentment builds, and one night, he decides to follow a Wayne family outing in secret. After the show, they cut down an alleyway and are shot by an unseen figure guised as a robber.
The man who shot the Waynes is none other than Alfred. He keeps Bruce alive so that he knows the pain of growing up parentless, like Alfred’s own son, whom he tried and failed to find. In a cruel twist of fate, Batman’s two biggest enemies are his own butler, Alfred, and his half-brother, The Joker.
Joker Didn’t Kill Anyone at Bruce’s Fundraiser for a Reason
This theory from Redditor poeir (perhaps more an observation than a fully fledged theory) suggests that Joker crashes Bruce Wayne’s fundraiser in The Dark Knight to confirm his belief that Harvey Dent is Batman. He wasn’t there to kill anyone, but to unveil Batman’s identity. The evidence? Well, firstly, Joker states, “For a minute there, I thought you were Harvey Dent” at one point. Later in the film, Joker toys with Dent when he’s shooting at his convoy; it seems like he’s not even really trying to kill him.
Here’s the theory, in all its glory. If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight in a while, it might be a little confusing:
“First, when the Joker arrived at Bruce’s fundraiser for Harvey Dent, the Joker wasn’t randomly killing people–he had a plan, and part of what made his plans horrifying was his ability to tell the police exactly who he was going to kill and then kill them. Killing random bystanders doesn’t accomplish that. When the Batman (who the Joker thinks is Harvey Dent) jumps out the window to rescue Rachel, the Joker expects them to be the same person, so there’s no reason to keep looking for Harvey Dent at the party.
Later, when Harvey Dent is being transported by police, the Joker uses an escalating series of weapons against the convoy, but doesn’t use the rocket launcher on the paddywagon containing Harvey Dent. The only weapons he uses are ones that can’t penetrate the paddywagon’s armor, and he gradually escalates to make the threat to Harvey Dent seem real. He does this to discover if they really are the same person: If the Batman shows up, Harvey Dent isn’t Batman. If the Batman doesn’t arrive, Harvey Dent is Batman.
The Joker never wanted to kill Batman (he says as much in the interrogation scene, ‘I don’t, I don’t want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, NO! No. You… you… complete me.’), he wanted to force Batman to break his ‘one rule.’ A dead Batman cannot be corrupted, so as long as Harvey Dent might be Batman, Dent must not be killed.”
Batman Is a Patient at Arkham Asylum
Reddit user slugboy questions whether the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents cracked his mind, leading him to create Batman and the entire Gotham universe in his mind. Alfred, unable to take care of an insane young Bruce, sent him to Arkham Asylum. The people Bruce encountered in the asylum became characters in insane Bruce’s Batman drama.
As per this theory:
“Alfred would come to visit and attempt to be the voice of reason, but never could really get through. Dr. Jonathan Crane tried various methods to snap Bruce back into reality, but Bruce’s reality is so terrifying that he receded back into the delusion. Dr. Edward Nigma, a therapist, would try to reason Bruce back in to the real world, but Bruce would twist his words into riddles. So, he continues to chase these villains and bring them to Arkham Asylum from which they will inevitably escape – because they were never actually incarcerated.”
Robin Is a Potential Weapon Against Batman
As comments on this theory point out, the idea that Robin is a safeguard against Batman seems like a genuine plot from a cartoon or comic, one it would be interesting to see in the future. The theory posits that Bruce Wayne himself put Robin in place just in case Batman loses it and becomes a villain.
The theory, from Redditor acidityregulator, states:
“What Batman fears more than anything is turning evil. He is perfectly aware he is capable of doing so, and just about no-one would be able to stop him if he was a villain. But what if there was a person who knew his fighting style and weaponry inside out and back to front? What if there was another person with his skill and similar life experiences, yet far more young and optimistic than Batman?”
Joker Is the Hero of The Dark Knight
This theory states, in great detail, that, despite being a psychopath, Joker helps guide Gotham from a corrupt, organized-crime-choked mess to a city with hope of progress. Joker’s actions cleared up a lot of corruption in Gotham’s political process. And that was part of his plan all along.
To quote from Redditor generalzee’s exacting explanation:
“Gordon’s promotion, too, did a major service to Gotham. I think a lot of people take the Joker’s clapping during Gordon’s promotion scene to be sarcastic, but I actually think that Joker believed in Gordon, one of the few officers on the force who was truly incorruptible.
So now Joker has a pretty clear path to getting rid of the organized crime problem and the corrupt officials problem, but the vigilante problem remains. As we saw at the beginning of the film, Batman was inspiring other vigilantes, and a society cannot stand when each man takes his own justice. This symbol of fear and unbridled vengeance, as Joker sees it, needs to be stopped, but not killed. If he were killed, he would just be a martyr, and his symbol would live on. Of course, since Dent was a far better symbol for the city, he would make a far better martyr.”
The Joker Is a War Veteran
Redditor hokky points out that Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is an intelligent tactician and capable fighter. From holding his own head-to-head with Batman to planning his escape from the police station, it’s clear he’s not some rando civilian. Add on top of that the trauma, PTSD, and insanity that comes with serving time in a war zone, and it seems plausible that the guy who withstands Batman’s brutal interrogation may have been a prisoner of war once upon a time.
A commenter on this theory made note of the fact that, during The Dark Knight, when giving examples of his problems with society, Joker says if “…A truck load of soldiers will be blown up, no one panics, because it’s all part of the plan.”See what else was part of the Joker’s plan here.
Bruce Wayne Owns Gotham’s HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) Systems
As per Redditor Taormania’s theory, Bruce Wayne owns all the HVAC systems in Gotham in the Batman: Arkham video game universe. Taormania explains that, in the games, Batman can fit inside of all vents in the city, and he’s a big guy.
Bruce Wayne is extremely rich and very intelligent; it’s not out of the realm of possibility he took control of Gotham’s HVAC systems and made certain all the vents and ducts in the city were big and strong enough to support him.
Batgirl Was Supposed to Be in The Dark Knight Rises
Redditor Beef_Supreme theorizes that Batgirl was originally intended to appear in The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR). The theory primary addresses creative decisions affected by the death of Heath Ledger.
“I know that the producers of TDKR weren’t counting on Heath Ledger dying and they had a completely different idea as to what to do for the final film, but one thing I think they were planning to include was an incarnation of Batgirl.
Barbara Gordon is a fairly big part of the batman mythos (both as batgirl and oracle) and even though they called Jim’s wife Barbara in TDK, one scene gave me the impression that batgirl was gonna be in the next one.
The scene I’m talking about is the finale, where Harvey Dent is holding The Gordon’s hostage. His wife and son both get a good amount of emotional screen time but all the time that Barbara (referring to his daughter instead of his wife) is on screen, her face is obscured and you can’t quite make out who is playing her.
Even after a load of digging, I can’t find who played Jim’s daughter and I think this happened because Christopher Nolan didn’t want to commit an actress to batgirl.
It could even tie into the TDKR mythos. 8 years pass, Bruce is moping in his house, and super villains are still f*cking up Gotham. With this in mind, Barbara (now between the ages of 18 and 21) inspired by Batman saving her when she was young, takes up the mantle to save Gotham.
On top of that, her expertise with computers and genius intellect would be a much better explanation to her discovering Batman’s identity compared to Joseph Gordon Levitts ‘psychic orphan’.
To add to this, the joker is didn’t die at the end of TDK so if Heath Ledger were still around they could have tied it into The Killing Joke plot line.”
note: Hannah Gunn played Gordon’s daughter, as per IMDB.
Batman Killed Joker in The Dark Knight Returns
In the gnarly, animated The Dark Knight Returns, Joker goes on a shooting rampage, killing several people. Afterward, Batman snaps his neck. It appears this doesn’t kill him though, leading to Joker further snapping his own neck to finish the job, fully killing himself.
A Redditor theorizes that Batman actually did kill Joker, and the subsequent conversation and Joker’s suicide take place in Batman’s head, a way of convincing himself he didn’t break his one rule.
Joker Has a Superpower
Redditor Codoro points out that Joker seems a little too lucky to be a normal (albeit totally insane) guy. So what gives? Well, as per Codoro’s theory, Joker survives so much because he has a power: a supernatural sense of good timing.
The theory states, “That’s why all his schemes can work and why the only times he gets caught are when he can safely get away later. Because even if he’s unaware that he’s doing it, he’s always in the right place at the right time.”
The theory stipulates that Joker’s insanity ties into the fact that he’s unaware of his power.
The Riddler Was in The Dark Knight
It’s been pointed out that the character who tries to blackmail Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight was named Coleman Reese, or Mr. Reese. Which sounds a lot like “mysteries.” Everyone knows The Riddler’s shtick is mysteries, and his name is Edward Nigma, or E. Nigma, as in “enigma.” So maybe in Nolan’s universe, The Riddler isn’t E. Nigma, but Mr. Reese.
The Title Batman V Superman Indicates Differing Ideals of Justice
As explained by Bustermustang on Reddit, “Superheroes are seen as the face of Justice. When someone commits a crime in their eyes, they enforce the peace with their incredible power. While the fight between them will be exciting, the other side of the conflict will be the argument, or the conflicting of ideas. Legal cases are documented with a V as in ‘Mapp V. Ohio’ or ‘Miranda V Arizona’ where Justice is determined, just like it will be in the film.”
Bruce Wayne’s Life Is Fake, Like The Truman Show
A Redditor suggested that Batman, his enemies, and the entire Bat universe is created and controlled by Wayne Enterprise, without Bruce’s knowledge. The theory is detailed, and points to things that would make sense as part of the elaborate show. For example:
“The Bat Signal: What better way to get Bruce into one of these controlled scenarios than the Bat Signal? Turn on the signal, Batman shows up, tell him to go to Warehouse X, he finds the villain, punches the villain, everyone goes home happy.
Batman never loses: Why does Batman never lose, because it’s scripted for him to win all the altercations, like pro wrestling.
New cast members: Explains why there are multiple Robins, Clayfaces, etc.
No one has really died in the Batman universe: You can say that Stephanie Brown was ‘written’ off the show, but even Jason Todd is back as a regular character.
Gotham hasn’t executed the Joker: They need the Joker, and the other villains, so they can’t execute the criminals even though they ‘deserve’ it.”
It’s certainly an interesting concept worthy of checking out in its entirety.