Despite the fact that we are a mere 473 days away from the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, we know absolutely nothing about Batman’s butler Alfred besides the fact that Jeremy Irons will be playing him. We haven’t even seen a high-definition glimpse of Irons in his buttling costume. Really, he’s a complete mystery, but thanks to comments made by Irons to The Hollywood Reporter in Marrakech, the truth is beginning to filter in.
Irons wouldn’t divulge much about his upcoming role as Bruce Wayne’s right-hand man in the big-budget Batman v. Superman, but called his Alfred “not a large role” due to the many characters in the Warner Bros. film. “He is quite a different Alfred than we have seen so far. Zack Snyder had very clear views about what he wanted,” he said. “I would just say he’s more hands-on perhaps than just a butler.”
So we’re finally getting a chance to see Darren Aronofsky’s “Big Al” version of the character? Or maybe Alfred is actually playing The Outsider, that would be unique.
Honestly, it’s hard to imagine a truly unique portrayal of the character if certain boxes have to be checked.
Michael Gough, Michael Caine, and Sean Pertwee have all played the character as a paternal figure at varying stages in Bruce Wayne’s life and with varying degrees of involvement with his training and his work as Batman through the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman films, the Nolanverse, and Gotham. Gough was the most detached, Pertwee is the most involved at this early juncture, and Caine was somewhere in the middle. So where does Irons’ version fit in?
The only thing that I can think of is, what if Alfred isn’t a paternal figure to Bruce, and what if that box doesn’t have to be checked?
This is just me thinking out loud, but if Affleck’s Batman is in his early 40s, does the character really need a father figure? This is the slimmest age difference between the actors playing Alfred and Bruce Wayne in history. Just 24 years separates Irons and Ben Affleck as opposed to the nearly 40 years that separated Caine and Christian Bale, and the nearly half a century between Gough and Michael Keaton. What if that isn’t just a random bit of trivia? What if Alfred, while still shepherding Bruce Wayne into adulthood, is more like a peer or even a colleague at this point in their relationship? That certainly would be “different” but not in a disruptive way, necessarily.