Of all the announcements from Wondercon this past weekend, not one of them shed any light on the rumor that Batman was going to die and become reborn as one of DC's "New Gods" during this summer's Final Crisis event. As it turns out, Batman and Final Crisis writer Grant Morrison was online during WonderCon weekend, talking to Newsarama about how that rumor got started, as well as what he does to do to the Dark Knight.
Talking about the death/rebirth rumor, Morrison explained where that got started:
When we first spoke about Final Crisis, coming out of the Seven Soldiers series, I had the New Gods cast down onto Earth, and because they'd lost their former shapes, they were cast as spirits or avatars possessing human bodies, like Voodoo gods [as shown in Seven Soldiers: Mr. Miracle].
For a brief moment back in 2006, I discussed the idea that the gods could then take over the bodies of familiar DC characters - so that an appropriate hero or villain could become the new Orion or Darkseid, say, and someone equally appropriate would become the new Lightray, kind of thing.
That didn't happen because no one wanted to mess with either Jack Kirby's or Gerry Conway's intellectual property by saying Lightray was now inhabiting Firestorm or something like that. Quite rightly, no-one was willing to change existing DC characters into Kirby characters, because that would immediately confuse the ownership of the character and somebody would get cheated out of equity if that character was used in a movie or TV show or whatever. It's very much a copyright issue.
Obviously, someone heard some faint years-old echo of this discarded idea and pawned it into the notion that Bruce Wayne was going to become a New God. That was never going to happen. That's just insane. (laughs)
And as to what is in Bruce Wayne's future?
I can tell you this much - this is the first story I had planned when Peter Tomasi, the editor at the time, asked me to do Batman, which must have been two years ago now... longer. And the very first story title I noted down was "Batman RIP". I had a particular image for the cover, which Alex Ross has done a bang-zoom- thousand-times-better version of for the second part of the story.
So it came from there...and out of that notion came the idea for the big overarching story I've been telling since I first came on the book. Everything...the "Zur-En-Arrh" graffiti, the Joker prose story, the Club of Heroes...every detail that's been in the book for the last couple of years is significant, everything is a clue to the grand design that's unfolding.
My run on Batman is a 25-chapter novel that reaches its climax in "RIP" and maneuvers Batman into the greatest danger he's ever known, at the mercy of the world's deadliest criminal lunatics.
And yeah, I've seen all kinds of speculation about "RIP," but it's not necessarily what people think it's going to be, although there are very big changes coming to Batman. When we say that this is the story that changes the legend of the Dark Knight forever, we're quite serious about that.
Talking Batman with Grant Morrison [Newsarama]