Sylvester Stallone has long dominated the action genre of film. Best known for his role as the boxer Rocky Balboa from the top-grossing Rocky series that produced multiple hit movies over three decades, Stallone has spent his career being one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood to take on strong man roles. Yet as one of the biggest actors in the world, the 75-year-old missed the opportunity to don any superhero capes during his prime years. With the superhero genre being at peak momentum, the Italian Stallion has had plenty of opportunities to dive into the superhero craze, but it seems there is only one role he would absolutely love to play — the caped crusader himself, Batman.
In 2010, Sylvester Stallone took part in a series of fan Q&As for AICN and gave his thoughts on playing Batman. One question brought up Batman comic book writer, Frank Miller, who once stated he would have liked to have seen Stallone play an older Batman in an adaptation of Miller’s seminal graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Stallone responded, “It sounds very intriguing. I can certainly relate to his plight and the main concern would be: Do you still have fire in the gut at that age to be interesting to watch? If the flame is still burning, which I suspect it will be, since I have reflux and ulcers anyway, something will still be simmering inside. So yes, that would be quite a revelation.”
When Batman became a worldwide phenomenon following the success of Tim Burton’s 1989 adaptation of the comic, it wasn’t a Hollywood strong man that was chosen for the role of Bruce Wayne. Instead, actors like Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney were given the roles of the vigilante. And while there are plenty of known actors in Hollywood at the time considered for the role of Batman, Stallone’s name has never been mentioned. Quite possibly, the Rambo actor simply had no interest in the time of taking on such roles. In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Stallone revealed his distaste for the action movie genre’s casting choices in the ‘90s. Referring to the first Batman, he said, “The action movies changed radically when it became possible to Velcro your muscles on. It was the beginning of a new era. The visual took over. The special effects became more important than the single person. That was the beginning of the end.”
Even though the world never got a chance to see the strong man suit up as one of the beloved comic book heroes like Batman, Sylvester Stallone has managed to break his way into the genre this past decade. An appearance in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 found the Hollywood vet playing Stakar Ogord, one of the Ravagers’ leaders. While the role may have been no Batman, it’s been heavily rumored to possibly lead into a Ravagers spinoff starring Stallone. Similarly with DC, Stallone voiced King Shark in James Gunn’s recent film, The Suicide Squad.
It’s likely we won’t see Sylvester Stallone taking on Gotham’s finest in any feature role, but that doesn’t rule out all possibilities of seeing the 75-year-old helm the character. At the ripe age of 70, Michael Keaton will be reprising his iconic role in the upcoming DC tentpole project, The Flash, and reports are also claiming now that Keaton will return for the slated film Batgirl as well. Sylvester Stallone makes no secret of exploring the ideas of older icons facing up to their legacy. And with film producers like Zack Snyder chomping at the bit to bring Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns to the big screen, we can hope that Sylvester would be the first in line to take on an older, more broody Batman.