It’s only been four years since Christopher Nolan concluded his Dark Knight trilogy, so when Zack Snyder announced Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there were some understandable rumors that Christian Bale might be reprising his superhero role. Since Snyder’s film effectively reboots Batman, Bale reprising his role as the caped crusader was never really plausible — but the director did consider giving Bale a different role in the film.

In an interview with FilmInk, Snyder explains why Bale couldn’t play Batman in the new DC universe, and reveals that he did talk to the actor about possibly playing a different role:

This is a total and opposite reality from the Chris Nolan movies. It’s another universe, so we couldn’t hire Christian Bale if we wanted to, because he doesn’t exist in our world. Maybe we could hire him to play another part. We did talk about that briefly. I just wanted to hire Christian to play another part to make that obvious. Christian could play, like, Alfred with age makeup. No! Of course not. But you know what I mean. Even people at the studio would say, ‘Who are you getting from the other movies?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, come on guys, let’s all understand, it’s a different world.’ In the Batman universe that Chris Nolan created, Superman would have a hard time existing. That that’s why we did a reboot on the universe, so we could allow these characters to exist together. We needed to do that to have Batman exist in this world.

Snyder doesn’t say which role Bale would have played, but it likely would have been something small — just a cute nod to Nolan’s films for the Batman fans.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice also stars Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg, and hits theaters on March 25.

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