Batman seems to be stealing the show in the Man of Steel follow-up, lamely titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I would have preferred Man of Steel: The Dark Knight Returns, but what can you do? Anyway, with Jesse Eisenberg playing a young Lex Luthor to menace a relatively young Superman (Henry Cavill), an aged Batman (Ben Affleck) would also need a worthy foe around his age to fight against.
The right choice would obviously be The Joker, who does play a prominent role in The Dark Knight Returns, but I’m pretty sure no one wants to compete with Heath Ledger’s amazing portrayal of Batman’s most dangerous villain in the The Dark Knight. One of the reasons Ledger’s Joker was so awesome was because he played him as no one else had: relentless, scary, random, and ruthless. What we need is for someone new to step in and give another different, but inspiring, portrayal.
Enter Bryan Cranston, who can be both funny and serious, and when he needs to be, scary! Since Affleck’s Batman is supposed to be aged and well worn from a life of fighting crime, Cranston would be the right age to match the “old” Batman. To make this Joker feel fresh, Cranston could look like the oldJoker designs usually used for tattoos. Have his head shaved and in prison before someone sets him free. Possibly Luthor, who feels betrayed by Bruce Wayne for not joining him on a financial deal to build armored suits that could possibly help our government defeat threats to the planet in the wake of the events of Man of Steel.
Luthor would have probably figured out Batman is Bruce Wayne, and the perfect distraction would be unleashing Batman’s greatest enemy, who has snapped out of a vegetated state upon hearing of Batman’s return. Cue flashbacks (which Snyder loves to do) showing the past history between The Joker (with his trademark green hair) and Batman, as well as the events leading up to the Dark Knight’s retirement (possibly the death of Jason Todd).
Bryan Cranston can pull off the iconic Joker laugh, too. Just watch the episode Crawl Space of Cranston’s critically acclaimed TV drama Breaking Bad. At the end of the episode, you hear a creepy, maniacal laugh coming from Cranston as his character, Walter White, realized he was screwed and possibly going to die.
I believe Bryan Cranston can add a powerful dynamic to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice not seen before in any incarnation of the Batman mythos, especially playing a “gangster Joker.” Also, Helena Bohan Carter would be perfect for an older Harley Quinn!