Batman Vs. Superman: 3 Things that can Save the Film

Batman Vs. Superman Logo
Batman Vs. Superman Logo

Two of comic’s greatest heroes are clashing in 2016. When the tentatively-titled film, Batman Vs. Superman was announced, it brought an uproar of mixed opinions from fans. The film is facing skepticism mainly over character and cast choices. 

Many thought it was too soon to recast Batman after the successful Dark Knight trilogy with Christian Bale as the main role. All hope was not lost yet, however. The role of the villain, Lex Luthor, was widely rumored to be Bryan Cranston. This rumor was shot down when Jesse Eisenberg was cast for the part. According to IGN, Eisenberg’s Luthor is supposed to be a “tattooed skinhead who grew up as a street punk.” This is the polar opposite of how Luthor has been seen for years. The character has always been an older man, with a rich, prestigious presence to him. A tattooed skinhead street punk sounds nothing like the classic Lex Luthor we are all use to.

There is also skepticism regarding if it is too soon to have other heroes in the Man of Steel sequel at all. The Dark Knight trilogy did fantastic without any inclusion of other heroes. Is it really needed to included other heroes in order for the movie to be an enjoyable experience? Other than Batman, Gal Gadot is cast as Wonder Woman. There are also rumors circulating that more heroes may join the film, such as Green Lantern and Cyborg, but they are nothing more than rumors at the moment.

With the mixture of a list of controversial cast and characters, many believe this film is on the road to failure. However, I believe there are things that can be done to make the film a success, and truly make this a film about the World’s Finest.

3. Good Choice of Batman Villain

Mr. Freeze in Batman: Arkham City
Mr. Freeze in Batman: Arkham City

If the movie is centered around Batman, as well as Superman, it would make sense to also include a villain for him, too. I think it is time for Mr. Freeze to make a return. Most of you upon reading the past sentence probably saw a dreadful vision of blue Arnold Schwarzenegger. I do not think Mr. Freeze should be excluded from the list of hopeful villains to appear in the film because of the past version’s flop. The Mr. Freeze from Batman & Robin (1997) was disliked due to casting, writing, and the suit.

Freeze is a deep, torn character, that would fit in perfectly in today’s cinema. If the right actor were cast, and if the suit looked similar to the one in the videogame, Batman: Arkham City, I believe he would be an excellent addition. He has not been used in a Batman film in such a long time, and he has became popular from the recent videogames. With his popularity today, lack of use in film, dark story, and use of special effects, Mr. Freeze can be a great addition.

Mark Hamill as the Joker
Mark Hamill as the Joker

The Joker is another great choice. What would make him such a great addition to the film would be if he had the right actor to portray him. Who would be a good fit? Well, think of the Joker’s laugh for a moment. Which Joker did you just hear laughing in your head? I’m guessing it was likely Mark Hamill. Mark Hamill has supplied the Joker with his iconic laugh in cartoons and videogames for years. His Joker laugh is the Joker laugh. With modern makeup and effects, it would be no issue to make him look like the Joker. A Joker that looks the part (due to effects) and with the perfect laugh, would be a Batman fan’s dream come true.

2. Not a Justice League Movie

The Watchtower in Justice League
The Justice League’s base, the Watchtower

I believe DC is trying to make a Justice League movie as soon as possible to compete with Marvel’s films, which does make sense. However, it must be executed in the best way possible. Tossing in a bunch of superheroes in the Man of Steel sequel is not the way to do it. The characters will not have enough screen time, and the film will seem rushed. Even if all the characters get enough screen time, the entire film will be drowned in origin stories, taking away from the actual conflict of the film. DC should leave Batman and Wonder Woman in the film, and release standalone films for the rest of the Justice League members. Besides standalone films, they can take a different approach and use television shows for the lesser-known characters. Using Green Arrow and the Flash from their television shows can work well. They would not need to movies for the lesser known characters that would flop and risk losing money. Also, if these heroes have their own origins explained within their respected TV shows, there would be no time wasted in the Batman Vs. Superman movie or the foreseeable Justice League movie with origin stories.

As for Batman’s origin story, it is pretty well known among fans. Something that I definitely do not want to see, and others may agree, is a half hour dedicated to seeing Batman’s back story after already seeing it in the previous Batman movies. We all know it very well. Bruce Wayne’s parents die at the hands of a thug, thus Batman is born to seek justice in the city. Seeing another origin story so quickly after the end of the Dark Knight trilogy would be redundant. The film must already have Batman established as a character, and maybe simply a five minute flashback showing the memory of the death of young Bruce’s parents.

1. Ideas from The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns
Batman shocking Superman in The Dark Knight Returns

*Following includes spoilers for The Dark Knight Returns animated film and comic.*

The Dark Knight Returns is a comic book and an animated movie, in which Batman is returning from retirement at old age, to regain justice in Gotham once again. As he is doing pursuing what he believes to be justice, the government sees it as anarchy, and sends Superman to stop this vigilante. There are many things that Batman Vs. Superman can benefit from this piece. The Batman used in the new film is supposed to portray an older Dark Knight, so the following situations would work nicely in the new film.

First, the fight at the end of The Dark Knight Returns would be a great part to include in the upcoming movie. As seen above, Batman uses a rather larger suit than normal, which gives him increased strength and protection. He also has gadgets that can actually harm superman, like draining the city’s power grid with his suit, and giving Superman one massive shock. Another weapon he uses is a sound wave gun, which actually harms the Man of Steel, as well. A powerful suit is not enough, however. How does the Dark Knight plan to assure his victory over the the super-powered Kryptonian? Planning and kryptonite. The Green Arrow shoots a bolt of kryptonite at Superman, allowing Batman to defeat him (although he does not kill him). He does this to send Superman a message, which is simply to leave him alone.

This scene can work wonders in Batman Vs. Superman for various reasons. The fight is simply epic and well executed, and would look spectacular in live-action on the big silver screen. Rather than that, it could give Green Arrow a great entrance into the DC cinematic universe. I know I previously stated a lot of heroes with origin stories were not needed in this film. However, a smart way to execute this would be to use the Green Arrow used in the television series, Arrow. This would bring popularity to the television series, and introduce a character for the foreseeable Justice League movie, without a long, dragged out origin on the big screen.

The Joker in his last moments
The Joker in his last moments

Second is the deadly duel between Batman and the Joker, if DC decides to include the clown at all. The Joker also returns at old age to wreak chaos and death through Gotham. The Dark Knight is done seeing the Joker continually kill as a result of him not killing the psychotic clown. Batman and the Joker have a last fight, where Batman ultimately kills the old clown. This would add a dark undertone to the movie, and the older age part would also work for the Joker if they decided to use Mark Hamill.

Thankfully, according to IGN, Zack Snyder, director of Batman Vs. Superman is already considering using aspects from The Dark Knight Returns in his film. 

Do you agree with these ideas? Disagree? Will the film be a huge success or flop?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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College student, 18, digital communication major. Addicted to Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, House of Cards, South Park, Star Wars, and superhero movies. Lifelong gamer.
Edited by Jordan, Sean Hodges.

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  1. They should just do a justice league part 1 and 2 and have them come out within like a year of each other. Have part 1 kind of introduce each other and go from there. Part 2 can be where they all come together and fight dooms day or darside, It would work in my opinion. I hate to see this pushed but if it comes out and its way more epic than it would have been before im good. Make it right thats all im saying.

    • David Mancini

      That is a good idea. If they chose to go that route, they should have left the Man of Steel sequel with just Superman then. By adding other heroes, it is making it look like a part 1 Justice League, which seems a little messy to me.

  2. Vincenza Aponte

    Advice to DC: Make a superior script, minimize special effects (use them when ABSOLUTELY necessary), and keep Superman as awesome as you can. Zack Snyder: It’s okay to use easter eggs, just don’t spend a majority of your time on them. And give Supes the no death rule because of the incident.
    One last bit: hype the internet up!

    • Unfortunately you know that won’t happen. When you go to see a Super Hero movie, you know what you’re getting into. Don’t expect great writing, but hope it’s not so bad that you can’t even enjoy the action and special effects. Watchmen might be an exception to this, but I have a feeling a lot of people might even disagree with that.

  3. the title actually going to be Batman vs Superman? If so then I will be forced to boycott it.

    • David Mancini

      That is the tentative title of the film. I doubt that would actually be the final title, although it is not impossible. However, I agree, it is not the most original title they could come up with.

  4. Leah Smith

    To your Mark Hamill as Joker point I was going to say an older Batman could have an older Joker, but I’m glad to see that you already included that. I wonder how people would feel though if Batman did kill Joker. Sure, everyone is always saying “Kill the bad guy! Just do it!” to the superheroes, but look what happened in “Man of Steel”. Superman finally did what everyone has been saying to do and they were furious. If Batman was to kill the Joker in the next movie, then it needs to somehow tie in with Superman killing Zod, that way they can share that burden of killing someone and have a better understanding of each other which could lead into them teaming up.

  5. I agree with everything stated in the article. It really seems too soon to make a new batman movie after the success of the Dark knight trilogy and maybe it was the wrong move to replace Christian Bale with Ben Affleck. I’m not saying he is a bad actor, it’s just really hard to bet on him doing a great job in that particular role. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing the movie but I really hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    • David Mancini

      I am honestly not as skeptical as Affleck as I am with Eisenberg as Luthor, and with Wonder Woman being in the movie. A young “skinhead tattooed” Lex Luthor doesn’t sound like Luthor at all. Bryan Cranston could have done the job great, in my opinion. And with confirmation of Wonder Woman, I am hoping she does not have a large part. I am hoping just for a small introduction and a few short scenes with her. Just enough to introduce her for the Justice League movie.

  6. Brandon Stark

    I like some of the points you have brought up. I personally do not think they will have The Joker or Mr. Freeze in this movie. I will assume there will be hints of them and a few more villains within the film. I believe DC is trying to set up the Justice League Universe to a point where Batman can have his own films as well as appearing in the possible Justice League films in the future.

    Mr. Freeze would be a good side story to have in a stand alone Batman film. With Joker, that’s a tricky subject. The Joker is the best Batman villain hands down. The problem with this is if he appears in future films he will be harshly compared to Heath Ledger’s performance of The Joker in The Dark Knight. This is not fair to the actor playing this future role but that’s how a large amount of the public will view it and react to the role. It’s a touchy subject, yet, if DC develops this future character well in a future Batman movie they may be able to pull it off.

    I have my doubts for this film for the example of setting up so much hype for a future Justice League as you mentioned above. I feel it will turn into a Justice League film half way through the movie. DC is struggling to get to Marvel’s level in the cinematic universe that they are rushing everything as much as they can. I also question Jesse Eisenberg’s casting as Lex Luthor. No one has seen a trailer so we can’t automatically assume the worst, just have our worries as fans.

    For Batman’s origins, I think have a small conversation mentioning his past with Bruce and Alfred would be the smart direction to go with the Batman Vs. Superman film. If Batman has a stands alone film in the future then that will be the perfect time to properly introduce the origin of what made Bruce Wayne Batman.

    For now it’s best to focus on the current story and developing it so fans enjoy it and be excited for future installments in this hopefully soon-to-be cinematic universe.

  7. Jan Salter

    So now my thoughts.
    I don’t care what else this movie does, if it gets the dynamic between Clark and Bruce correctly, it’s like I won’t even care what happens for the rest of the movie. The screen writers should just watch the episode “World’s Finest” and watch Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. Also, drop the “vs” crap, and call this movie “World’s Finest”.

    So many critics butthurt over the lack of “light-hearted humor” in Man of Steel. I don’t think it gets any more light-hearted, or more bromantic, than Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne.

    • I agree. Both “World’s Finest” and “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” really show the strength between the two characters. Hopefully, the movie turns out something like that.

      You’re also right about dropping the “vs”. The whole “Batman vs Superman” thing is one of the most tired topics in all of geekdom.

  8. Interesting! My main concern with Man of Steel 2 is that I don’t feel the first one did well enough to warrant a sequel. It did fine box office wise. But I feel it didn’t do the Superman mythos any favors. They were so many ideas they were trying to communicate and none were truly successful. That being said I remain cautiously optimistic. I feel the best course of action is to remind the audience this is in fact a Man of Steel sequel and focus primarily on Superman. In regards to Batman we don’t need an origin story and we don’t need a Justice League at least not yet.

    I think it would be a wise idea to stay away from the Joker for a while. He’s done extremely well in the last two Batman franchises but they are plenty of other villains that are just as interesting and fun. As for Mr. Freeze I’m a bit wary. He’s best incarnations so far have been animated. Which is not to say he wouldn’t work as well in live action. If they do choose to go in that direction they need to have the right assembly of creators on team. I would actually really like to see some obscure villain or less notable one like Man Bat or Professor Pyg. I think Pyg in particular would be hugely successful.

    I really like your thoughts on taking from The Dark Knight Returns. It would be really cool to combine to the TV universe with the movie universe. It be a completely new thing which is what DC needs in its live action films. And I would love, love, love to see the fight between Batman and Superman on the silver screen.

  9. Jamie Tracy

    My theory is that many of the rumors such as Lex’s back story are just fuel for the fan-boy rage fire.

    I agree with you completely that a sequel to Man of Steel would be great without the addition of new heroes. They have confirmed that the Man of Steel and Dark Knight trilogy are in different timelines so the Batman we will see should be completely different than the one we are now used to.

    Lex is a great comic villain. He does not translate well on film. If DC wanted to make a memorable Superman movie they need a super villain, ie; Braniac, Bizarro, Metallo, Doomsday.

    • Kevin Kryah

      How does Lex Luthor not translate well to film? There are more interpretations of the character than what Hackman and Spacey came up with. Luthor is a very interesting character and he has plenty of onscreen potential.

      • Jamie Tracy

        Lex reads well as a comic book villain. In film he is an unbelievable/predictable/generic foil to Superman.

        Brains should beat brawn….that’s what were taught as kids however in the greatest battle of brains vs brawn Superman will always win in film.
        In comics Lex wins in bits and pieces. It is the years and years of psychological and moral torture that eats away at Superman.

  10. I know I’m probably alone on this. But I would absolutely love see Pam Grier play Amanda Waller. I know next to nothing about Waller as a character other than she’s a cynical, sharp tongued, strong, authoritative antagonist. And I think Pam could nail that role. When Pam wants your attention she will get it. It’d do for her what Training Day did for Denzel. I’m sure of it.

    • Didn’t Pam Grier already play Amanda “The Wall” Waller in “Smallville”? I’m pretty sure I remember something like that. Granted, I did my best to forget as much of “Smallville” as I could.

  11. im very interested in ben affleck’s batman voice

  12. I think it should be slaveaged by better casting and ideas from previous DC Comics.

  13. Weldon Blackwell

    Excited to see how Ben does in this, and I won’t be writing him off like others already have because of Daredevil. Actors grow, and he clearly has quite a bit. But still, there will be no better Batman than Bateman.

  14. delorize

    considering how long they are taking and the thought they are putting into this, i have absolute faith it will not be a bad movie, no worse that green lantern, better than man of steel. They cant be that dumb and just screw the whole DC movie universe in one movie.

  15. I think the Joker may be shelfed for a while with the excellent performance Ledger gave, but I think you’re right, Freeze could be so good if done right. I don’t know if they’ll include a Batman villain, but the last point is my favorite because the Dark Knight Returns graphic novel is fantastic, I just think it depends on how dark they are willing to get. Not sure how those events with Supes and Bruce would work if they are planning a future Justice League film, but I think they have to go big if they want to compete with the current success of Marvel.

  16. Hackbee

    Thought Watchmen was a terrible movie, honestly Im not trolling I just thought it was a very poor movie and too long for what it was, as I didn’t even know the plot of the movie until like the last 30 minutes.

    Really random, but its something I’ve wanted to say for a while

  17. PerkAlert

    I had no idea they were planning on doing a Batman vs. Superman movie! What an interesting an article… I particularly like the idea of using the Green Arrow from the CW series. However, I’ve come to feel like the Marvel’s various Avengers movies (the standalone films too) are ‘beating a dead horse.’ Maybe that’s just personal taste, but I feel like trilogies/series do so much better if there’s one clear focused goal for the entire series (such as getting the ring to Mordor in LOTR). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed each one of those movies, but I’d like to see Batman vs. Superman do even better 🙂

  18. I know a lot of people were disappointed with Man of Steel, but I really enjoyed the film and was hoping to see a sequel within two years. Now, I have to look forward to seeing not only Batman reintroduced on the big screen, but also a new introduction to Wonder Woman. By cramming three heroes together in one film, it looks at if Warner Brothers is only trying to establish their own Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is no doubt that this movie will make a lot of money, but when it comes to establishing a quality film, Batman vs. Superman could play out like Spiderman 3 did. However, if they do incorporate the story of The Dark Knight Returns into the screenplay, it may change the perception of the film since Returns is a very well regarded comic in the Batman series. It will be interesting to see Eisenberg as Lex Luthor (as opposed to Bryan Cranston) but I wonder if they will include a Batman villain? The Joker played by Mark Hamill would be the best choice, but I think they should wait for another film to reintroduce Mr. Freeze. As much as I love Snyder’s take on Watchmen and Man of Steel, I wonder if he has the capability of introducing Batman and Wonder Woman into the world of Superman?

  19. Savannah Rodgers

    I’m personally excited to see where they take the movie. As someone who was not wild about Nolan’s Batman trilogy – attribute that to my own personal taste, though I appreciated The Dark Knight – I can’t wait to see where this takes the DC film universe. I have faith in Snyder.

  20. I totally agree with having Mr. Freeze as a villain. If they were to take the character seriously like they did in the animated series, it would be very interesting. I’ve often thought that Terry O’Quinn from LOST would make an excellent Mr. Freeze.

    • I think that, while I would love to see a well done interpretation of Mr. Freeze, the story should still focus on Superman being that it’s a sequel to Man of Steel. Having said that, to throw in a villain just so Batman can have one too would feel forced.

  21. farishtamw

    First of all, I really do hope the title Batman vs. Superman is TENTATIVE (is that all they could come up with?).

    My other point of contrition is that I find it too soon to revive Batman.

    Is it just me?

    The taste of Nolan’s Batman trilogy is still fresh in my mouth and I’d like for it to remain as it is for a little while longer.

    I understand why Ben Affleck’s casting has been ill-received by so many. It’s unfortunate because I really do like him as an actor. As Batman though? I’m not really sure he resonates with me. I’m ineterested to see how that will play out.

    My BIGGEST ISSUE: the casting of Lex Luthor!!


    I’ll just leave it at that.

    Will I eventually watch the movie?

    Yes, probably.

    Will I do it while jumping with excitement?

    Probably (most likely) not!

  22. I personally think the movie will be a flop. I hated Man of Steel. It was just way too long. I am looking forward to Wonder Woman, though!

  23. Before thinking about creating a Justice League movie, DC needs to concentrate on creating solid individual movies for their superheroes, such as Wonder Woman.

    On another note, I will always say that Mark Hamill nailed The Joker, his laugh and his personality.

  24. gonzalez

    What DC and WB needs to do is start looking at the other 100+ characters for movies and not more Batman/superman spam. time for a Martin Manhunter or Hawkgirl or Dr. Fate or Shazam or Flash or Vixen or Static Shock or Animal Man or Blue Bettle or the Question or Teen Titan or STAR movies…

  25. I agree with the first two suggestions for the most part. The movie definitely needs a Batman villain to balance out the adversaries. I don’t think it should be the Joker, however, especially if he will be subjected to the same revisionist idea they’re using for Lex; he’s my favorite Batman villain, and to try and tackle him again so soon after Heath Ledger is just foolhardy. I do like the idea of bringing in the TV versions of the Flash and Green Arrow in JUSTICE LEAGUE, but that is not likely to happen, since the ARROW show is only two seasons in and FLASH hasn’t even begun. They will need more breathing room to succeed before adding them to the big leagues.

  26. I couldn’t disagree more with many of the points you bring up. Casting a new Joker is the completely wrong way to go at this point, not to mention people may see it as a flat-out insult to Heath Ledger. It’s only been six years since we saw him in that role, and it’s easily the best performance that’s ever been in a superhero movie, not to mention one of the best villains ever. Consider this: If Anthony Hopkins had died while The Silence of the Lambs was in post-production, would they have ever replaced him? Absolutely not. Just like the character of Hannibal Lecter, The Joker cannot be played, in live action, at least, by anyone for a very long time (Mads Mikkelsen’s performance of Lecter doesn’t count, that’s a completely different universe with a completely different tone.)

    As for your suggestion that the filmmakers follow more of The Dark Knight Returns storyline, I agree that Superman and Batman should be pitted against one another in some way. Anyone with any knowledge of these two characters and how they interact with one another has to know that there’s really no other option than to make them adversaries at first. But so much of the tension in The Dark Knight Returns comes from the past that these characters have together. It requires the reader to know about these characters and understand why it’s such a big deal and why, for Batman, fighting Superman isn’t like fighting anyone else. For anyone unaware of their relationship in the comics, it’s going to be very confusing as to why Bats and Supes are fighting, as awesome as a scene like that may be. The filmmakers would be better served to simply draw inspiration from the comics while coming up with their own character conflicts.

  27. I don’t think they should even include Batman in the Superman movie.

  28. I want to be optimistic, cautiously or otherwise, but there’s just too much going wrong from my point of view.

    First off, you’re billing the franchise as a sequel to the first genuinely successful Superman film since Christopher Reeves wore the cape, but you’re stealing his thunder by having Batman and even Wonder Woman show up. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE a JLA movie but I don’t think we’ve seen enough of this Superman, his life as Clark Kent, what the ending of MoS did to him, how the world feels about him, etc. to just open up his universe like that.

    I understand the desire to beat Marvel at their own game but it just doesn’t make any sense to make a bunch of terribly planned, rushed films for the sake of sucking up the money. I can’t help but feel that this is another case of DC tricking themselves into believing they are in Marvel’s shadow.

    There are arguably three great superheroes, know around the world, loved by millions, and shown in all forms of media: Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man.

    Of those three, two belong to DC and have DECADES of pop culture cache and recognition. There’s no reason to think that, especially this soon after the Dark Knight Trilogy’s conclusion, you couldn’t cool your jets on Batman for a bit and let Superman have his time in the sun (pun intended).

    Second, the casting just bothers me. I loved Cavill as Clark/Kal-El but we haven’t seen him as Superman yet. I’m hoping he can make me a believer.

    I am very dubious about Affleck as Batman. I’m not going to cite Daredevil or any similar role. I’ll just say that it takes a certain “something” to be a good Batman and I don’t see it in him. Granted, I didn’t see it in Christian Bale either. He was a fine Bruce Wayne but his Batman left me cold.

    Third, the idea that the DC cinematic universe needs to be so jam packed so soon with heroes is crazy and off-putting. They have the richest, longest lasting library in all of geekdom, not just comicdom. Take your time! I know I’m sort of iterating a point from earlier but that’s how strongly I feel about it.

    We’ve waited decades for a Wonder Woman movie. Give her her own film. Let her shine. Let us love her and then show us how she fits into the grand scheme of things. The same goes for the Flash, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and the others. If they showed any sign of respecting the characters and wanting to see them done right (stressing quality over quantity) I’d be a lot more excited.

    As it stands, I’ll probably be seeing Captain America 3 in the theaters instead.

  29. Burke

    Great article! I had no idea about this movie until now.
    I think including more villains might not be the solution. What you said about too many heroes with too many origin stories applies to villains too. I even worry that having both Batman and Lex could be over saturation and I wish they’d pick one. However, maybe Batman meeting Superman now, and maybe the two of them putting aside there differences toward the end, could lead to a great Justice League movie.
    Personally, I think one thing that could save the movie is if they use the new Batman introduced at the end of Dark Knight Rises. Then, they don’t really need to begin new Batman movies so soon.
    I really like what you say about the old Batman and taking stuff from Dark Knight Returns, though.

  30. Estelle

    Comic book movies to me went totally bland after Spiderman 2 (2004)

  31. Jordan David

    A more recent interview from Snyder suggests that Superman is still the center of the film. With that, I don’t think we will be seeing much of Batman’s universe, at least in this upcoming film. Although if we do get a B-Man villain, Mr. Freeze would be a good choice. He’s such a great character! As for the Joker… I think he’s been played out, at least recently. I suspect the studio to not go straight for him so soon.

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