The Justice League: Art of the Film book gives fans a lot of exciting behinds the scenes information including a deeper look into Alfred Pennyworth, played by Jeremy Irons. Just like Batman, Alfred has been reinvented many times over the years, originating with Alan Napier in the Adam West TV series and reaching all the way to today with Sean Pertwee’s Alfred in Fox’s Gotham.
Jeremy Irons’s Alfred was first introduced in Batman V Superman where he seemed to be both chief of security and personal comforter to Ben Affleck’s Batman. No matter what Batman was facing emotionally or physically, Alfred was there for him ready to give support to a man faced with the potential destruction of the planet.
According to Jeremy Irons in Justice League: Art of the Film, that attitude what drives Alfred, and the support role Alfred takes on does not make him any less heroic. Irons says,
“Alfred’s not a superhero, but in some small, retiring way I think he could be regarded with a small ‘h’ as a bit of a hero. I think he’s a good calming influence, he’s a good advisor. I’m not sure he would be at the forefront of the fight, but he’d be a good back up.”
Any Batman fan can tell you that there is no Batman without an Alfred, and Irons seems determine to continue taking on that motivating, supporting role being the biggest resource Batman has in his arsenal. This time, however, Irons has taken Alfred beyond just an advisory role and turned him into a character that can fully support Bruce in any capacity and take care of himself. One can only wonder how much responsibility Alfred will be given as the stakes get higher for Batman and the Justice League.
Now that Justice League is playing in theatres, it is up to fans to decide. Alfred has always been integral to Batman’s success, but is he a superhero, a hero with a small ‘h’, or not really a hero at all? Regardless, Alfred will always be by Batman’s side for backup, support, and proof that you don’t need to be a superhero to be an essential part of a team.