Winston Duke Talks About Being a Black Batman on ‘Batman: Unburied’

The Batman: Unburied titular actor, Winston Duke, has spoken about how freeing it is to voice a black Batman on a podcast.

Duke admitted that he historically hadn’t been able to relate to Batman as a character. part of the reason being that Batman used his wealth and privilege to become a crimefighter. It’s not just Bruce’s literal wealth to fund his crimefighting endeavors, but also the opportunities afforded a rich, white man, as a part of Gotham’s upper class.

Winston Duke: Bruce is a Social Justice Advocate’s Wet Dream

However, Batman: Unburied listeners know that the Bruce Wayne in the show is not a traditional depiction of the character. He isn’t fabulously rich, he works as a forensic doctor, and his parents are still alive. Additionally, in the Unburied canon, Bruce is an African American man. However, these changes gave Duke an entry into the character that he hadn’t experienced before.

Bruce Wayne historically has been a product of white privilege — that’s almost been his superpower, his wealth. That felt like its own wall to me. How do I connect to a character who is so grounded in his whiteness?


[The podcast has] a lot of really direct, cool allegories of Bruce Wayne as a person of color. What happens when it’s mild privilege instead of extreme privilege? He ends up coming off as more relatable. That was my intention. [Bruce is] a social-justice advocate’s wet dream. How would I, as a powerful person of color with billions of dollars, change the world… and a justice system that feels like I couldn’t come out on the right end?”

Winston Duke went on to discuss the other benefit of portraying Batman in a podcast medium. Since podcasting is a solely auditory media, Duke felt “liberated” that he did not have to worry about his body image, while being Batman.

[The podcast was liberating] because it wasn’t focused on my body and what I looked like in a frame… Being a Black man shaped who this man was, but my body doesn’t have to be the focus.

Batman: Unburied concluded it’s first ten episode storyline on Spotify in June 2022.


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