If you’ve never heard of How It Should Have Ended, then you’ve seriously missed out. For the past 10 years, HISHE has given us the alternate endings and scenes to films we’ve always wanted. But over that time they’ve grown into something much more with their recurring Super Cafe and Villain Pub features. In fact, this past year at San Diego Comic Con they actually brought the Villains Pub to life!
Their talent, creativity, and ability to seamlessly cram a ton of references into an animated short knows no bounds. So with their 10 year Anniversary coming up, you knew they had to do something incredible. And they did not disappoint! It gives me great joy to show you “Bat Blood”.
Equal Parts “Bad Blood” & Batman V Superman Parody:
Even before the video begins, you know HISHE is going for outstanding levels of parody. We’re talking Mel Brooks’ level awesomeness! How do I know? Take a look at the ‘still frame’ of the video. It is an exact bat-recreation of the ‘still frame’ for “Bad Blood” – including the HISHE watermark in the style of a VEVO tag. Though once the video begins, things somehow find a way to get even more incredible.
If you haven’t watched the video for Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”, then maybe you should take a quick detour and do that. Because if you’re familiar with the video, then you’d have realized that HISHE took the time to recreate each scene from Swift’s initial music video. From the opening set-up, various locations, fight sequences to even the ‘cameos’, each moment beautifully mirrors Swift’s hit! Though a great parody doesn’t just recreate its source material, but actually adapts it and merges it with something else. The cameos and references in HISHE’s final product are so spot on, that you have to wonder if Swift and Warner Bros were secretly working together the whole time to make “Bat Blood” so open to Bat-parody. Take the opening scenes for example.
Besides the VEVO tag becoming HISHE as I already mentioned, we have the video’s title “Bad Blood” become “Bat Blood”, and the video’s protagonist name ‘Catastrophe’ become ‘Batastrophe’. Both are achieved by changing only one letter! Though this isn’t just a parody of Swift’s work as the entire premise of Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is referenced too – even in this simple opening. Sure Batastrophe still gets knocked out a window and crashes into a parked car like Catastrophe; but the situation is more aligned with the primary conflict in Batman V Superman.
As we learned in the Batman v Superman trailer, Batman – specifically Bruce Wayne – lost many friends when Superman’s battle with Zod tore apart his building. He of course doesn’t know it was Zod’s fault and superman was merely trying to help, but it’s this misunderstanding that causes Batman to fight Superman. So in “Bat Blood” we see Superman and Zod’s battle actually knock Batman out of the window by accident. Additionally, Batman is expressing remorse of how Superman has become a much more somber character in this new franchise – a feeling many fans have critiqued since Man of Steel came out.
So in total, this opening of “Bat Blood” references HISHE, Taylor Swift, Batman V Superman and the fan’s/public’s opinion of the whole matter. This interplay continues throughout the entire video to varying degrees – which I’ll point out at length later on – but first we must talk about the other highlight of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”/HISHE’s “Bat Blood” music video, the incredible array of cameos.
The Brilliantly Reassembled Cast & Cameos:
If one of the takeaways of “Bad Blood” is “two heroes fighting each other”, then the other is the astounding array of ‘guest appearances’ – and of course HISHE took the time to flush those out too! But as I said at the start, HISHE is celebrating over 10 years of alternate endings and animated goodness. So when it comes to cameos, they have an even larger roster to choose from than Swift!
For “Bad Blood”, Swift enlisted 17 high profile friends and role models to complete her video. It was a wonderful idea not only cameo-wise, but also in that each person got to construct his or her own ‘persona’ for the video. In a similar manner, HISHE reached back into their long list of videos and used various character recreations from there. From Han Solo and Edward Scissor Hands to Katniss Everdeen and Baymax, HISHE – and thus Batman – assembles a team of allies even more famous than Swift’s crew.
Each cameo of course has his or her own “code name” – much like in Swift’s “Bad Blood” – but this time around each name is a reference to what that character is known for. There is no need for Han Solo to come up with a new nickname because the character already exists with plenty of options to choose from. This is how Han Solo becomes “The Scoundrel”, Baymax becomes “Fist Bump”, and John McLane becomes “Yippie Ki Yay” – so on and so forth. Each one’s name is an inside joke to their film persona.
Though as always, the attention to detail and parody doesn’t end there as some HISHE cameos not only reference their own character, but also the character they’re parodying from Swift’s original “Bad Blood”. I already mentioned how Catastrophe became “Batastrophe”; but look at some of the other mirror roles such as Welvin Da Great becoming Alfred Da Great and The Trinty becoming The Trinities (Trinity already being a character from The Matrix).
Even if the name wasn’t exact, the set ups and spirit were, such as Domino’s motorcycle entrance is mirrored with Owen Grady from Jurassic World as “Alpha”. Another example is how “Headmistress” is the iconic Cindy Crawford and her mirror “Grand Master Beardfist” is the man, myth and legend himself – Chuck Norris. Beyond all this “Bat Blood” also features multiple other pop-up cameos that act as fellow trainees and spectators. All of these pop ups are of course other past HISHE animations, but they’re not the only HISHE-items to make appearances/mentions in this video.
I Understood That Reference – Inside Jokes, Easter Eggs & More:
Over the years, HISHE has developed many inside jokes – references that only long time watchers could catch. Additionally, they’ve also touched upon many popular opinions held by fans, resulting in a VERY “Meta” – referring to itself or the methods of its genre – experience. And this video is no different! Whereas it’s impossible for me to name them all, I will however point out a few major ones.
- This isn’t the first time HISHE sang a song with changed lyrics. The first was during their ‘How Frozen Should Have Ended’, where for copyright reasons they had to replace the lyrics of “Let It Go” and make up their own song to keep the video up
- “I hate to break it to you/ but this new you is too blue” is a commentary on how the Man of Steel Superman isn’t his usual inspiring self but rather filled with doom and gloom.
- “Snapped a neck? You lost respect” is a reference to fans outrage over Superman snapping Zod’s neck in Man of Steel – a violent act for the usually restrained hero.
- “Oh, it’s so sad to/ Think of all the coffee/ You and I!” is a reference to how most HISHE videos end with Batman and Superman discussing the film in a coffee shop. It’s become so popular that it’s even spawned its own stand-alone series titled “Super Café”
- Similarly, every mention of the “sweet Pub”, “where the hell is this pub”, etc is a reference to The Villains Pub, the evil counterpart of The Super Café which began after How Thor The Dark World Should Have Ended and primarily features Loki, Voldemort and Joker.
- In Batman V Superman, Lex Luthor is played by Jesse Eisenberg, best known for his role in The Social Network. Many fans have joked about being unable to mentally separate the two looks, so here HISHE references that by having Lex creating “VillainsBook”.
- “OH This is not a reboot/ This is not a sequel/ This is just the dawn” is a reference to how many wondered if Batman V Superman was a complete reboot or sequel to Man of Steel. The actual answer is neither as Man of Steel 2 is a completely different scheduled film and Batman v Superman: DAWN of Justice serves more as a prequel to Justice League.
- When Batman asks “Seriously, where the heck is this pub?” long time HISHE fans feel his frustration because the place looks awesome! Well interestingly enough the Villains Pub did actually appear at San Deigo Comic Con this past year. So here’s hoping it one day becomes a more permanent locale – Sith Lord Bartenders Not Included.
- “Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes” was the most promoted line of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”. So seeing it changed to “Band-Aids don’t fix building holes” was satisfying on so many levels!
- The third iteration of “Villains” refers to them having a “Suicide Club”, which is a reference to the upcoming Suicide Squad film where a bunch of villains are assembled to be heroes.
- Instead of Batman and Superman throwing the punches in the final frame like Swift and her adversary in “Bad Blood”, Ironman and Captain America do it for Batman and Superman. This is a reference to how Batman V Superman isn’t the only hero-face-off in 2016 as Captain America: Civil War is also due out.
- (POST) This isn’t the first time Superman’s been “Jelly”. To see what I mean, check out How Godzilla Should Have Ended.
- (POST) With a quick second to spare, we get the patented catchphrase of every HISHE video “Because I’m Batman”. Seriously, watch their videos. If he’s there, there’s about a 90% chance he’ll say it … at least once.
The Post Credits – The One Thing “Bad Blood” Lacked:
Let’s face it, between all its awesome cameos and action movie style, Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” is an awesome music video. It makes us wonder why there aren’t more female centered superhero films out there. This is why HISHE choose to use this video style for their big 10 Year ‘Thank You’ gift. They even thanked Taylor “for making such an epic video” and how it inspired this work. Though no matter how awesome Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video is, there is one thing it’s missing that almost all superhero films have nowadays – a Post Credits scene.
Thankfully, How It Should Have Ended didn’t END it right away and came back with a good ole Super Café moment as Superman is shocked at how big a Taylor Swift fan Batman is. Throw in some lyrical references to “Wildest Dreams”, “Style” and “Shake it Off” as well as the shocking revelation that Batman and Taylor Swift used to date! Now we of course can’t confirm this, but it might explain why we never see Batman and Taylor Swift in the same place. I guess it was a really bad breakup.
Well whatever the case may be, it seems as though Batman and Taylor Swift never do go out of style. “Bat Blood” was absolutely brilliant and I might have analyzed this video way too much – better to admit it late than never – but I did so to honor all the time and work that went into making this video and everything else HISHE does.
So a VERY HAPPY Anniversary to How It Should Have Ended! In 10 years they’ve become much more than just how a movie should end; but how it should just overall be. Their talent and creativity is truly inspiring and bring countless smiles to everyone who watches. So thank you HISHE and thank you all for reading!