29

The batcave, in any version of Batman, is large. Plus there's the batmobile, which required special construction, plus the batcomputer and numerous other batwidgets.

How did a good sized batcave get built without the land above it being torn up and without requiring a huge construction crew?

And, after the cave was built, how was the batmobile built in secret, without someone involved in it being able to make the connection between the car they built and the one that shows up in the news when Batman is first seen? (While he's in Gotham, a masked vigilante is news that would end up nation wide.) There would also be the need for secrecy so vilains can't find out how it is built and what the specs are.

And then there's the continual supply of batwidgets. Just as with the batmobile, there's the need for these items and how they work to be kept secret.

It'd take several factories to produce all that Batman uses and major construction for any batcave I've seen (which is in movies and on TV).

How is all this done in secret? (Or is there a trail of bodies?)

  • Related: familyguy.wikia.com/wiki/Batcave – OghmaOsiris Jan 27 '12 at 2:00
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    In Batman Begins, the Batmobile was already built but was just outfitted by Wayne Industries' R&D team. – OghmaOsiris Jan 27 '12 at 2:02
  • Batman now (The New 52) or the Batman of before with the giant Penny? Or the Goddamn Batman version? – Eight Days of Malaise Jan 27 '12 at 3:57
  • @EightDaysofMalaise: I really don't know what makes them different from each other. – Tango Jan 27 '12 at 4:14
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    simple - the contractors were killed afterward – A.D Jun 11 '12 at 18:52

10 Answers 10

27

Building the Batcave (or refitting natural one extensively) in secret is no big deal - it's not like it's advertised that it will be the Batcave, AND almost nobody knows about batcave's existence afterwards.

As for Batmobile, depends on which reboot. As Oghma said in a comment, in the latest movies reboot (Nolan's), the Batmobile is an already-developed but never sold (due to cost) advanced prototype developed by Wayne Industries.

In the early versions, I believe the implication is that batmobile is modified by Batman himself, probably with Alfred's help - remember that in those earlier times, men were men and could rebuild a car engine or add extra features to the car (moreover, the very first Batman's car was a stock convertible with no extra features).

The rest of BatGadgets are also either:

  • Developed by Wayne Enterprises

  • Designed by Lucius Fox (CEO of Wayne E.), or in other reboots, Alfred.

Most of batgadgets aren't really fully identifyable as batgadgets until they are styled, so they can be produced by any contractor - just as workers at FoxConn have no idea that components X Y and Z they are making are actually designed for the new iPhone. Again, Nolan reboot makes references to Wayne Enterprises making super-large buys of components to make some few batgadgets, for purposes of hiding in plain sight.

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    Batman special built all of the Batmobiles until some time in the 90s when Harold Allnut started living in the Batcave and and BTAS popularized the idea that Lucious Fox developed it (with his son if I remember right). The same is true of all the batgadgets. It's only due to BTAS and Batman movies that Batman has been dumbed down with regards to his ability to develop and build his own stuff. – Durakken Jul 5 '16 at 12:42
  • "moreover, the very first Batman's car was a stock convertible with no extra features" Well, except for the big bat face on the front, or was this an optional extra? – jim Jul 12 at 15:03
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    @jim Are you referring to the illustration on that Wikipedia page of a later 1941 version of the Batmobile, which is different from the red one the text mentions from 1939? – Admiral Jota Jul 12 at 16:00
  • Thanks for clearing it up – jim Jul 13 at 18:00
  • You know, if someone has a contract to make all of those little bat-decals or deluxe enamel bat-emblems or whatever, they're bound to get curious. – Spencer Sep 2 at 13:48
9

The cave itself is a natural cavern beneath Wayne Manor; all you really need to do is run some power lines and some ventilation (or install your own atomic pile). Although, given that there are bats and other critters living in it (along with a giant waterfall right outside the entrance, depending on the version), you'd probably want to build some enclosed spaces within the cave for your more delicate electronics, but it's not like that requires a lot of contractors.

As for the equipment, you have several options:

  • You can create a bunch of shell corporations to order parts from different vendors and integrate them yourself (such as the radio transceivers in the cowl from "Batman Begins");

  • You can take advantage of your multi-billion-dollar corporation's underutilized R&D department and hope the guy running it doesn't ask any questions, and then do the Bat-specific customization yourself (the body armor and the Tumbler aka the Batmobile, also from "Batman Begins");

  • You can do it the old-fashioned way and build it yourself. After all, you're rich, it's not like you have to punch a clock every day.

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    Actually, bats and most creatures are not a problem in caves after the first 50 feet or so from the entrance. Of course, there are exceptions, such as with streams running through caves, or some very large caves, but in spelunking, if I recall, there's no problem after you get back from the entrance. – Tango Jan 28 '13 at 3:12
8

The Batmobile in the Batman Animated series was build by an expert who used to work at Wayne Enterprises. This is the episode in which the batmobile is destroyed and needs to be replaced with a new one. I believe it is one of the first episodes of Batman and Robin the animated series which is season 3. So there are some different variations on the heritage of all the different kind of technology that Batman uses.

3

I believe in the comics, the Batcave was mostly not built, but was a pre-existing cave underneath Wayne Manor. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batcave

2

One Batman novel put forward the idea that Wayne, through a series of shell corporations, hired a crew of experienced foreign workers and paid them an extravagant amount in advance, arranged to fly them secretly to Gotham while keeping them ignorant of where they were going, set them up to live comfortably in the cave while they fitted it out aside from the Bat-specific things, then when they were done arranged to fly them back home secretly with another extravagant payment. The only person they dealt with directly in Gotham was Alfred (in disguise).

So while they knew they were building some sort of top secret facility, they never knew where, or for who, and were compensated handsomely for doing the work and keeping their mouths shut.

  • 1
    Does this novel have a name, author, and publication date? – T.J.L. Jul 12 at 16:33
  • Of course it does. I just can't remember what the title was. I'd bought it perhaps 25 years ago. Original story, not an adaptation of the comics, it featured an assassin hunting down Batman who figured out he was Bruce Wayne (after killing the other Gotham billionaire he's narrowed down the list to; he'd deduced Batman had to be one of them and decided just to kill them both to be sure) and it ended with a confrontation in the Batcave where the man fell to his death. – Keith Morrison Jul 12 at 21:49
  • My point was that without proper references, this isn't much of an answer. – T.J.L. Jul 12 at 22:37
  • Between Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, and Oliver Queen, this is practically required behaviour for Billionaires in the DC universe... Who needs fancy yachts, when you can have subterranean hideouts! – Chronocidal Sep 2 at 13:53
2

Most of the existing answers cover this. In general though, there are a few similarities across versions:

There was already an existing "bat's cave" on the Wayne manor grounds. Originally, this was just a space underneath the manor where Bruce could operate in secret. Since Wayne Manor was on the side of a hill on several dozen acres of private property, this made sense. All that was needed to do was basically outfit the existing space, which took time. In some versions, this was undertaken by Alfred in the years Bruce was away training; in other versions, like Mask of the Phantasm, Bruce and Alfred did the initial work on the cave after finding it when a 20-something Bruce was out walking with his then-girlfriend Andrea.

enter image description here Based on the Animated Series logic, the cave isn't that expansive, comparatively (save for one cliff on the inside); it basically houses the massive computer, his armory, the batmobile and bat boat, a gym/training area, a relatively small crime lab, and a space for resting. It seemed to grow in scale [with some details changing] as the series progressed.

enter image description here

The cave in the Nolan films was relatively small, as well, compared to the grounds of the house; biggest things we saw in there were the Batmobiile and the BAT wing. Aside from the power source and the computer, and that odd raising platform, there really wasn't very much in there. enter image description here

The 1989 Bat cave was massive by comparison; it had so much space, one would think it took a team of workmen months to construct all of the various security features and moving parts. enter image description here

By the time Batman Forever came around, the size of the cave had been scaled back a bit; the space was smaller, but it was more tech heavy than previously shown. It was more than likely a stylistic choice on the part of the new director to differentiate from Burton's more "dark, Gothic" version... I mean, that would explain all the needless neon lighting.... but in-story, it could have just have been Bruce and Alfred updating the cave with then-current tech, locking off the unneeded spaces.

enter image description here

Especially in the cases where there is so much obvious construction, I too find it hard to believe Bruce and and Alfred did it all on their own; even with the cave's existing structure, some help likely had to b brought in to do some foundation work, and to install security protocols. How this is done is never really alluded to, at least not in any story I've read.

However, to IF the cave ITSELF was built some years BEFORE Batman's debut and the hired help was paid well, kept in the dark and only there when necessary and given no knowledge of what they were doing beyond completing a facility... I could see this happening. Using a lot of skilled foreign labor, Bruce could have had this done within a few months, and did the fine tuning himself; the guy has 12 master degrees and was taught by one of the worlds top tinkerers, so he is a mechanical genius in his own right. After that, up-keeping the cave would probably be a full time job for Alfred; it's not like Wayne Manor itself is used for much, so Al probably would spend a lot of time in there keeping the place running when he didn't serve as Batman's "man in the chair," as he did in the Batman V Superman film.

The size of the cave is actually an important factor; the relative size in each iteration of Batman is important, as it would inform the amount of work/manpower that went into developing and building the cave over time. I'm willing to believe that Bruce and Alfred more or less put things together by themselves in the Nolan Franchise, but most other version would require some serious manpower to get everything in there, and yet still keep it secret.

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    I like all your details and I think you bring up a key point: foreign labor. I've spent enough time in caves to know that even if you find a large cavern, it's not going to be flat or easily shaped to provide useful living or work space. I think there's also an issue about the long tunnel from the cave to the exit. And if it's a stable cave, it'll be in rock, not dirt. He could fly them in and bring them to the worksite without them knowing exactly where they are. I also like how you look at the size of the cave and point out that most versions show it as small. That's critical! – Tango Sep 22 at 4:38
  • @Tango Agreed. I altered the answer slightly to give a reason as to why size was an important, and often under examined aspect. – Russ Rainford Sep 22 at 21:52
0

Going back to the original source (the comics) Ra'as Al Ghul was able to infiltrate and ambush Batman in the Batcave. He extrapolated that it was rather easy for him to follow the money trail to this most secret of locations. IMO I think much of the Batcave work was done by Superman, a good friend and ally crime fighter. He built his Fortress of Solitude himself.

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    Welcome to Science Fiction and Fantasy SE! You could add a reference (link, issue number, screenshot) to your answer in order to make it more reliable. – Gallifreyan Aug 29 '16 at 16:02
-1

Through the comics history the cave is often depicted as either heavily built up possibly using concrete or metal or very natural with a series of machinery integrated into it.

Being realistic. How do you fabricate a super high tech headquarters and disguise your activities as general business? "Spare parts"

Step 1: Gather the resources you'll need (Steel, titanium, aluminum, etc) metals you can buy in bulk to build whatever. Or steal it (compensate with unmarked cash) taken from a construction supply provider. Buy an used CNC machine to fabricate the parts needed for the general cave. All the housing parts for the cave, like floor plating, girders, supports. Using 3D architecture software it shouldn't be difficult to fabricate a modular shelter design. CONCRETE on the other hand is the perfect building material, You can buy as much as you want without questions asked as the material is non-toxic, non explosive so there's no overall safety laws inherent in purchasing cement whether you're buying 20 pounds or 20 tons. Even lying to the building inspector for 'Modifications" to your home you can chalk it up to a accounting error and state you wanted 6 tons of concrete for a patio and over ordered.

Step 2: Power. The Batcave needs electricity, no doubt one could simply draw power from the grid and disguise it as household electricity use; this however has two drawbacks, one a HUGE and questionable electric bill, two vulnerability in case of power failure. Obviously the biggest use of energy is the Batcomputer. An average household computer uses 600 kilowatt-hours per year. Obviously Batman uses a much more powerful model. Supercomputers in real life of which consume 7 million dollars worth of electricity (53 Gigawatt-hours) a year. Therefore an Onsite power supply is necessary for daily operations (50 megawatt power output minimum) that doesn't include the things the computer does daily plus accessories. Massive data storage, server use, and heat dissipation; Other power demands include automated devices, for exit and entry, security systems, training equipment, scientific equipment and communications. Therefore the power could be met in one of three possible ways. A small modular nuclear reactor (the most likely unit a high fuel density liquid metal cooled reactor with a long term fuel life that'll exceed your career as a vigilante however waste disposal and radiation shielding is a more serious concern). Renewable power supply (wind turbines, solar which would require a lot of land), a hydroelectric power system (doable as most DC comics depict a underground river being his primary power supply). I'm excluding any comic book EXOTIC power supplies which do not exist in real life (fusion reactor, arc reactor, etc).

Step 3: Technology: Whatever technology the batman uses. Criminal investigative and scientific technology is by far the most prolific. One can simply purchase them from a scientific equipment supplier than generously "Donate" a portion of the goods to local law enforcement as a "charitable endowment". Scientific equipment can also be donated to universities or schools with some of the equipment being written off as lost, stolen or "damaged". Simple scientific equipment like beakers and test tubes can be bought in bulk and donated without the need of a middle man.

Step 4: Vehicles: Transportation is a significant challenge. If the Batmobile is being built from scratch, AGAIN this is where CNC machines you have come in handy. As you can fabricate the necessary structural parts of the car and the mechanicals, fluids and engine can be bought online. If you're a billionaire with Lambos and ferrari's or huge SUV's in your garage buying automotive service equipment such as tools, oil, fuel, diagnostic gear, spare tires would not be questioned. Bulletproof glass and armor plating can be disguised as necessities for you own personal transportation (Limo, SUV, etc) If you're a vigilante; one of the first crimes to thwart would be a chop shops and stolen auto parts which no longer have serial or VIN numbers to supply you and figure a way to compensate the victims later.

Step 5: Weaponry/equipment: By far the most difficult task, while Batman will not use a firearm as a instrument of justice, he has utilized other weapons to destroy obstacles or clear paths. Batman's personal equipment, the grapple guns, batarangs, ropes can be made by hand. Batarangs can be made solely by water jet cutting or CNC cutting from huge plates of steel, titanium, etc. Batman's other equipment (grapple gun, etc) can be made using or modifying existing equipment that is therefore disposable if lost or broken. Cannons, missiles and explosives would be the more difficult acquisition. There fore, they would have to be built onsite. Once again this is where CNC and 3D printing come into play. The film "October Sky" showcased a bunch of rural boys can make rockets using off the shelf parts. A billionaire with plenty of resources shouldn't have much trouble. Missiles can be made by CNC machining titanium or aluminum tubes, filling them with explosives and building the detonator using off the shelf electronics from a hardware store or obtained from electronic recycling center. The Batsuit can be made but using a combination of sewing, high performance adhesives and 3D printing. The materials such as kevlar, steel, etc could be acquired easily. Military grade materials like ceramic armor plate, etc would be more of the challenge, but assuming you have research and development and clout with the Defense department as a contractor getting your hands on some spare material wouldn't be much of a hassle.

  • You talk about what is needed, but you don't go into how to put it all together. Speaking as someone who has been involved with construction, but to a limited point, one or two people cannot handle the amount of concrete or other materials that are needed within a reasonable amount of time. It's going to take people to build it. Hence the question: How was it built in secret? How could Bruce Wayne build it without people blabbing about it? This is the actual question, but you don't address it. – Tango Sep 3 at 8:20
  • You're involved in construction but know nothing of "Prefabricated" structures. If you're talking about per se, a true batcave like in the comics, the only logical case would be prefabricated assemblies small enough to fit in any cave access point. – LazyReader Sep 5 at 0:14
  • Prefab or not, all that has to be moved into the Batcave and set up. Along with that, moving rock formations and altering the shape of the cave so it's useful is still going to take a lot of work. So the bottom line is you still do not talk about putting it all together and how that will be done in secret. – Tango Sep 6 at 2:07
  • You build around it. Various comic depictions show scaffolding type layout of the cave where trusses and bridges connect large expanses of floor plates. Assuming a flat layout of the cave it's a matter of simply pouring concrete to have a flat floor with junctions for cables and pipes. And modular vertical support beams. Again this could all be disguised to contractors as "basement reinforcement". The best example is watch the animated series "The Batman" vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/batman/images/5/50/… – LazyReader Sep 18 at 16:58
  • Sorry, but you came up with a weak answer that didn't directly address the question. At this point, nobody's downvoted it, but notice nobody thought enough of it to give it even one upvote. You're rationalizing and going out of your way to create some kind of reasoning to support an answer that just doesn't answer the question and the suggestions you keep coming up with just don't work well. Caves don't have just a flat layout. (I used to spelunk in college.) It's a major project to do this kind of work. End of line. End of discussion. – Tango Sep 18 at 23:38
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Some comics say that the cave was actually developed by Bruce's ancestors who were part of the underground railroad of the 1800's. It was used to smuggle slaves to freedom. Although if we consider the commonly held belief that Gotham City represents one of the great cities of the Northeast, Boston perhaps, one has to wonder why the slaves needed a place to hide when they most likely were on free soil.

But beyond that, when you look at the layout with all its concrete work, massive old fashioned computers, and etc. it must have taken at least a few people to put that together.

I'm reminded of the Great Pyramids of Egypt and their secret passageways to chambers filled with gold and jewels. I imagine Batman must have done something similar. First highly skilled workers were brought in under cover of darkness and blindfolds and housed and fed while the meticulous labor was carried out. Then when all the extensive labor had been completed and everything was up and running, Batman killed them off to safeguard his secrets.

It seems kind of obvious when you think it through. I mean the guy is just not right in the head. Extracting free labor from runaway slaves who didn't know where they were seems to have been a Wayne family tradition. So now you know where they got their money too.

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    Batman isn't as moralistic as Superman, but it seems like quite a leap from him being willing to kill to think he'd choose the mass killing of laborers who haven't committed any crimes rather than a different method of secret construction. – Bellatrix Aug 25 '17 at 1:32
  • Why do you assume that the workers weren't criminals? I'm still going with the descendants of runaway slaves who never knew the freedom they rightfully deserved. Rich people like to do that sort of thing. But setting that aside maybe Batman used criminals for slave labor before killing them. Bruce doesn't have time to be pouring concrete himself. He's got crazed lunatics to round up so they can escape every few months. – MuddyWolf Aug 25 '17 at 3:21
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    I would agree with @Bellatrix about his willingness to kill in that way. Even if the builders were criminals, what he's doing would be premeditated murder. It's hard to imagine him going that far. Blindfolding? Yes. Even having things done in parts and later assembled so nobody knows what the totality is, but planning to murder a group of people? No. – Tango Sep 3 '17 at 17:20
-4

Batman does not kill, the cave is mostly natural. Batman clearly has a dedicated group of people who know who he is. Like seriously if you think about it his identity isn't all that secret. He is rich people, rich, he is bound to have friends and know how to get things done secretly.

  • 1
    This is a partial answer in that you state "the cave is mostly natural", could you edit in a reference that, that is indeed the case? However, it doesn't address the point about the batmobile/batwidgets and that the batcave would have needed work doing to it. If you could expand on this a bit more to explain how he does that in secret (which you sort of hint at) and add sources/evidence this could be a nice answer. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 12 at 13:25
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    Also the "a dedicated group of people who know who he is" part could use some supporting evidence. – DavidW Jul 12 at 13:31

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