Rian Johnson Sounds Off On Potential ‘Batman’ Reboot

Published 2 years ago by

Batman Reboot Director Rian Johnson Rian Johnson Sounds Off On Potential Batman Reboot

Now that Christopher Nolan has completed his interpretation of the Batman mythology, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. are likely in the process of rebooting the iconic anti-hero. Entrusting a task of that magnitude for the Justice League universe isn’t going to be easy, but as has become the case, debating what directors would be up to the challenge is inevitable.

After director Rian Johnson hit mainstream paydirt with Looper, some might see his writing talent making him a strong contender. But as Johnson explains, pressure to succeed isn’t the only concern for whoever ends up reinventing Batman on the big screen.

Johnson’s name being brought up in the discussion isn’t a total shock, given his recent success with frequent collaborator Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Levitt’s ties to the Batman franchise going forward are still tenuous at best, but his work alongside the proven writing and directing talent of Rian Johnson is as close to an inside-track as we’ve seen so far.

While fans might organize parades or online petitions to give their favorite directors a chance to bring a superhero to life, ultimately, it’s not their call to make. As Johnson explains, the person who inks the deal can’t let mere excitement inform the decision.

Speaking with FlickeringMyth, Johnson praised past depictions of Batman, but isn’t ready to jump head-first into WB’s plans, should the opportunity arise:

“I like that hypothetical. You know, I love Batman, I didn’t grow up reading the comics but ‘Batman’ movies, when that first Tim Burton ‘Batman’ movie came out that kind of defined, in kind of like a weird way for the generation that I was in, that first ‘Batman’ movie in a way it defined what a blockbuster was for me, more so than any of the 70s movies. When that first ‘Batman’ movie hit it was like this cultural volcano that defined what the superhero blockbuster was in a way that was just completely drew me in as a kid. So ‘Batman’ is definitely the one superhero movie franchise that I’m 100% just completely in love with, and I love [Christopher] Nolan’s so much man. Right now I’m just focusing on doing my own thing. And that hypothetical that you mentioned has so many variables to it in terms of what kind of movie they’re looking to make and all of that so, you know, that call hasn’t happened and in the meanwhile I’m not gonna sit by the phone, I’m just gonna keep writing my own stuff.”

Rian Johnson Joseph Gordon Levitt Looper Rian Johnson Sounds Off On Potential Batman Reboot

It isn’t hard to see what Johnson’s comments are alluding to, since the restrictions placed on Joss Whedon’s Avengers by Marvel are fairly well-known. Johnson, like Whedon, is lauded for both his writing and directing abilities, so the opportunity to tell a story with a tone, cast, or plot dictated by the studio – life-changing as it might be – may not automatically be seen as a dream job. Especially when the attention garnered by his indie-minded Looper has opened doors; walking onto a controlled set seems to be a move in the opposite direction.

Of course, all that is assuming Warner Bros. has as rigid a plan for a shared Justice League movie universe as Marvel. If reports prove true and Batman is being rebooted in JL, then the direction the caped crusader will take in the future is even less clear. There are already rumors of WB starting to reshape Man of Steel to hint at a larger universe, and if that’s the case, the director entrusted with Justice League could set an even narrower path for those to follow.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it won’t be the kind of environment most likely to attract independent writer/directors like Rian Johnson (and possibly why Marvel hasn’t used ‘Phase One’ success to hire nothing but top-tier directors with serious industry clout). Now that comic book fans have not one, but potentially two movie universes to watch, it’ll be increasingly interesting to see which directors wish to take part, and who simply passes.

Avengers Justice League Solo Films Rian Johnson Sounds Off On Potential Batman Reboot

What do you think of Rian Johnson’s style being used to tell a Batman story? Is that the kind of change you feel DC needs to make in order to distinguish itself, or is it just too far away from what it needs to be successful? Sound off in the comments.


Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Flickering Myth [via CBM]

TAGS: Batman
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  1. I keep wishfully hoping that DC just wants to surprise us in the end and actually tie in the DK trilogy with the Justice League movie. Like the majority of people I enjoyed the DK version of Batman. Then I’m feeling real good about how they’re portraying the new Superman movie. Then the new Arrow TV show is surprisingly really good. So long story short, I keep wishfully thinking that they’ll surprise us and tie all of these new movies/tv show together into Justice League. That they’re just trying to bring the movie together differently from Marvel. The only DC movie I didn’t enjoy at all recently was Green Lantern. And everyone relax, I know I know. It’s just crazy thoughts. I know it’ll never play out like that.

    • My guy you say Green Lantern is the only DC movie you haven’t liked recently. It’s not like DC/Warner releases two to three movies a year, because the Batman is the only good thing that truely comes from them -movie wise- anyway.

  2. I haven’t seen Looper, so I don’t really know what Johnson’s style is. But a Batman reboot will have to be more comic booky and less grounded in reality if its to fit in a shared DC movieverse.

    • Definitely agree. The 2nd Nolan movie was good but the other 2 were extremely forgettable (I wish I could purge them from memory altogether). Batman was never meant to exist in the real world, and shoving him into the real world is just sad. Batman is only truly amazing because he is a mortal man who has to fight against super humans. Making him a glorified SWAT team member was not the route I would have ever expected anyone to take him down. I am hoping something closer to the 1989 Batman again.

        • Yeah, a batmobile that climbs on walls is way better. Burton made Batman like a Nightmare before Christmas atmosphere.

          Nicholson’s portrayal was at best, cartononish, and Keaton did not make a convincing Bruce Wayne, but his Batman was better than Bale’s.

          I am not one to complain about the grounded and realistic tone of Nolan’s Batman, because that is how Batman should be, a tortured vigilante fighting for the little guys,plus Nolan’s origin story was very faithful to the comics since it captures a lot of elements from the comics like the tragedy, characters (even with a twist in portrayal), I think the main reason majority of fans did not like Nolan’s take is how it is very far from the “Superhero” Batman we know, but in terms of story and pacing (Aside from that stupid ending of Bane and poor inclusion of Talia), Nolan’s trilogy is top notch.

          • Agreed a. It’s weird for me since the diversity that I would think comicbook readers would appreciate more than anyone in terms of how the fave heroes are brought to life it the one the they seem to hate the most.
            Nolan has spoken about how the guys at DC told him that Batman is strengthened by re-interpretation, as he has been through history. Nolan’s respectful interpretation has definately strengthened the BATMAN phenomena among non-comicbook readers. I hope the next one continues the up trend.

            • I am just merely stating an opinion on why I think Nolan’s is better. I meant no disrespect to anyone other than what they think is better since Nolan has gotten a lot of flame for his interpretation and besides, there is always a comparison to show intrigue and interest on a beloved character. Somewhat like how many people bash Bryan Singer’s take on Superman as opposed to Richard Donner’s. No meant for harm, just some good old fashioned debate.

            • Plus, Nolan showed depth to the supporting characters, not just Batman. That is what stands him above Burton. It’s not a typical Hero saves the day kind of story, although he strayed from that path in the third film with the way they handled Bane and Talia.

            • chrichton

              A cartoon series and a movie are different things. You don’t have the luxury of time in developing characters in movies like you do in TV series.

              Also, I see that Nolan’s take on Batman isn’t far from the Caped Crusader we love. I mean, the depth of the character is there, the villains are well written. I think you’re just looking for supernatural things happening in Nolan’s trilogy, like Venom on Bane, or Lazarus Pit. He made Gordon look bad ass, plus he redeemed Catwoman (Or Selina Kyle) since that poor film with Halle Berry. Add with Heath Ledger’s astounding performance and great supporting casts.

                • Comics , as mentioned above, is full of re- inventions. Like I said, you don’t have a luxury of time in TV series. What you refer to as a single episode is a collection of other knowledge in the Series itself. Batman Beyond has its roots in the Animated Series and in time, there are episodes (Those single ones you refer), that define the character in that series.

                  Plus, I agree that Arkham games are really closer to the comics than Nolan’s movies, but if you translate that into film, it will be very consuming and a lot of budget is needed. Plus, the need for logic to go with that since Batman’s greatest weapons are his wits. There would be a lot of “Deus ex Machina” moments since you have a guy with NO superpowers going up against freaks of nature, and that would only be a good story for Superhero fans.

                  Batman is the most believable character to make in film, not because he fights superpower freaks without him having no powers, but the way the character transcends all obstacles physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
                  Going by Logic, Batman is a crime fighter, not a “Super” hero.

                    • A realistic may not always be a better one, but it works well in Batman’s universe. Batman represents the people among “Super” Heroes, cause he is the most grounded, which makes Nolan’s interpretation very well made, Fantasy aspects in Batman’s universe is not a problem, the problem is being over the top and it being too much of a stretch for Batman to just solve, since he is after all, powerless. What part of that don’t you understand? Nolan removed the fantasy side to explore more of the emotion and psychology of Batman, and the environment he is part of.

                      The way Nolan worked on Batman is that he made Batman more than a comic book hero, but a movie icon, he interpreted Batman as a normal guy doing extraordinary things, not supernatural things, which is what comic book fans bash on Nolan for. Batman is more than a comic book hero, he is a pop culture icon, and the way they told his origin and struggles, made him more popular than ever before.

                    • Nolan and Goyer interpreted Batman in a fairly realistic and removed most of the supernatural elements. So what? It is still Batman that was placed in those movies. The classic characteristics of Batman were faithful to the comics, and I doubt Nolan and co. strayed from making Batman in the movies the Batman in the comics. Fanboys like you just wanna see the gimmicks his villain rogues use in the comics, and say that Arkham City is better or cartoons develop better interpretation.

                      What dBm meant as a crime fighter, is that he fights normal people that do crime in his city, and not like the Avengers with Aliens and Space invasion, or magical beings, since Batman HAS NO POWERS or he is not Iron Man, with gadgets that are so high tech, it can fight Alien tech. Batman is not defined by that. Meaning, a grounded interpretation does not make Batman any less of the hero he is known for.

                      Plus, TV series have a lot of build up to have single episodes that make it more interesting, and video games do not require the same pressure of catering to non comic book fans since the movie business caters to general audiences, and Batman so happens fit the grounded world.

              • chrichton

                they make them (the movies) more realistic for monetary reasone! to appeal to the NON COMIC BOOK fans as well, (thats where they make a billion dollars ya know) if it were just to appease to the comic book fans they would just be cartoons and only fanboys could watch! THEY (THE STUDIOS) MAKE THEIR MONEY FROM US THE NON COMIC BOOK FANS OF THESE CHARACTERS!!

                WHY do you think everyone like the avengers! it played the realism card to a tee thats why they made the money that they did not because they were all cartoony like the comics! Sorry but thats the truth, if they were playing to just the fanboys Tim Burton would make ALL the comic book movies

  3. As crap as Green Lantern was, Ryan Reynolds is still perfect for the role, his humor would add alot to a Justice League movie.
    And JGL as Batman, I’m down with that, hopefully they make it happen.

    • Agreed. He better be in it.

    • JGL as Batman in an apparent reboot of Batman would simply confuse some, I mean what Batman could JGL play, certainly not Robin Blake. Anything in Nolan’s batman universe should remain separate from any film trying to attach itself to future a JLA film.

    • I disagree. I thought Ryan Reynolds was terribly miscast as Hal Jordan. I like Reynolds (still think he’s perfect as Deadpool), but he just didn’t seem right as Hal Jordan.

    • If they wont some comic relief then that role is better suited for the flash.

    • I still think he would have made a great Barry Allen. Though I have to say, I want Michael Rosenbaum as Wally West.

    • Perfect for Deadpool, I would say that Nathan Fillion should be Green Lantern over Ryan Reynolds.

    • Ryan Reynolds was playing Van Wilder in a Superhero Movie.

  4. New Batman should take place with batman trapped in arkham asylum where the inmates have taken over and start to escape.

    And John Hamm should be Batman, he literally looks like bruce wayne and he can act.

  5. I find it somewhat odd this article refers to Batman as a straight up ‘anti-hero’

    • Right!?! Since when is Batman an anti-hero?

      • Yeah, that stuck out to me as well.

        • Well if you remove the in-fiction ‘heroism,’ Batman is a deeply troubled man with a dual identity, who spends his night shrouded in blackness, doing violence against those unlucky enough to fall into his bad books. It isn’t Batman’s actions or appearance that are ‘heroic,’ just his overall goal.

          So he is an anti-hero :) Actually one of the few that would actually ever be debatable, once again proving how much people love him. Perhaps we all have a bit of an attraction to anti-heroes?

          • Anti-Hero:
            a central character in a novel, play, etc, who lacks the traditional heroic virtues (like killing), Someone doing BAD things for the RIGHT reasons.

            -Punisher is an anti hero, he KILLS people that are bad (bad thing for good reasons).
            -Deadpool kills because it amuses him, and he does things for money (He is a mercenary).
            -Dexter Morgan: He kills serial killers. ’nuff said.

            Villains: Do I REALLY need to tell you what a villain is? I feel like I do.

            -Batman is a hero. He does not kill people, does not steal, does not do it for himself (like Deadpool) but does it for selfless reasons, he brings villains to jail and does not kill them (At least not on purpose, if he did kill, Joker would no longer be a thorn in his side).
            -Spiderman: Again, selfless reasons. It may have started by being selfish (Killing, on accident I might add, Uncle Ben’s killer and getting money by abusing his powers during a wrestling contest) but he is now a hero. No question.

            So, how is batman an anti-hero? I seem to have a COMPLETELY different view of an anti hero then you.

            • It really depends how you look at it. Killing isn’t the only “bad thing” an anti-hero can do. Batman commits assault (obviously), trespassing (collecting evidence in countless detective story arcs), illegal surveillance (plenty of mob offices he has bugged), unauthorized access (breaking into databases to research criminals), etc. At the end of the day, Batman has broken almost every law except homicide, but he does it to achieve justice.

              • Andrew Dyce said:
                “Well if you remove the in-fiction ‘heroism,’ Batman is a deeply troubled man with a dual identity, who spends his night shrouded in blackness, doing violence against those unlucky enough to fall into his bad books. ”

                Would this not describe almost every single hero/villain (there are exceptions)? Spiderman is troubled (Uncle Ben, not alot of money, a mean boss who hates his alter ego), so is the Hulk (For obvious reasons). Superman needs to balance a normal life and being superman, so that is troubled, maybe not like batman, but very troubled because of this. Not everyone of them spend their nights “shrouded in blackness”, but the point stands.

  6. I think Johnson’s take on Batman would be a little too similar to Chris Nolan’s. I guess it depends on how far WB wants to deviate from their past trilogy in regards to tone and style.

  7. why do we need another Batman reboot? Haven’t we had enough of his origin story? Can someone in Hollywood please be original these days?

  8. Keep Nolan’s universe and style away from the Justice League. I don’t want JGL as Batman, really a JL without Bruce Wayne? No thanks. I don’t want a super gritty dark and realistic JL universe, too many other characters don’t work in that style.

    • Precisely. Why should JGL be Batman for a Justice League film and why attempt to link Nolan’s heighten realistic universe to a universe that will include super powered beings. Both universes should be their own separate realities.

      • I don’t think there’s a real chance of them trying to tie in Nolan’s trilogy to Justice League. The only reason that notion is out there is unrealistic fans.

    • PERFECTLY SAID MISFIT!!!! I agree 1000% I’m a huge batman fan but I DO NOT want ANOTHER damn batman movie, GO WITH other characters and if (and I mean a HUGE IF) it works maybe bring in batman in a few years!! CMON they WB/DC are trying to ride the $$$$ coattails of the avengers and they will RUSH IT AS WE ARE ALREADY SEEING and blow it BIGTIME!! Marvel did everything correctly with the solo movies first and it was a SH*Tstorm of ppl loving the characters that were written to perfection (close anyways) and the actors they picked were great in each respective role! WB/DC dont have a CLUE what the hell they want to do story wise or character wise. HELL they dont even know which batman they want to use Tim Burtins?? HELL NO BTW, or Nolans Darker batman, This JL will be a 200 million dollar TURD and I hope it is because I know that JL has been talked about for years it is only now that the Avengers came out and KILLED IT MONETARILY AND every other way you can kill it WB/DC wants a piece of the pie and I for 1 5 yrs ago was all for this but now I KINDA HOPE IT BOOOOMBS

  9. I want Tim Burton back. Maybe try to do a darker one than Nolans

  10. don’t gives us any more re-boots, we don’t get origins after origins every time they change the artist or the writers in the comics. just give us three more story arcs. like when they do a comic mini series or TV series on FX, Stars, HBO or Showtime that way we can get between 12 to 15 hours a year versus 2 1\2 to 3 hours every two to three years. just imagine being able to watch a Batman series on a weekly basis. Now how awesome would that be.

  11. Actually, it makes sense to begin the “reboot” of Batman in JL. Warner/DC can use the JL connection to explain away the 8 year gap in time that came out in Nolan’s Trilogy. That would make a lot of sense. The kicker would be who would the new Bruce Wayne/Batman be. And who ever the pick for the other parts, they would need to stay the same in future stand alone? The JL could laso give Warner/DC a chance to reboot Green Lantern.

    • they dont need to explain any gap because the nolan batman is not part of the “DCU”, you can call nolans batman “fan-fiction” and the real batman will be in the JL film, and any other solo film from now on.

      • THAT IS LAAAAAAME, i hate that word but there is NO OTHER WORD FOR IT…. DUHH okay lets just forget the last 6 yrs a 3 good batman movies, that were NOT TIM BURTONS TURDS, and 20 different BW’s Im surprised ole timmy boy did not change actors in the middle of the movies thats HOW MUCH Hollywood hated these movies NO ONE wanted to do it and when they did they all thought they were the ones that would kill it and thats EXACTLY what they did (in a BAD WAY) the only BW that was any good was Michael keaton!!! JUST GO AWAY BATMAN PLEEZ FOR A WHILE TILL JL GETS firmly planted in the money making category, because Im tellin you that ppl WILL GET sick of this garbage that WB/DC KEEPS SHOVELING AT US

  12. Yes. Batman needs to be rebooted, but in a sense that the film does not continue (or straight up sequel of) the previous ones (Nolan’s, in this case). Give it new actors, a new director, a new storyline, and of course a new approach to the direction this new Batman film is taken. There’s no need for origin stories. For God sakes, everybody knows how Bruce Wayne can be Batman, just acknowledge it in a few flashback scenes, and you’re good. Just dive right into the main story and actions. Also don’t forget to tie in something from the solo film into the JL storyline, maybe the way the Tesseract from CA:TFA ties straight into The Avengers’ story.

    Anyway, as a Batman fan, I give full support to whoever will direct this new film, just make sure he knows his Batman stuff and the passion to do it.

  13. I think this is too soon, maybe give it another 8 years. Instead of the Amazing Spiderman reboot route, I would prefer if the new Batman reboot focused more on his relationship with others, beginning with a Robin origin being the main plot in the first movie. A non-Nolan villain could be in order such as the Penguin, the Riddler or Mr. Freeze.

  14. Okay, let’s mix a cocktail. First we put in some Brick, then a dash of Looper, add an ex-cop called Robin who gets to be the new Batman, and shake it up a bit. I like to call it a Noir World’s Greatest Detective. If you had Gordon-Levitt as Batman, playing a less rich and less bombastic detective style story, you could have an amazing film. Sure the studio would be terrified that most cinema goers wouldn’t get it, but the fan reaction would easily sell it. Batman is far too often played as largely mech-suitless Iron Man nowadays, but many of the best incarnations of the Bat are as a modern day Sherlock Holmes. By the time this was shown at Comicon, you’d have an unstoppable publicity machine fueled by the real fans.

  15. f*** batman and your s***** idea to ruin good independent writer director

  16. I disagree with Misfit up there. This is probably a bad comparision but if James Bond can survive 23 films and 50 years, the largest gap between films being 6 years through 6 different actors, I don’t see why Batman can’t do as the same.
    So long as villians already used don’t get used again for a while, if ever.
    I am down with a new batman in 2016 or 2017, and then a new take on batman into the mid to late 2020′s, keep them coming.

  17. The only thing that worries me is the fact that Tim Burton is the HUGE influence on him.

    Don’t get me wrong, “Batman” 1989 and “Batman Returns” are excellent films

    But does this mean we’re going to go back to Batman actually killing people?

  18. They need to remake him in the JL movie as a Sherlockian detective who is definitely always the smartest in the room. As for the new actor, I don’t care, as long as he is good as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Jon Hamm, Andrew Lincoln, Guy Pearce, and Michael C Hall are good choices.

  19. This guy obviously missed the Superman movies then

  20. Do we need to be reminded AGAIN that the parents were killed by a mugger? Does this need a re-boot? My answer is no, why not use what is in place already, there would be no complaints from me. The only actor that did not want to return was Bale and he is vastly overrated considering he was overshadowed by Caine, Oldman, Neeson, Murphy, Ledger, Eckert, Hardy and JGL. If there was another Batman then I personally would not miss Bale.

  21. I think people should be free to prefer with ever iteration they like, with emotions flaring up too much. My main thing is diversity. It great that they can make weird quirky gothic Batman movies like Burton, neon fluorescent Batman movies like Schumacer if that’s your thing, or human real world Batman movies like Nolan. And just as there’s nothing wrong with the fantastical, realism, when applied well, has is merits too. It can really crank up the drama and tension. I love that about Nolan’s films. But let’s see what the next iteration looks like in the Justice League.

  22. How about we stop making reboots and finally move forward with a superhero movie.

  23. They need to make Batman more agile, a balance between Burton/Nolan’s versions. Id personally like to see Batman costume similiar to Batman Returns costume. A costume made to make the actor more agile for fight scenes. I drew designs with/without the yellow oval Batcostume only it’s not bullet proof. I always wondered if they could designed a costume that wasn’t all rubber/bulletproof. Mostly to have Batman be seen more vulnerable in Justice League compared to the other heroes. If people had a open-mind id say such a costume would look great as the cape & Cowl be easy to attach to the costume as seen from Nolan’s films.

  24. I would rather see Joseph Gordon Levitts play a new batman in a nolan style universe who goes against Harley Quinne who hates Batman and wants Joker free,Riddler, a poison useing assassin from the league of shadows known as Poison Ivey, and a short Gangter with the nick name Penguine for his hieght and tux.

  25. I think reboots need done once in a blue moon. Just to continue the origin and not let it be forgotten in the future generations. I don’t think we need a Batman reboot right now, espescially after Nolan’s trilogy is his own Dark Knight Legend. We could just drop in on an experienced, dark, and mysterious Batman just like we did in the Tim Burton movie and no one would be confused

  26. rian johnsons take on batman before putting him in the justice league film this i gotta see.