There are many hurdles facing DC/Warner Bros. when it comes to the future of their superhero movie universe - including: how to approach the task (solo character films vs. team-up films), which characters to focus on (Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, etc...) - and of course, how to treat properties that have already had a recent cinematic run (those lingering Green Lantern and Batman reboot questions).
In the case of Batman, the issue is especially problematic: Chris Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy was so beloved by fans that they still can't accept the idea that it is 100% over - even though the director and his stars keep insisting that it is. Any actor who tries to step into the role so soon after Christian Bale is going to be facing an uphill battle, but a new rumor hints at a scenario that could conceivably help ease the transition.
Batman on Film is claiming that they've heard "whispers" that while DC/WB is currently tossing around any number of ideas about how to continue their Batman franchise, one of those ideas - which fans will no doubt appreciate - is to make a cinematic version of the popular '90s cartoon, Batman Beyond.
For those who don't know: Batman Beyond was set in the Gotham City of 2039, twenty years after the final appearance of the Batman. Bruce Wayne (now weakened and aged) meets Terry McGinnis, a teenage kid hiding noble sensibilities under a huge chip on his shoulder. After fighting side-by-side with Terry in a skirmish against a local Joker gang, Bruce is left in a debilitated state and must rely on Terry to make it back to his mansion; there, the young man quickly discovers that the old man he's assisted was actually the legendary hero known as Batman. When the Joker gangsters murder Terry's father at the behest of a corrupt executive within Wayne's corporation, Bruce gives Terry the chance for justice in the form of a hi-tech Batman armor and an array of fancy gadgets. After nabbing the bad guys that killed Terry's father, Bruce and Terry provide one another with new purpose in life, as they embark on a campaign to truly transform Terry into a fully-trained and capable Batman for a new era.
According to BoF, there could be two-pronged approach to making Batman Beyond fit within in a DC movie universe - namely by using the character of Bruce Wayne as a bridge. In the Justice League era, Bruce would be in his prime and still active as Batman; in the Batman Beyond future era, Bruce would be aged and serve as mentor to Terry. That theory makes about as much sense as any, and it would certainly be more pleasing to fans that trying to wedge the Terry McGinnis Batman into a modern-day Justice League roster; not to mention, both franchises could benefit from using the same actor as both the old and young versions of Bruce.
As for translating Batman Beyond to the big screen? In the last few years, several studios (including WB) have batted around the idea of making futuristic versions of classic characters like Robin Hood or Zorro - so Batman wouldn't be all that far-fetched, nor unexpected (fans have been calling for a Batman Beyond live-action movie for years). In terms of adapting the cartoon: a piece of concept art by artist Mark Vick started circling the Internet awhile back, detailing what the Batman Beyond armor might look like in a live-action film, and the results certainly struck a cord with fans:
For my part: Batman Beyond was just one of many great shows that DC/WB put out in the '90s era, so a film franchise based on that property is already a welcome proposition in my book. More to the point, it would give fans several things they would likely value:
- A chance to explore the character of Batman in a new world, from a new angle.
- A chance to explore a new character behind the cape and cowl in a new context, free of the same kind of hinderances that come with trying to, say, introduce the Dick Grayson Batman within a "Bruce Wayne prime" era.
- A chance to mix the mythos and thematic strengths of Batman with a bonafide sci-fi movie experience.
- Did we mention a rogues gallery that mixes (and remixes) both new and old villains?
Marvel Studios is currently expanding their movie universe into futuristic sci-fi territory with Guardians of the Galaxy - and it will be interesting to see how audiences react to that idea - but clearly, the ambition of mixing superhero action with heavy sci-fi tropes is already being pursued (WB already tried and failed in that endeavor with Green Lantern). No matter how GoG does, or how lukewarm GL was, Batman is a brand that sells itself, and the notion of "Batman in the future" is one that could easily entice millions of movie fans before they every see one second of trailer footage.
For now, however, this is all conjecture; DC/WB has NOT chosen to go in any particular direction yet (that we know of), but Comic-Con 2013 could (hopefully?)(maybe?) change that. If you need a taste of what Batman Beyond is all about, watch the pilot episode opening, below:
We'll keep you updated on any and all Batman movie projects; stay tuned to our Comic-Con 2013 Coverage page so that you don't miss any breaking news.
Source: Batman on Film