The DC Extended Universe is currently in flux due to the underperformance of Justice League, and it seems Ben Affleck’s reign as Batman might be ending already – meaning now could be the perfect time for a Batman Beyond movie.
Superhero cinema's move into shared universe has yielded mixed results. When Marvel first announced plans for a connected movie universe featuring B-list characters like Iron Man and Thor, conventional Hollywood wisdom deemed it an insane experiment doomed to failure. Cut to a decade later and every studio wants their own cinematic universe and they’ve all tried – unfortunately with varying levels of success. Given DC’s rich catalog of superheroes, it was only a matter of time before they attempted one of their own, which they truly kicked off with Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Man of Steel was designed very standalone). A movie uniting two of the most iconic comic book characters of all time – in addition to introducing Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman – should have easily earned it a billion in box office revenue worldwide, but the movie’s dark tone and divisive word of mouth saw it fall short of that goal.
Outside of Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman, the DCEU’s movie output has drawn mixed reactions, and Justice League’s critical and commercial reception has only highlighted the need for course correction. There's new leadership at DC Films and for a long time there have been suggestions of a new, Elseworlds-style banner: this would be where Scorsese's Joker movie would reside, along with - at least according to some rumors - Matt Reeves' Batman outing.
The Batman has had a turbulent journey already, with Affleck slowly relinquishing control - Reeves took over last year - and now reports suggesting he's eager to leave the role entirely. Considering a recast is likely and Reeves by all accounts is leaning towards a clean slate for his solo adventure, they should go all in: they should go Beyond Bruce Wayne.
What Is Batman Beyond? (This Page)
What Exactly Is Batman Beyond?
Batman Beyond is a direct sequel to the classic Batman: The Animated Series, taking place around forty years in the future. The show opens on Bruce Wayne’s last night as Batman, where due to a combination of his age and being outnumbered, he’s forced to use a gun to defend himself. After this oath-breaking moment, Bruce hangs up the cowl for good, leaving Gotham without Batman. Twenty years later, a teenager named Terry McGinnis accidentally discovers Bruce’s secret, and after his father is murdered by a powerful businessman, Terry takes over the role.
The series came about due to executives wanting to create a teenage Batman to appeal to the Buffy The Vampire Slayer audience. Despite this dubious jumping off point, the creative team – including Batman: TAS mainstays Bruce Timm and Paul Dini – felt there was potential in the concept; the futuristic setting allowed them to incorporate cyberpunk elements and give Gotham a complete Akira-like redesign. Making Terry a teenager also let the writers explore themes like bullying, depression and the future impact of technology on society, making it feel edger than the average children’s cartoon.
What could have been a short-lived cash grab is now considered an excellent series in its own right and the show holds a special place for those who saw it during its initial run. Warner Bros’ even mulled over a Batman Beyond live-action movie in 2000 when they were deciding how to move forward with the franchise. A script was written and Boaz Yakin (Max) was hired to direct, but it was scrapped in favour of Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins - a decision that’s hard to fault on reflection. But could we still see it on the big screen.
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