With Joker and Birds of Prey coming fast, along with upcoming news about Matt Reeves's The Batman, the DCEU looks ready to remind audiences why Batman remains one of the most popular superheroes of all time. While many people may be sick of the Dark Knight, many forget the world of Gotham is far larger than just Bruce Wayne. There are countless heroes and villains in need of development beyond just Bruce. Several characters with terrific stories, epic confrontations, inner demons --
But which should make it to film? There are several Batman spin-off films that would be amazing to see come to the big screen, as well as several that might be better on the cutting room floor. But which Batman spin-offs should be made, and which shouldn't?
Harley Quinn is arguably the most popular of Batman's villains. However, one of her most famous relationships has yet to be established on the big screen. While Birds of Prey looks ready to present Harley as her own, independent woman, Harley's future ought to include her best friend and true love: Poison Ivy.
The two complete each other perfectly, with Pamela offering Harley emotional stability and support, while Harley helps Ivy take herself far less seriously. Despite being two of Batman's most iconic villains, they've only appeared in some of the most widely despised cinematic outings until this point (Batman and Robin & Suicide Squad). This film might offer them the redemption they need.
Bane remains a popular and recognizable foe for Batman. However, unlike Harley Quinn or many of Bat's other villains, he is arguably the least interesting to see outside his capacity as either a main villain or part of an ensemble.
Put him in a Secret Six film. Put him in James Gunn's Suicide Squad. But Bane really doesn't offer a compelling character in and of himself that could sustain a stand-alone film. What would it even be about? Batman? Then it's basically a Batman film. His drug empire? What film plot can he sustain that wouldn't work with him better as the antagonist?
James Gordon is often the unsung hero of Gotham. While Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy focused heavily on the Gotham Police Department's heavy involvement with law enforcement, it would be a wise idea to tell a whole film -- a gritty true-crime-esque story in the vein of Se7en -- focusing on ordinary people confronting the madness of Gotham.
With Renee Montoya appearing in Birds of Prey and J.K. Simmons already cast as Commissioner Gordon, the film has the potential to be something special, especially if they draw from Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka's Gotham Central comics from the early 00s.
Alfred is the foundation of Bruce's life and an incredibly witty supporting character. He's a fan favorite for a reason. However, he also isn't really a stand-alone hero who could hold his own film. He's a far more interesting supporting character than main player.
Not all supporting characters should headline a story. While they may have compelling stories in and of themselves, they work better as part of a larger cast than as the main hero. Alfred is undeniably one of the best Batman characters ever created. He's often more entertaining than Bruce. But does that mean he should be the main protagonist? It would take a very good script.
Catwoman was done wrong in that Halle Berry film. Selina Kyle has always been one of the most entertaining, compelling characters in Batman's cast. Sometimes a hero, sometimes a villain, but always a clever thief, able to match Batman beat for beat.
Selina deserves her own story with Batman playing a supporting role in her story. It could be a heist story or perhaps even a case of seeing too much during a crime. Whatever the case, a few things ought to be established: Selina's wits, talents as a thief, relationship with Batman, and overall ingenuity.
Ra's al Ghul and his League of Assassins remain some of the best of DC's villains. They are men on a mission to improve the world as they see fit. However, in regards to being anything but the antagonist of a story, they simply are not compelling enough.
Ra's al Ghul works better as a villain because his visions of "improving" the world simply do not work without a foil. Ra's al Ghul is just a fanatic dismantling the world if he is on his own. Audiences realize he's wrong. He works best when a hero like Batman opposes him because of their conflicting world views and mutual respect.
The only interesting idea to be told here is if a spin-off focuses on Talia al Ghul raising Damian Wayne to be an assassin. But that would require explaining Damian's conception and Batman's prior relationship with the League...which would require a lot of continuity leading up to this.
Stephanie Brown is one of the most underrated members of the Bat Family. The daughter of a criminal, Stephanie Brown has had many aliases. Spoiler, Robin, Batgirl -- but if Stephanie Brown is going to take center stage as anyone, it ought to be Spoiler.
Of all the Bat Family, Stephanie Brown brings the most light to the dark party. She's in way over her head, yet learns as she fights to be a clever, resourceful hero capable of holding her own against anyone. Furthermore, she just in general needs more love. She needs to appear somewhere in the future.
Jason Todd, the second Robin, was killed by the Joker. As we already know at least one Robin is dead in the DCEU continuity, it would make sense that Jason is the one who died (even if Zack Snyder says Dick died). The Red Hood arc is a fascinating, iconic storyline that ought to make it to the big screen eventually.
However, Jason Todd just isn't interesting as a main character. He often feels like the edgy team-mate to the Bat Family. What would a Red Hood spin-off even look like? Would it look like Batman's equivalent of The Punisher? Or just feel like crazy Batman from Batman v Superman, given full-reign? The Red Hood is a great foil for Batman and Nightwing, but he probably isn't the best hero on his own.
Barbara Gordon is one of the best characters in Batman's entire cast. Daughter of James Gordon, she was the first Batgirl, fighting alongside him, until the Joker paralyzed her, forcing her to take on a new role as Oracle. While she would later regain the use of her legs, the story of Barbara reinventing herself to become one of the most powerful women in the world is just so compelling.
While the Birds of Prey appear to be forming without Barbara as their Oracle, there is still time to present the rise, fall, and rebirth of Barbara Gordon in cinemas in a compelling, powerful way that keeps the focus entirely on her and her choices.
Dick Grayson is one of the most important DC Characters ever created. The fact that there isn't a film about him already is a crime. The film could start with Dick as Batman's Robin, only to search for his own niche in the superhero community. The film could focus on the relationship between Gotham and Bludhaven, Dick's relationship to Batman, Barbara, and even his replacement (which could be Jason Todd), as well as his developing relationship to other teenage superheroes who might one day become his Titans.
Dick Grayson has not appeared on film since the Joel Schumacher films. Grayson needs a redemption, and a Nightwing spin-off, which has been in some stage of development for the last couple years, may be exactly what the world needs to make Dick Grayson a hero in his own right.