Matt Reeves' Batman Could Be Younger, Or Not In The DCEU
As long as Affleck has been cast as Batman, fans have been clamoring for a solo Batman picture. There will always be an audience for the Bat and the Oscar-winner brings an extra level of grandeur to the whole idea. But aside from Matt Reeves directing, there's been almost nothing definitive on what kind of story it will tell, or what version of Bruce Wayne we'll be seeing.
The current rumor is that Reeves looking to cast a Bruce that's 15-20 years younger than the one Affleck depicts, to do a loose adaptation of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's Batman: Year One, the classic volume that chronicles the Dark Knight's first year on the harsh streets of Gotham. Affleck's sentiment on the matter has flip-flopped, the latest being that he's interested in dawning the cowl some more. Doing Year One would be a smart move, opening up an opportunity for recast that isn't just replacing Affleck and hoping for a seamless transition, and telling a story that inherently creates a soft reboot of the timeline.
But there's been all sorts of rumors and hearsay about whether The Batman will be in the DCEU. Now, literally, everything could have changed in the interim given that there isn't even a script yet, but if it is standalone, that would be problematic for the canon of the DCEU. It'd effectively make Birds of Prey the sole arbiter of whatever's going on with Gotham, using two characters, Cassandra Cain and Harley Quinn, that have a close proximity to the Batman. This isn't questioning that film's ability to function without the Big Bad Bat, but the first question many fans are going to have going in is “what's Batman up to?” and to not address that elephant would, at the very least, be a missed opportunity for a great tease.
Where Is The Bat-Family?
Summer last year, Geoff Johns seemed all in on bringing the wider Bat-cast to the big screen. At the time he championed the now-defunct Joss Whedon Batgirl film, and made it very clear they wanted to build out Batman's world like the comics. Since then, a lot has happened, namely Justice League failed and Warner Bros. seemed to decide to change direction more than a couple of times. Obviously, Whedon's Batgirl is away, the project presumably waiting for a new team to have a look when the time's right, but the Nightwing film from Bill Dubuque and Chris McKay also seems to have quietly died, chewed up in the machine of studio development.
Even looking at what we do know, it doesn't seem like this version of Batman was ever made to be the center of his own wider Gotham. Robin's dead and the costume retired in Batman v Superman, and there's no sign of other heroes operating in the city; Batman is seen dealing with both Deadshot and Harley Quinn alone in their backstory pre-Suicide Squad.
Which is probably the question facing Reeves, Yan and whomever else is in-line for a Bat-project at Warner Bros. - how do they navigate what Snyder's movies establish? What do they keep and what do they retcon, and how do they do that with as little damage as possible? The last thing anyone wants is another X-Men situation similar to Fox where the timeline is literally all over the place. As it stands, the best way is to sidestep and, like the rest of the DCEU, focus on the individual stories - stories that go beyond the classic Bat Family.
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