Now that Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, and Gary Oldman have all expressed that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ will be their last Bat-Film, everyone is already wondering what’s next for the franchise. Even though TDKR hasn’t even come out yet, not even I’m immune to letting my imagination wander on this one so I’ve put together a list of directions that could be really successful.
All five suggestions are based on relationships or concepts that already exist in comics in some form (one originated as an animated series) and have already proven to be successful.
5. ‘Batman: Black & White’
Some of comic industries’ top writers and artists came together to create this collection of stand-alones that many count among the best Batman graphic novels ever. While I don’t propose they ditch the color film stock, the vignettes format could be a fantastic solution to one of the biggest plagues to superhero movies – too many villains. By telling three or four shorter stories, perhaps with a thematic connection that crescendos in the last tale, we’d get the pleasure of seeing Batman battle a myriad of foes without the movie suffering for it. Plus it’d give us the opportunity to see some of the Bat-Family pop in for a spell.
4. Batman Beyond
Sadly I think this is the least likely to happen despite it making the most sense. Fresh off of a series that depicts the early days of Bruce Wayne’s transformation into The Dark Knight at great length, the last thing I want to see is it rehashed. But Hollywood loves an origin story so why not tell the tale of the next guy to take the Mantle of the Bat? That’s what Warner Bros. did after ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ ended and there’s no reason it couldn’t work in the live-action world too.
3. World’s Finest
There is something so, so awesome about Superman and Batman teaming up, especially when their Rogues Galleries criss cross too. If you don’t believe me you clearly haven’t been paying attention (or seen the animated series crossover from the mid-90s that served to launch Superman’s solo toon). They’re like the best superhero version of the “buddy cop” concept – different attitudes, different approaches, occasional arguments, but always working together to solve the case. In tights (or I guess armor if you go by DC’s soft reboot). Seeing a live-action pairing of The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel has been at or near the top of nerd wishlists for a lot of people for a long time. People are so desperate for it they wanted ‘Smallville’ to take a shot, even after Season 4 aka “Season of the Witch.” Now that’s saying a lot.
2. Batman & Robin
I put this above the Batman/Superman team-up because I think it’s more likely to happen. Like I said before, movie execs love telling an origin story and one thing we’ve never seen on the big-screen is a great depiction of The Dynamic Duo. Naturally you’d expect Dick Grayson, the original Boy Wonder, wearing some variation of Tim Drake’s uniform as he has in every non-comic depiction since 1990 as the Robin in question. As much as I love Grayson, I love him more as Nightwing so my suggestion is to skip copying Tim’s uniform and go straight to Tim. “A Lonely Place of Dying,” which introduces Drake, is one of the best Bat-stories of the 90s and could make a very compelling flick. An unhinged, grief-stricken, revenge-driven Batman tears through the criminal underworld while Tim sets out on a quest to save him from himself. And you can tell Grayson’s origin through Tim’s eyes – it’s a two-fer! Does this sorta minimize Jason Todd to plot device? Well…yes. But nobody likes him so I’m sure people won’t mind.
1. Justice League
I would happily trade every X-Men movie ever made for one good Justice League flick. And I love me some Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. While I wouldn’t necessarily want him to be the main character, Batman would be invaluable to establishing the basics of the plot and allowing us to see a more “complicated” superhero world through the eyes of a more “relatable” character. Some secret evil is happening which Batman investigates. Perhaps this leads him to Martian Manhunter in his John Jones persona, also looking into the Big Bad, and maybe they have a brief fight but quickly team up. J’onn takes them to reporter Clark Kent and whatever facts are gleaned from that results in the first big metahuman fight of the flick. Naturally Wonder Woman would show up and save all their bacon at the end of the clash. It practically writes itself.
Like my ideas? Do you have any better suggestions? Share!