Will There Ever Be A New Batman Movie Franchise?
When the final scene of 'The Dark Knight Rises' came to an end, I held my breath for a while and then exhaled. It didn't sink in right away but shortly after leaving the cinema, I thought to myself, "this might be the last Batman movie I ever see." The Dark Knight Trilogy was so flawless and so epic in scale, it just seemed impossible to fathom that there could ever be any film director or movie studio daring enough to make an attempt at following it.
Now as most of you probably know the announcement was made a few months back that there would be an upcoming sequel to Zac Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel,’ currently known as ‘Batman vs. Superman,’ which would include the Caped Crusader. It was also announced that Ben Affleck had been cast to play an aging Batman who will square off against Henry Cavill’s Superman. However, this film falls within the new Superman franchise, and was an easy excuse and a work around of sorts to get Batman back on screen. However, what we are interested in here, is the question of whether or not there will ever be a new Batman movie franchise, and if so what will the next exclusive Batman movie look like?
As hard to fathom as a new Batman movie franchise may seem now, in the current world of movie remakes and reboots, anything is certainly possible. Let’s take a look at some of the arguments for the revival of the franchise and for it remaining retired in the form of Christopher Nolan’s epic masterpiece.
What do you think of Ben Affleck as Batman?
What Could Prevent A New Batman Movie Franchise
Let’s start by looking at the obvious reasons why it might seem unlikely that there will be a new Batman franchise in our lifetimes:
- Nobody Will Touch It – Let’s look at it this way. We’ve all seen the cliché where a father is an incredible professional athlete, and their son has a terrible time trying to live up to those expectations, never quite being able to get out of that shadow. Well, any director who decides to take over a new Batman movie is going to face the same challenge, of having to fill the extremely large shoes of Christopher Nolan. There aren’t many directors who could do it, and really why would any of them want to? There just isn’t enough wiggle room within an already created world to differentiate yourself enough while still having a high quality Batman film.
- The Origin Story Has Been Done – A lot of times when you see a new superhero movie rebooted or brought back to life, the filmmakers utilize a technique that has become known as the Origin Story. This is where the story is told of how that superhero came to be. Many franchises already have this as a part of their standard story, but many do not. Batman is one of those franchises, and is primed for a good origin story based on the graphic novels and cartoons which spend plenty of time on Bruce Wayne’s tragic past. However, here is the problem. Christopher Nolan already did the origin story to near perfection with Batman Begins. So that plan might be off the table.
- Fan’s Will Get Their Fix With Batman vs. Superman – Another thing which will likely get in the way of a new batman movie is the fact that it would make very little sense in a business or storytelling sense for there to be a Batman movie separate to another movie that includes Batman. At very least, any Batman movie franchise will have to wait a couple years after the Batman vs. Superman film before putting out anything. Whether that would include an aged Ben Affleck Batman, following on from the storyline or not would likely depend on the success and willingness of the stars to get on board.
Why There Could Be A New Batman Movie Franchise
I've described a lot of the reasons why we might not see Mr. Wayne again, but let's take a look at some of the arguments as to why we might:
- Money: The Franchise is Just Too Lucrative – Well, the obvious and almost overwhelming argument for why there will eventually be another franchise reboot, is that there is just too much money to be had by making Batman movies. The horrific ‘Batman & Robin’ is proof that no matter how horrific a Batman movie is it is likely to sell a lot of tickets. Also, as time passes and a younger generation of kids who were too young for The Dark Knight Trilogy get older, there will be money to be made by creating movies for them to enjoy.
- Reboots Are Common – As you know, we live in a world where Hollywood is obsessed with the remake or the reboot. New sequels have been made to classics like Indiana Jones, with more on the way for Jurassic Park and Star Wars. Old classics like Carrie and The Evil Dead have been remade completely, with varying levels of success critically, but almost uniform success in terms of ticket sales. The question is, is the power of what was done previously too strong to allow for this to happen here, at least in the near future?
- If Ben Affleck Is Successful – An awful lot of controversy was caused by the casting of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, and a lot of people cried out that it was a terrible selection. However, what if Affleck is fantastic and the experiment pays off. Word is that he will play an older Batman, so if it goes well will he and the studios get the itch to go forward with this aged Batman in a franchise of his own? If the money and the script is right, why not? Plus, Bruce Wayne’s older years are the only area of the Batman mythos that hasn’t already been beaten to death.
- Enough Time Will Pass – One thing to remember is that time makes a big difference. It’s easy to say that nobody wants to follow The Dark Knight trilogy, but after ten years, there will be a lot of new teenagers who have never even seen it, and who want to see their own Batman movie franchise unfold. After a decade or two so there will be far less pressure to succeed, and in all honesty there is no doubt in my mind that eventually we will see another. The question that is much more interesting though is when?
"Gotham: The TV Series" - A Batman Prequel
News has also arrived recently that there will be a new Fox TV series upcoming called 'Gotham' which will serve as a prequel to Batman. It will follow a young James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, and will show the origins of many of the Batman world's most famous villains. This is one to watch out for but it's release date is not yet known.
What Would The Next Batman Movie Look Like?
So let's just say someone was to sign up to make a new Batman movie in the next few years after this Man of Steel sequel hits theaters. What might it look like? Would it follow Batman vs. Superman in having Ben Affleck playing an aged Bruce Wayne forced to go back to fighting crime? Would it attempt another reboot, with some sort of alternate origin story? Maybe it would try a more graphic novel style like a Sin City or Watchmen? Whatever they do, they'll have to be good to follow Christopher Nolan, but here are some fun thoughts regarding a future Batman film.
Who Might Direct A New Batman Film?
- Zack Synder - He has done graphic novel style movies in abundance, and he already is signed on for Batman vs. Superman. Why not take the franchise into a 'Sin City' style and see if that differentiates it?
- David Fincher - He's crafted intelligent and dark serial killer films like Seven and The Girl WIth The Dragon Tattoo. How about a much darker, R-rated Batman with modern mystery elements?
- Michael Mann - What about a horrific, all action, big budget and CGI gadgets in abundance. It would probably suck on story line but the Bat Mobile might look pretty sweet.
- Clint Eastwood - What about a really old Batman, directed (and played!) by Clint Eastwood who is forced to return to Gotham after the death of an old friend (Commissioner Gordon?)
Who Might Play Batman?
- Ben Affleck - He is already signed on. If it works out, maybe he will decide he wants to keep the train moving.
- Joseph Gordon Levitt - You know the reason.
- Ryan Gosling - Who else can do the suave of Bruce Wayne but the toughness of Batman. He could bring a new sense of style to the role.
- Clint Eastwood - See above! An older, weathered Batman.
- Leonardo DiCaprio - He's done epic characters in abundance and he can be a real snob if he wants to. A tougher to love Bruce Wayne.
How About Potential New Batman Villains?
- Harley Quinn - Not touched by the movies yet, but a huge part of the comics and the video games, she could be modernized quite easily and played by a young up and coming actress who wants a chance to be daring.
- Hush - a vicious villain who has a history not that different from Batman's who's nature fits perfectly into a modern and realistic cinema setting.
- Dr. Hurt - Another villain which fantastic, deep character potential as he has often claimed to be Bruce Wayne's father. If they want to get more supernatural, many have compared him to the devil himself.
- Hugo Strange - Another one from the video games, this sick psychiatrist would be an easy one to create on the big screen.
Villains And Who Might Play Them?
Daneil Day Lewis