Where Does Batman Go from Here? Five Possible Scenarios

We’ve just witnessed the end of the Nolan Batman era, and it couldn’t be more clear that he’s decided to leave the universe behind him. Both he and Bale have said that this is absolutely their last Batman project, and that begs the question. Where does Batman go from here?

The character will undoubtedly live on in some form or another, but when’s the next time we’ll actually see him onscreen? In this post I run down five options of how he might return. Spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises follow.

A Joseph Gordon-Levitt Robin Spin-off

Here’s an idea that may sound good to some in theory, but in practice I bet it would go terribly. Bale and Nolan have said they’re gone, but there’s theoretically nothing to stop Warner Bros. from crafting a new film around their newly minted hero, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Robin. Or Nightwing. Or Batman II. Or whoever he was supposed to be.

The film would likely feature another Bat-villain we haven’t seen in the last three films (Penguin, Riddler, Freeze, etc.) and might have a cameo from someone in a Batman suit doing his best Christian Bale impression. With the mask and some digital editing, nearly anyone could do that voice decently well.

I hope this wouldn’t happen, as expanding on Nolan’s universe without Nolan would be awful. I think as a friend of Nolan’s, Gordon-Levitt wouldn’t agree to such a project, but the lure of a starring role in a huge franchise could be a powerful draw.

The Justice League

Someday, this film will get made once DC gets their shit together, and it may end up being the next time we get to see Batman onscreen.

But obviously, this will not be Nolan’s Batman. He simply cannot exist in a universe full of aliens, magic and other craziness, so it would likely be an entire new Batman and Bruce alongside other heroes from the DC universe.

I think if they recasted every role from scratch, this film would be better than if they tried to cobble together the events of very disparate films like Man of Steel, The Dark Knight and (blegh) Green Lantern. Starting from scratch is counter to The Avengers theory, but do they really want to have to reboot three or four series in order to get all their heroes on the same page ahead of a joint venture? They’ve already blown that chance, unless they do it a decade from now.

“The Amazing Batman” Reboot

Following in the vein of “The Amazing Spider-Man” which rebooted that franchise just a few years after it ended, we could simply have a straight up do-over of Batman’s origin story with a new cast, crew and plot.

This, of course, would be a terrible idea that would upset fans greatly, as there is simply no way it could be better than Nolan’s vision, even if Batman Begins is now the “worst” film of the trilogy (yes, yes, I know many of you disagree).

Simply put, we don’t need to immediately wipe the chalkboard and start drawing from scratch again. Though sadly, this is probably the most likely option of all as Hollywood won’t want Batman to stop making money for them.

A Golden/Silver Age Revamp

I got this idea from Rockstar’s newly announced sequel to Arkham City, which will be a Silver Age era Batman game taking place in the past.

It’s kind of a cool idea, and would definitely mean a new direction for the hero and a look at Batman we haven’t seen for decades now. I think out of all the ideas mentioned so far, fans would have the least amount of problems with this one, even if it did mean a new director and star.

Which would be better, Golden or Silver Age? I don’t know enough about the comics to know all the difference, so I’ll leave that to you to debate.

We Let Him Rest in Peace

Here’s a novel idea, we give the Batman a break. He’s given us almost a decade of great films now, and lives on through games and TV shows and comics. Why do we need him to rush back into theaters?

I’d be perfectly content if we went ten years without another Batman feature. This trilogy was simply so good that it deserves to bask in its own glow for a long, long time. Any feature that tries to bring Batman back will have a 98% chance to pale in comparison to Nolan’s film, no matter who is making them.

The Batman is tired. Let him rest awhile.


Fans band together on Kickstarter and raise $500M to force Nolan and Bale to come back for a fourth film.  If Nolan is motivated the same way Michael Bay is (by obscene amounts of money), it will work.

  • Trev


  • George

    Honestly, I’d love to see them use JGL and the new Man of Steel movie to launch some Justice League stuff.

  • Sam

    Hahaha @ option six. I get the impression Nolan could be homeless and still don’t his for a living, he seems to love making movies that much. Same with Bale. Neither one of them is in it for the money.
    I would love to see an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns and how about we get Michael Keaton to come back as Batman. I, and quite a few others, still think he’s the best batman yet. And that story is really good.

  • Oz

    Or DC could build up to a JLA movie without a new Batman film and they could throw him in there at the beginning of the movie. He’s so well established as a character now that I don’t think many people would really care so long as he was cast right.

  • Matt

    How about something with a Sin City feel to it. Doesn’t have to have the same visuals, but something that’s closer to the Animated series feel. Full comic, where villans like the croc can live. Tell different stories, and not have it be totally about Batman. But the city he exists in and the Villans. Almost like the episode of the Animated Series where all the villans are sitting around a poker table telling a story. Again like a nasty Sin City feel to it, a bit more out there/fantastical and grimy. Let’s say part Sin City, park Animated Series, and part Arkham Asylum/City. Still thinking live action, but stick with that kind of feel but with the Sin City noir and neck braking. Batman can be brutal. I’d also like to see maybe some Brave & Bold Batman in there too, can’t forget he is the worlds greatest detective. I’d like at least one movie with like that. Who say’s they can’t have a Justice League one and then one like this. Or maybe it could tie into JL universe too, especially if you make it more fantastical than the Nolanverse. I think that batman can fit. Might have to tone down the neck breaking a little bit. But, that doesn’t mean some still can’t be in there. Just as long as we stay far away from any origins story.

  • My boyfriend is a big Batman fan and he thinks they should do a (Frank Miller) The Dark Knight Returns movie.. He’d be older and in kind of more future.. but could be a good way to continue the series.

  • jediguy

    Batman Beyond trilogy might work pretty well.

  • greg

    why why cant nolans batman show up in a justice league film
    the films are not that realistic and the tone can easily be carried into a justice league film. Look at batman the animated series and how that was incorporated into the justice league cartoon

    you sir have no imagination

  • Warren

    Whether or not we see another Batman movie in the next few years may have more to do with money than it does integrity. From what I have heard the reason there was a new Spider-Man movie so soon after the others is because Sony had to do something with the property or it would revert back to Marvel who now have their own film studio. DC and Warner Brothers seem to have a pretty good working relationship so I’m not sure that losing the license back to DC matters as much as it does to Sony but if DC ever gets it in their head to make their own movies the license would be theirs if there isn’t another movie featuring Batman in some form in the next three to four years.

    @Mandy – The Dark Night Returns would make a pretty decent movie and the portrayal of the old grizzled Batman would be pretty cool but it would be really difficult to pull off.

  • XenoIrish

    The Dark Knight Returns is currently being made into an animated direct to DVD 2 part movie.

    I think they should use Micheal Keaton as an old Bruce Wayne in a Batman Beyond capacity and use that for the Justice League.

    But they will most likely recast and continue from here, like the ill fated Schumacher films continued from the Burton.

  • Iain

    They are making a Justice League film due for release in 2014, with a new Batman, a new Wonder Woman and possibly Man of Steel’s Superman (depending on which article your read) as the main characters. Also there’s rumours of the Green Lantern, either a reboot or a continuation of the current film.

  • AOD

    Everything I’ve read has indicated that there will be a reboot and even Nolan and Bale have supported the idea of a reboot in the past few days.

  • Austin

    Rumors (I don’t know if any are confirmed/supported) are floating around that Man of Steel is the beginning of the “DC Cinematic Universe” and that Batman is going to get rebooted with a movie about the New 52 “Court of the Owls” storyline which will lead into the Justice League movie that will be followed by Woinder Woman, Flash, and Aquaman movies.

  • Six04Tensai

    Just a note – you wrote Rockstar instead of Rocksteady in the Silver Age revamp paragraph.

  • Nick

    Gotta throw my vote in for Batman of the Future (Batman Beyond).

  • Cornelius

    I don’t see how they can actually continue the Nolan’s vision of Batman’s world. With an upcoming Justice League movie Batman will be thrust into a world of super heroes with possibly supernatural powers. That is something that has not been a part of Nolan’s world so far and it would seem odd to run the two worlds side by side.

    I’d say it’s certainly time for a Frank Miller’s Dark Knight movie. That’s the film I have been waiting for since I was a kid. Maybe people weren’t ready for it in the 80’s when they made those horrible Batman movies. But after 300 and Sin City Frank Miller is actually a sort of bankable name. Other than a reboot it would be the only logical choice.

  • Wolftech

    The Dark Knight Returns with Keaton again donning the cowl (Nolan can still direct), a young female Robin(maybe Elle Fanning), Dean Cain as aged Superman, and Mel Gibson as the crazed, one-arm Green Arrow. Oh, and Jack Nickleson returns as the Joker 🙂

  • Don

    Here’s another scenario I’ve been thinking about when they showed the Superman trailer. They continue the universe that Nolan-Bale established in their movies but when Superman starts to get active, then the real supervillains start appearing.

    This all happens AFTER the events of The Dark Knight Rises. I want the Man of Steel to happen a couple of years after the end of TDKR but be still set in that universe having that sense of realism. This goes with the theme that the Superman teaser was going for “Is the world ready for Superman?” Are we ready for a phenomenon like Superman when in the past, we were just used to the idea of a superhero having advanced gadgetry but was still human.

    Then DC starts introducing/re-introducing (Green Lantern) the other heroes after the Man of Steel establishes that superpowered people exists.

  • jerry

    @paul , Bale said he would be down for another Batman film if Nolan was at the helm.

  • @Greg

    The main reason why they can’t use Nolan’s Batman in a Justice League movie is that Nolan’s movies are quite violent and adult in style and would need to keep that style in order to be recognisable as the same universe (and with Christian Bale most likely not coming back, changing the style too might as well be a reboot).

    The motivating factor for producing a Justice League movie is the large amounts of cash and popularity generated by the Avengers Assemble movie. Part of the reason for the widespread appeal and high box office was that both adults and younger viewers could go to see it together. The reason for making a reboot is to set up a series of movies suitable for families.

    I wonder, however, whether we couldn’t have two series of Batman franchises running concurrently? The Nolan-style one would be popular because of the massive existing fan-base. The new rebooted one could become popular as a separate entity because of its connection to a series of other movies leading to a Justice League film. The comics have had different series appealing to different audiences, so why not the movies too?

  • troika1138

    They could do a Red Hood movie. Alot of people suffered during the occupation of Gotham, so one of them might decide to become a more violent/murdering vigiante. And this leads to Levitt becoming Batman in order to stop the red hood or Bale takes on the ole of Batman and Levitt is robin.

  • Blake Shrapnel

    Don’t forget the “Diamonds Are Forever” option. Reboot comes out and is so increadably shitty that Warner Brothers hauls out the money bulldozer and press-gangs Nolan and Bale into another film.

  • slashmastah

    I am just drooling over the thought of a LA Batman Beyond movie..

  • ero0senin

    Nolan is going to make the rest of the dc movies he is doing man of steel if you didn’t notice at the end of the trailer dc is finally getting there shit together

  • I always wanted to see a Batman Beyond movie with Clint Eastwood as Bruce Wayne – Clint could go all Grand Turino, “Get off my lawn!” with it, whack people with a cane… it’d be great!

  • HarleyQuinnsRevenge

    What about option 7? Finally do an animated feature film of Killing Joke?

    Mark Hammill has already said he would gladly reprise his role as the Joker for it.

    That way, nobody needs to reboot, and the fans get what they’ve been wanting since long before Nolan even came along.

  • Tapek

    Arkham Asylum\City as a real life action movie would blow my mind, semi-realistic but lots of unrealistic comicy goodness that makes all the villains fair game and makes it blend well with the other franchises. BAM Problem solved, I will take my comicly large cheque now.

  • Drek

    These last 2 bat films had plots filled with more holes than the poor OCP exec who was selected as the ED-209 arrest subject. Why do people blindly continue to heap worship upon a pair of films so blatantly flawed that they border on unwatchable?

  • alphaomega5


  • #ToriJuarez

    Here’s how I would use what Nolan left us first off JGL would be batman he would blend the batman begins suit with TDK suit he would start off with a cameo in man of steel something subtle he would continue on to justice league at the start and eventually die the news of his death would reach Bruce Wayne and that’s what would drive him to don the cowl once more which leads to conflicts with superman who disapproves of Bruce’s rash behavior and batman would quit the justice league leading into the batman it’s a great way to keep those actors and likely something Nolan could do?