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.
SURPRISE OPTION SIX
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.