When the casting was first announced back in 2013, shortly following the announcement that Batman would be joining Superman in the Man of Steel sequel, most fans were not all too happy with the choice of Ben Affleck as the new Caped Crusader. Affleck is not the most conventional actor to portray such a character that demands a presence on-screen, but after seeing what Zack Snyder has done so far with his iteration in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, many have warmed to the idea, or are at least waiting till we get a trailer for the final verdict.
Once Affleck gets introduced as the new Batman in Batman v Superman, in which he plays a major role as the co-lead, he will begin to make further appearances as the character, namely Justice League: Part 1 and Part 2. The release dates for those films have already been announced(see my post about the full DC release slate), but what has not yet been announced is any sort of Batman solo film, which will take place within the same universe of course.
We know one is coming, it’s inevitable, and Affleck has already been suggested by many as the top choice to take on the directing gig for the film as well. Considering his style and the types of films he has done before, I have compiled a list of the top five Batman stories that could be adapted for this reboot, as well as reasons they could and could not work:
The Dark Knight Returns
What it’s about: After years of retirement, an older Bruce Wayne once again dons the Batsuit to take on many of his greatest foes, along with some new ones as well. Some of the villains that challenge the Gotham Knight include Harvey Dent, the Joker, and even Superman. Also within the book is a new Robin, named Carrie Kelley, who has since become one of the most popular characters to take on the title.
Why it could work: At Comic-Con in 2013, where Batman v Superman was officially announced, the first insight we got into the character was a line from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. And all the set images, various plot details, rumors, and the like have all made it seem like this Batman is almost directly taken from the panels of The Dark Knight Returns. While that may not be the case, we know Snyder will be taking a lot of inspiration from Miller’s work.
Why it might not work: The one problem with adapting this storyline for the upcoming reboot is the fact that a good portion of it will have already been in Batman v Superman, meaning they would either have to cut a lot out or just ignore some important plot points altogether. However, that doesn’t prevent them from using certain elements, like the Joker plotline and the rest of the supporting characters, like Gordon and Dent.
The Court of Owls
What it’s about: Batman is faced with the perils of a recently emerged secret society called the Court of Owls. In the society are master assassins who attempt to take down the Dark Knight, and are not successful at doing so but do manage to kill his young ward as well as his son, Damian Wayne. Like most comic characters that die, however, Damian returns from the dead, although is a bit changed by his experiences.
Why it could work: In general, the DC Movie Universe, as it has been referred to, is taking a lot from the pages of the New 52. That includes the Justice League roster, some character elements for both Superman and Batman, and even one of the villains soon to emerge, Darkseid. Plus, we have yet to see Robin be used effectively in a Batman movie, and this could be the perfect opportunity to do so.
Why it might not work: As I said earlier, the Batman in the DCEU is older, grittier, and much more hardened than the one in this. That’s not saying this one is soft by any means, but they’re two vastly different iterations of the same character. Some changes would have to be made to the original storyline in order for it to fit in with the rest of the movies.
What it’s about: Odyssey is quite literally one of the most irreverent comic book storylines of all time, in a good way. Batman recounts his story of travelling to a world under our own, where beings thought to be extinct, like dinosaurs, cavemen, and even old gadgets, have been forced to retreat. Batman is led down there by Dusan al Ghul, son of Ra’s al Ghul, and has to assemble an army, including a caveman version of Batman as well as a Robin that’s an evolved form of a dinosaur if that makes any sense, and confront the mad villain head-on.
Why it could work: If DC was really looking to separate itself from Marvel and create edgier movies, this would be the perfect way to. For those who haven’t read Adams’ bizarre tale, it might not make much sense, and for those who have, it might not make much sense either, but with a few alterations and adjustments to fit the structure of a movie, it could work quite well.
Why it might not work: DC also made it clear they want their movies to be highly realistic, and this is not that. It would be a huge tonal shift from the rest of the movies, and a risk I don’t think they’re ready to take. Sadly, Odyssey might never see the light of day on-screen.
What it’s about: After his childhood friend Tommy Elliot supposedly dies, Batman is met with a new villain who goes by the name of Hush. Along the way, several other Batman mainstays, like Harley Quinn, Joker, Killer Croc, Superman, Poison Ivy, Huntress, and more, all show up. It’s one of my favorite Batman storylines of all time and a testament to how well Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee can portray the character, with beautiful art and a terrific story.
Why it could work: The characters of Joker and Harley Quinn will both have already been introduced in Suicide Squad, leaving them open to reprise the roles in a future Batman movie, such as this one. Plus, it’s questionable why they haven’t yet tried to adapt this for a movie yet. If anything, it would have served well as one of the DC animated movies, but alas, they haven’t yet attempted to being Hush to the screen.
Why it might not work: To put it simply, there are a heck of a lot of villains, heroes, and characters in the storyline. That might work very well for a comic book series that uses a serialized method of storytelling, but for a standalone film that can only be so long, the final product could very easily become overly convoluted.
What it’s about: No, Batman: Arkham is not originally based in the comics, but the video game series has become one of the most important modern takes on the character. In it, users can play as the Dark Knight, who is faced with being entrapped with Arkham Asylum prison and must find a way out, encountering several villains, like The Joker, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Two-Face, in his escape.
For the sequel game, Batman is once again placed in Arkham, although this time it has become a full-fledged city, with much of it being run by The Joker, who is up to his usual antics. However, this time around both he and Batman are injected with a deadly disease that could kill them both if the toxin for it is not found in time. Notably, it includes one of the most unexpected, shocking twists of all time, and it’s one you truly have to see to believe.
Why it could work: Like I said, it’s not only one of the best video game series, but one of the best Batman series in a long while. It takes all the best elements of the character, including his origins as a detective, and combines it into one lengthy but rewarding storyline. Obviously, the structure would need to be modified to fit the format of a movie, but with many of the villains already being introduced for the DCMU, it makes a whole lot of sense for this to be the story to get adapted.
Why it might not work: Similar to Hush, this too is crafted to fit its own specific medium, and because of that a lot would have to be changed. And with a series that is so protected by its fan, DC might struggle to find a balance between what made the video game good and what would make a good movie.
That about does it for this list. We should be hearing official word on the Batman solo film soon enough. I’ve heard that WB has big plans for Comic-Con this year, and that could includes announcements of Batman and Superman solo movies. With such huge hype built around these upcoming movies, they would be mistaken not to capitalize on it. Rumors have said it might be coming as soon as 2019, but make sure to check back here for when the date as well as any plot details are officially revealed.