OPINION: What's Best For Batman On Film? (Part 2 of 3) Posted by: Bill "Jett" Ramey (Follow @BATMANONFILM)
Date: February 19, 2017
In PART 1 of this op-ed, I pondered what was best for the cinematic future of Batman. Here are the scenarios I laid out in the latest BOF Bat-Poll:
1) Make THE BATMAN as planned with Ben Affleck.
2) Recast the lead role and make THE BATMAN as planned with a new actor.
3) Give the new director a clean slate and let him make Batman films without the baggage of the DCEU or continuity. Or…
4) Recast and make DCEU prequels featuring a younger, in-his-prime Batman.
Let’s save the first two options for part 3, and now take a look at the latter two scenarios, shall we? LET’S GO…
Recast & Make DCEU Prequels Featuring a Younger Batman
In BATMAN v SUPERMAN, we learned that this Batman had been Batmanning in Gotham for 20 years. Therefore, when it comes to doing Batman films set prior the events of BvS, the potential exists to tell many stories about the DCEU Batman when he was young and in his prime. And no, I’m not talking about another origin movie (How would you top BATMAN BEGINS anyway?) or the rehashing – AGAIN! – of the Wayne Murders.
Prequels would allow a director to tell a Batman story (or stories) as they see fit and without really having to deal with DCEU continuity/baggage. It also avoids a fourth reboot of the Batman film franchise in just over a decade.
Heck, it might even be interesting to see how and why a young and heroic Batman became a burned-out, alcoholic, womanizing, killer by his mid-40s.
Regarding the need to recast in this scenario, yes, Ben Affleck could definitely play a 30-something Batman – but for how long? He might work as a young Batman in the first prequel, but he might not be able to pull it off when he’s nearing 50.
And frankly, recasting and going with a younger Batman gives Ben Affleck an easy out if indeed he doesn’t want to play Batman any longer. Hell, he could even stay on as a producer and say, “We thought it would be interesting to see a young version of my Batman, so as a producer of the film, I thought it was best for me to step aside and recast”…or something like that – you know what I’m sayin’?
So, what about the rest of the DCEU? I’ve got two words for you: Soft Reboot.
Going forward, just make solo films with no interaction with other DC characters or mention of the events from other DC films. For more on this, check out the latest BOF PODCAST, where Rick Shew and I talked about this extensively.
Reboot/Recast & Give the New Director a Clean Slate
Well, this is how Warner Bros. ended up with Christopher Nolan and THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY and that worked out pretty good, didn’t it? Just sayin’.
Honestly, I think having the sort of creative freedom Nolan had initially with BATMAN BEGINS would be the most appealing scenario for a potential filmmaker. Maybe this should be the approach that Warner Bros. should be taking in their hunt for the next Bat-Director?
The only problem is that pesky DCEU. You know, the continuity of which was established by MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN v SUPERMAN, and – kind of – SUICIDE SQUAD. Which, of course, will continue on – for at least two more films – with WONDER WOMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE.
If you’re going to totally reboot Batman, you’d have to reboot the whole damn thing. I know that some folks are in favor of this, but I personally believe you’d be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Thus, the aforementioned “soft reboot” approach is a better option.
What do you all think? Post your thoughts and takes in the comments section below!