The teaser trailer of The Dark Knight Rises (2012) has only been out for a week and the film itself won't be released for another year. But here I am looking ahead to what Batman movies are going to come next! To be fair Christopher Nolan has already announced that after The Dark Knight Rises his trilogy will be complete. Nolan will be finished with Batman and move forward with new projects. I love all of Nolan's films (still haven't seen Following and Insomnia though) and have really enjoyed his take on Batman. It is unclear as to what Nolan will do after his Batman trilogy, although he is supposed to help with the story of the Superman reboot, Man of Steel (2013). David Goyer, who wrote Blade, Dark City, and all of Nolan's Batman films is writing the screenplay for Man of Steel so I am certainly interested in that project, as well as whatever Nolan chooses to do next. However, what will happen to Batman movies after Nolan's departure from the franchise?
The first possibility is that we'll get a break from Batman movies for awhile. This wouldn't be a bad idea, but I doubt that Warner Brothers would want to leave money on the table when another Batman movie would make a lot at the box office, even though it wouldn't be done by Nolan. After Tim Burton left the Batman series he was immediately replaced by Joel Schumacher and that did not end well. Following the Schumacher debacle there was an eight year wait until Nolan's Batman Begins (2005) which turned out great. So although it might be a good idea to wait a few years before starting up a new Batman film series, I have a feeling that we won't have to wait too long since WB will want to capitalize on the Batman name, possibly in the form of a Justice League movie.
How should future Batman movies be handled in the aftermath of Nolan's trilogy? There were rumors which started before Nolan made Batman Begins that Darren Aronofsky would direct a film based on Frank Miller's graphic novel Batman: Year One. However, now that Batman Begins has been made, its similar story and tone would seem redundant. There is an upcoming animated film based on Batman: Year One which will be released later this year, so I don't know if that helps or hurts the chances of this project ever happening.
I think that if Batman movies are made soon after Nolan's films they need to go in a different direction. I would love to see a retro Batman movie that is set in 1939, the year the first Batman comic came out. This backdrop of the early days of WWII would be quite a contrast to the other Batman movies. Several recent comic book movies have been set in the past (Watchmen, X-Men: First Class, Captain America) so this would not be without precedent. Perhaps some lesser known villains then such as Dr. Hugo Strange could be used. Another idea could be to make a live action Batman Beyond movie. It's been awhile since I've seen that TV show but Batman set in the future with some new characters would certainly shake things up. Both of these ideas would obviously be in their own continuity so audiences wouldn't have to worry about the older films being messed with or having to watch previous movies to understand new ones.
After watching Captain America I wonder if a future Batman movie (regardless of tone or time period) could handle Robin like the way Bucky was used. A future Batman film could also be different by creating a villian or two that were not in the comics and made up only for the film. Harley Quinn was created for Batman: The Animated Series and she seems to have developed a following so I think this could work for a live action movie if the character is well-written and developed properly. Maybe even Harley Quinn could be in a Batman movie.
I am really looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises next summer. There will be much speculation in the next couple of years about post-Nolan Batman films and they will happen sooner or later. I just hope they turn out to be good movies!
I'll post the weekly round-up tomorrow.