After Christopher Nolan’s epic conclusion to his Batman saga with “The Dark Knight Rises” there have been much speculation as to what exactly D.C. and Warner Bros. will do with the franchise next. If WB is smart they will stay away from trying to expand on what Nolan has done (fingers crossed), but there are still lots of great stories from across all media that can be used to start a new saga or a new take on the Caped Crusader. Here are the top 5 ones that I’ve chosen. I tried to choose stories that didn’t rely too much on characters that have already been used in Nolan’s trilogy.
In no particular order…
The Dark Knight Returns
A classic Batman story that put the Dark back in the Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne has been retired as Batman for ten years. In that time Gotham has fallen into a serious state of decline. A violent street gang all but runs the streets, Gotham’s Top Cop Jim Gordon is retiring and Batman himself has become nothing more than an urban myth, well at least to Gotham. To Bruce he’s a caged beast and with all of the wanton violence and now the possible resurgence of Two-Face, the beast is about to break lose. This would be a great film to see, but Nolan already used some ideas from it AND Warner Bros. is releasing an animated version in two parts. So doubtful it will happen but I can dream.
An old crotchety Bruce Wayne hasn’t worn the Batsuit in over a decade, after having to resort to using a criminal’s own gun to scare him away after suffering a heart attack and getting beaten within an inch of his life. Bruce is spurred to action, or at least to mentor a young man, Terry McGinnis, who steals the new batsuit to find his father’s killers. Bruce and Terry form an unlikely partnership and together make a new, more powerful Batman with Bruce being the experience and Terry being the young agent in the field. Many references were made to “Batman: The Animated Series” and this would be a great place for them to do a similar thing with Nolan’s films, and yet be so far removed that the references wouldn’t be necessary.
Now that I’m passed stories with an old Bruce Wayne let’s move on to some bigger stories…
Batman has had a questionable time in video games, until Rocksteady blew us away with Arkham Asylum. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum and he and other criminals are running rampant, with Commissioner Gordon having been taken hostage as well. Things look bleak for Batman, but with help from Oracle over the Batcomputer, and an array of gadgets he is able to overcome his adversaries and stop Joker’s master plan. Not confident to sit on their laurels, Rocksteady knocked another one out the park with the sequel Arkham City. A bigger, bolder game kept fans happy and gave us some new thrills. Both stories together would make 2-3 amazing films with most of Batman’s rogues gallery making an appearance. Some story changes would have to be made to omit some characters maybe but for the most part the games themselves presented a very cinematic version of Batman’s world.
Another story that features a who’s who of Batman’s Rogues. Who is Hush? That’s the question when a string of what seems to be random crimes involving Batman’s adversaries baffle the Dark Knight Detective. Having to call on friends and family alike he is pushed to his limit trying to solve the mystery of this newest villain while all the while dealing with his other more familiar foes. Hush was instrumental in blazing the path of Jason Todd’s return, before he actually returned, as well as being Jim Lee’s first time drawing a DC property. The story itself would make a good two part film. Again some changes would have to be made like with the Jason Todd thing but it could work on screen.
Night of Owls
This is a recent storyline, coming right out of the opening chapters of Batman in DC’s New 52 DCnU. The story revolves around a secret society, the Court of Owls, who have had their hands in every important moment in Gotham history for centuries. But recently this Batman has interfered in the Court’s plans too often and now they are letting their assassins, known as Talons, loose upon the city to not only kill Batman but finish the plans that he’s stopped. Having to use his detective skills to find out the history of the court, and their plans, Batman has to not only save himself from foes that are every bit as lethal as he is but without the remorse, but also to save his city and some of its most influential citizens. The comic has Batman relying on the Batfamily and some other allies to help cover the Gothamites, but a film could substitute them for cops or something to that effect.
There you have it. Five ways D.C. and Warner Bros. can reboot or continue the Batman movie franchise post-Nolan. What are some of your suggestions?