With the end of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy near, there is no shame in admitting that all over the world Bat-fans are starting to feel the sadness. We all know that we could not have asked for a better team to bring our Batman dreams to life on the big screen. As this chapter of Batman’s cinematic legacy comes to a close in this summer’s Dark Knight Rises, the film will also be the first step towards what the next generation of films will bring to the table. As sad as I am to know that the Nolan Bat-Universe is wrapping up forever, I am also incredibly excited for the next era of Batman on film to begin.
What could the next Bat-films bring along with them? The two most obvious answers are a fresh director and a new actor as Batman. I would love to see a new director’s take on Batman the way different writers and creators mold the character in comics, tv, and animation. The character of Batman and his supporting cast of characters are some of the most versatile in the history of entertainment and can always benefit from new ideas and takes on them. On the subject of the actor that will play the next Batman, I feel that my own preference so far has been Christian Bale under the cowl. However honorable mention must be given to the voice acting of Kevin Conroy as the go-to animated incarnation of the character. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Batman in the vein of a more experienced calm, cool, and collected vigilante.
Other areas that I think many fans can get behind is the inclusion of certain classic characters who would never work in Nolan’s world. While I love the way Batman exists in the real world as my preference, I still sometimes wish to see other characters from the comics. Most importantly is the character of Robin. Now many believe that Robin still could show up in Rises, I highly doubt it. If and when a new team tackles the Bat, I would finally like to see justice done to arguably one of the most important characters in the myths since 1940. Perhaps as part of a trilogy, we could see the evolution of Dick Grayson done in a realistic way as he loses his parents, becomes Batman’s sidekick, and eventually outgrows the job and goes off on his own as Nightwing. I’m not really talking about a full on Dick Grayson trilogy that casts the Bat as a side character or anything, in fact I finally want to see on screen how Batman deals with a partner and as a sort of father to Dick. Also it allows for the other Robin’s like Jason Todd and Tim Drake to step in as needed to replace one another. Seeing the Joker kill the second Robin in a live action film has always been a dream of mine since I read the classic comic “A Death in the Family.” Seeing Batman deal with the emotions of that scenario would be incredible as well.
Speaking of the Joker, it is very exciting that inevitably a new actor will take on Heath Ledger’s brilliant turn as the character. Once again, Ledger’s performance sits in my brain as definitive, but as with Batman, the Joker will never be truly gone. Having the Joker back as a character that can torment Batman throughout multiple films was always what Nolan envisioned as is evidenced by Ledger’s contract to be in Rises. His untimely death of course made the creative team switch gears but even they understood before his passing that the character was vital enough to make numerous appearances. I don’t think I will ever not be excited to see a new vision of the Joker in any medium.
Finally, I feel that while myself and many others prefer a realistic take on Batman, at times Nolan’s films were truly held back by the rules of the real world. These rules clearly limited the use of many of Batman’s major adversaries from the comics. While I think that these villains should still be created to appear fairly realistic, like in the Arkham Asylum video games, I would still love to see The Riddler, The Penguin, Mr. Freeze,and perhaps even Superman barring the results of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel film. For the Riddler think the Zodiac Killer. Mr. Freeze’s backstory was the only thing done right by the horrid Batman and Robin as it was based on Paul Dini’s perfect Heart of Ice episode of Batman: The Animated Series so this can remain just without the camp and idiocy of Arnold Schwarzenegger or poor writing. The Penguin should be a mob boss not a mutant, and who wouldn’t want to see Batman kick the snot out of Superman on film? Also on the topic of villains I wouldn’t mind some newly invented ones similar to how Grant Morrison created Professor Pyg from scratch and it worked perfectly.
I’m sure everyone who is a fan (myself included) of Batman, Nolan, Bale, and co. are not ready to say goodbye just yet. However as we sit in the theater on July 20th, we all must remember that when one Bat-door closes, another will no doubt someday open. And sometimes that can be the best part.