Who Should Play Batman After The Dark Knight Rises?

Christian Bale has already said he is retiring the cowl after next summer's movie, leaving a huge vacancy needing to be filled at Wayne Manor...

As it's a slow news day this Friday and as there has been almost nothing new to report on The Dark Knight Rises for the past several weeks, we thought we would revive an old interesting debate (and you have to say problem for Warner Bros this summer) when Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale leave the Batman franchise for good. We will talk about the intimidating shoes of Christopher Nolan that some filmmaker out there has to try and fill when the Batman franchise is inevitably rebooted or re-imagined next time out on a later date... but which actor out there do you think is the perfect match for the next Bruce Wayne? Read What Culture writer Trevor Gentry-Birnbaum's article from late last year and debate below; After The Dark Knight Rises is unleashed on our screens next July, Christopher Nolan will step down as director and Christian Bale will be giving up the cowl and at least for the time being (probably forever... but you can never say never for sure) they are done with the Batman franchise. Knowing they won't be tempted to make a fourth film anytime soon, Warner Bros. has expressed interest in rebooting the franchise with a series of films they hope they can convince Nolan to produce, but we have to wonder why all of these reboots are so necessary? Spider-Man, X-Men... we are looking at you! James Bond has been played by multiple actors over the years, each one continuing the story in a sort of flexible continuity which could be improved upon by simply doing it in The Bourne Legacy fashion. Cast a new actor (though keep the character Bruce Wayne in this case) and wherever Nolan leaves Wayne at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, pick-up from there. There's plenty of villains in the Batman canon to cause a threat to Gotham and plenty of characters they have used already (and not killed off) that could return for sequels. Just because there€™s a new creative team and cast doesn€™t mean that everything that€™s come before needs to be thrown out. Nolan has said that he intends to bring Bruce Wayne€™s story to a close in this last installment, so perhaps there won€™t be anything left to continue... but we would be surprised if he gave our Caped Crusader such a definite ending. However, whether the next Batman film is a hard reboot or a softer relaunch, one thing is for certain: there will be another Batman movie sooner than later. There€™s no way Warner Bros. will want the lucrative Bat-franchise collecting dust for too long. When they do start working on the next movie, two of the most important questions will be: who will be directing (we will cover that later) and who is playing the new Batman? The more dependable and recognizable action movie stars are all either balding or dead and while there are some younger, up and coming action heroes, they don€™t have a substantial track record of hit movies. They might choose to go with an unknown, but if they decide to dip into the well of Hollywood, here are some of the names we think would fit if they decide to carry on Nolan's story...

Michael Fassbender

Pros: In the last two years, Michael Fassbender has thrusted himself into the mainstream with his British Nazi spy in Inglourious Basterds and his tortured turn as Magneto X-Men: First Class, showcasing his considerable acting talent that we all knew was present from his earlier, lesser seen works of Eden Lake and Hunger. As Magneto particularly, we saw him go from a vengeful and angry young man to a calculating, controlled leader; he expressed darkness, but his fierce dedication related to a childhood trauma. Sound familiar? He is a credible leading man and has the inner depth and darkness to portray Batman and the charm to pull off Bruce Wayne. Cons: He may be threatening, but he€™s not very tough. He definitely has the acting chops, but it might be hard to accept him pulverizing street thugs ten at a time without the aid of magnetic powers. Maybe he would have to go through a training regime just like Batman to get to the physical shape required. Plus, as we normally have a rule of one comic book character per actor, it would be tough to see him as Magneto and Batman in two ongoing franchises.

Trevor Gentry-Birnbaum spends most of his time sitting around and thinking about things that don't matter.