No. No, you cannot reboot the Batman film franchise again. The Dark Knight Rises hasn’t even been released and as we all know, Warner Brothers has been talking since March about how to keep squeezing money out of the Caped Crusader, with a tentative release date for the next next Batman movie being 2015.
But there are ways that a Batman movie, sans Bale as the caped crusader and with Nolan as producer rather than director, could be released in 2015.
This is how: Bruce Wayne will not be Batman. This could open it up to possibilities including a) Dick Grayson, the original Robin who took on the Batman mantle in the comics (before the comics were all rebooted), or b) Jean-Paul Valley, the man who became Batman after Bane broke Bruce Wayne’s back. 0r c) One of the members of Batman Incorporated, which is the new Batman franchise created by Bruce Wayne. Really, that’s a comic book series, written by Grant Morrison.
Why take it in this direction? It’s the one way that the mood and theme of the Nolan films could be preserved – the only other option seems to go in a completely different direction with it, reverting toward the confusion and pseudo-dark hokey nonsense of the Tim Burton Batmans, or the gloss and pop of the Joel Schumacher Batmans. Or even the shameless humor of the 1960s TV series and movie.
No, they shouldn’t do any of that. And they shouldn’t take this cop-out approach that Marvel has taken, stating “You know what? Who cares. We’re just gonna keep making Spiderman movies.” There is also a key difference between this and the Spiderman situation. The Tobey Maguire Spiderman trilogy was the first time Spiderman had been adapted to the big screen – unlike the Nolan Batman films, which are the quintessential comic book reboot. You don’t reboot a reboot unless it’s a failure, as in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which serves not only as a reboot but as a way to try to erase humanity’s memory of when Tim Burton and Mark Wahlberg got their hands on that franchise.
There is a strong likelihood that the next Dark Knight film will end with a broken bat. Whether he is physically or mentally defeated, if Batman is exposed as Bruce Wayne, or if he is actually killed (doubtful, but possible), it seems that there is a good possibility that there will be no more Batman at the end of this trilogy. (Sidenote: I am avoiding 90% of the spoilers being leaked regarding The Dark Knight Rises, mostly because I don’t need to see blurry photos that someone thinks might be of Tom Hardy punching Batman. I’m trying to enjoy the film by minimizing what I know about the actual plot of it. That said, I am counting down the days.)
No more Batman, or no more Bruce Wayne? While not everyone knows the names Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Timothy Drake, everyone knows Robin. However, Robin hasn’t done very well in cinema. But DC really could have their cake and eat it too were they to make this 2015 Batman film as an extension of Nolan’s Dark Knight films, under the premise that the character who became Robin in the comics (who will not appear in the Nolan films) will be the replacement for Bruce Wayne in the films.
Because really: no one can top Bale’s performance as Bruce Wayne. But Batman… yeah, you probably can top that. After all, many people do take issue with the gruff Batman voice. Would it be totally awful if they decided to cast Jason Biggs or James Franco or the guy from Twilight as Bruce Wayne in the 2015 reboot? Yes, yes it would. But some up-and-coming actor as Dick Grayson (original Robin) as Batman? Well, we might be able to live with that at least. I also don’t have any idea what Joseph Gordon-Levitt is doing in The Dark Knight Rises, but perhaps his character could be the next Dark Knight. The idea of him playing a character similar to Nightwing (who the original Robin was before becoming Batman) in a future Batman film is not out of the question.
I suppose one argument against this would be that, if they fail to do a good job, it could tarnish the Nolan/Bale films by setting a sub-par story in the same universe as the The Dark Knight. But with Nolan as producer and a quality story and directors, they might be able to make it happen. And really, any bad Batman movie after Nolan’s run is done will, to some extent, tarnish what Nolan and Bale have done.
It would also be very easy to tie this option into the supposed Justice League movie.
As long as Man-Bat isn’t in it.
And of course, this all gets endlessly complicated when you consider that Batman comics themselves are being rebooted by DC.