When it comes to DC Comics, two characters stand front and centre whenever there’s a new event attempting to redefine the core of the DC multiverse: Superman and Batman. Two of the most iconic heroes ever written might sound relatively simple to bring to live-action, and yet, there are some challenges bringing someone like them to the big screen. Now that the DC Universe is going through a complete overhaul thanks to James Gunn, fans have begun to wonder what will happen to the Dark Knight. The previous Batman (in the DCEU) wasn’t so lucky: Ben Affleck never got his solo film. Will the new and improved Batman DCU fare better than Batfleck? I guess that’s the question on every Batman fan’s head right now.
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One of the first questions we should ask is if there’s even going to be a James Gunn Batman DCU film. Depending on the kind of story that the Guardians of the Galaxy director might want to tell, we might be looking at yet another Batman DCU relegated to appearing only in crossover films.
Still, some other challenges make Batman DCU one of the most complicated characters in the new era of DC films. For starters, even if there is a James Gunn Batman DCU film, it would have to compete with the absolute masterpiece that is Matt Reeves’ take on the character.
Batman DCU would be a whole new character, for all we know. That means that whoever James Gunn picks for the new Dark Knight would be competing against Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves for the public’s attention, and that’s easier said than done. What Reeves did with the character is, without a doubt, amazing; it would be quite a challenge for the James Gunn Batman DCU pick to bring the energy of the Reeves Batman to the larger DCU.
However, all those problems pale in comparison with what to expect from fans. Some of the more die-hard DC fans were expecting a proper “Batfleck” film for ages, but the project never came to fruition. In the end, we got one of the best Bruce Wayne’s we’ve ever had with Affleck, even if he never got a chance to shine in his own solo project.
Fans of Affleck will no doubt want to keep a close eye on his Batman DCU replacement, especially if he ends up getting a solo movie. That last part is highly unlikely, however. Considering the success of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, it makes little sense – from a marketing standpoint – to even consider a James Gunn Batman DCU film. If anything, he might end up being like Iron Man after Iron Man 3: still getting character development, but only in crossover films.
Besides the Caped Crusader, the new Batman DCU projects will also have to deal with the new universe that the characters are in – and how it isn’t that new at all, all things considered. One piece of interesting news that came out of the James Gunn takeover is that members of the Suicide Squad would remain intact, which means that The Suicide Squad might be one of the few DC films to remain canon.
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That poses a question, however, as we’d have to consider that the canon status of the first Suicide Squad film is often a point of contention between DC fans. If we were to consider the first Suicide Squad film as canon, that would mean that the new Batman DCU would be living in the same universe as Ben Affleck’s Batman.
Even if the first Suicide Squad film isn’t canon, we’d still want to see an explanation as to why Batman wasn’t as present in the narrative of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. If we’re to believe that Batman DCU is responsible for apprehending Harley Quinn previous to the events in the film, we’d need some great explanation as to why he wasn’t even a factor in the movie.
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From a narrative point of view, Batman DCU would be one of the most divisive characters in the new DC continuity. Depending on his approach, the James Gunn Batman film could make or break the tone of the new DCU. While Gunn is known for his comedic writing and directing, those are qualities that hardly describe what Batman DCU should be, which is why the project would most likely be handled by another director or creative team altogether.
This also creates another problem for the new Dark Knight: if they’re going to choose another director for a Batman DCU film, why not just introduce Matt Reeves’ Batman to the larger DCU and be done with it? The reason is more or less the same as we discussed previously: it just doesn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the DCU.
As concerning as it might sound for some long-time DC fans, the tone of The Suicide Squad is more or less what we can expect from the James Gunn Batman DCU approach. It might seem unlikely, considering the differences between, say, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War, but, once you look past the differences, you’ll notice just how similar these films are.
I sincerely doubt the new Batman DCU will be the kind to just drop jokes and references à la Taika Waititi, but he might be a bit more tongue-in-cheek than what we saw from Ben Affleck, that much is probably true.
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Still, many uncertainties remain regarding what Batman DCU will be like and just how involved James Gunn will be with the project. One thing is for sure, though: they have to make it Batman right if they hope their new connected universe has any chance of competing against Marvel.
Now that the MCU is going through an intense and controversial process of rebuilding and introducing new characters, it would be the perfect chance for DC to introduce some exciting new takes on its classic characters. After all, non-comics fans would be more familiar with Batman than they are with Ironheart, right?
Bringing Batman DCU to a new generation of fans again – the third time in less than a decade – sounds like a tall order for anyone, but if James Gunn managed to bring a team of heroes as obscure as the Guardians of the Galaxy to the massive mainstream popularity they have today, then I’m quite sure that the new James Gunn Batman DCU project will certainly meet the expectations of the fans of the Dark Knight.
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Who do you think should be Batman in the DCU?