In a little over a year, people will be flocking to the theaters for one of the biggest theatrical events in movie history. The two biggest superheroes to have ever graced comics, are going to be featured in one movie: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now there are people who are taking things way out of proportion or listening to foolish rumors. People are complaining about Ben Affleck being Batman at all; so let me start off by saying that I love the idea of Ben Affleck playing Batman. I love the idea of having a more older, salty, crusty Batman who isn't morally conflicted by dealing out any amount of damage to the petty lowlifes or powerful villains.
But I'm not getting on here to discuss Ben Affleck's credentials, I'm not on here to talk about the massive cast rumors for Batman v Superman. I'm here to speculate. Yes. Speculate.
Recently we have had given the new DCCU movie line-up and if they're true, you'll notice Batman wasn't on the list and this list went all the way to the first half of 2020. Now, it just so happens that we are supposed to have a Batman film in there somewhere, it's just confirmed when.
But even if Batman returns to the big screen after Justice League, that's a long ways away, by then, actor Ben Affleck will be in his mid-to-late forties. Not saying that that age is "old" but it's not that sweet-spot age that superheroes typically try to fall under. But I don't think Affleck's age will be a problem, on the contrary, I believe it opens up the possibilities of Batman's future on film.
There are disadvantages to doing another Batman film and there are advantages to doing another Batman film. The disadvantage comes from Nolan's beloved depiction of the Dark Knight in his Dark Knight trilogy. Standards have been set, bars have been raised as far as who can play the Bat after the superb performance we received Christian Bale.
Also, as many times as they can say that this is not the same Batman from the Dark Knight Trilogy, general audiences will still have a hard time comprehending that unless they know someone like me who can set them on the straight and narrow path of superhero/movie knowledge.
But I do feel the advantages far out-weigh the disadvantages. Having a Batman who is already tried-and-true to the activities of being a vigilante, we can basically sweep all early stories such as the origin or "year-one" stuff. Batman could already have dealt with many of his major villains i.e. Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Two-Face, etc. Maybe not allow him to have a history with more flamboyant characters like Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze, and Poison Ivy (just to name a few) just yet so that way they can be open for future story-lines if need be. Think about it, Batman shouldn't have a history with any villain before the events of Man of Steel that could be considered extraordinary because Man of Steel is supposed to be the biggest event to take place.
But you know what? I think there are other great stories that can compliment the fact that Ben Affleck is playing an established Batman and that's what I want to talk about, those big stories of epic and grand proportions that I would love to see on screen.
Who Could Take on the Bat Now?
There are many story-lines that could take place apart from Batman's A-list rogues gallery. For instance, with a having a seasoned Batman he could have already had several sidekicks. Honestly, Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, etc. could have all existed at some point in Batman's history (assuming that he being in his late 40s would have been Batman since at least his early 30s).
With that being said, Dick Grayson could be off running side-by-side as Nightwing with Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. Tim Drake could already be leading or forming the Teen Titans in a hopefully on-the-to-do-list movie. So, where does that leave Jason Todd? Well, it doesn't leave him anywhere but rather leads him to my next point:
Introduce the Red Hood on film for the first time and have a vengeance story sprouting of Batman's past filled with flashbacks to keep the audience up to date on what's going on. We have seen Batman take on Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows/Assassins (I never know which is the final official title), we've seen Batman take on people who have lost their mind like Joker and Two-Face, and we've seen the Bat broken by Bane.
What would be great to see is some in-house family-feud that pits Jason Todd against Batman. Why not right? Plus, we could get a bit of an older Jason Todd to better explain the skills developed during the "lost days". And who would be better to play the role than the voice actor of the Red Hood himself: Jensen Ackles.
Next up, Batman is well-established in the DCCU and so should Bruce Wayne and why not feature a similar friend-turned-foe storyline with a great villain like Hush?
For those who haven't read the story of Hush, his real name is Thomas Elliot and was a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, who lived the fancy-schmancy lifestyle as well. The only difference is that Elliot's parents were not the saints that the Waynes were. There is bitterness and jealousy issues between Thomas Wayne and the Elliots. One thing leads to another and there's the surprise return of Bruce's old friend and seems to be all "good to see you, again" and "how have things been?" and all the schmoozing that comes with proper folk. But in reality, the real feud is against Bruce Wayne and not with Batman as Thomas Elliot transforms himself into a Bruce Wayne look alike and attempts to take over Bruce's family business.
Leads me to the next phase of this character, who would play a good Hush? It would need to be someone who could portray good chemistry with Bruce Wayne as "long time friends" and in so doing would need to be an actor who has that same similar chemistry with Ben Affleck. Brace yourself, you know it's coming:
That's right, Matt Damon! Why not?! He's a great actor, well-versed in action movies, and has a great chemistry and relationship with Ben Affleck. Sure there were jokes about the Bourne actor playing Robin but this is a role that I could seriously see Matt Damon filling in alongside of Ben Affleck's Batman.
Plus, Hush is a man with many faces (pun intended) and someone who can become anyone he chooses with just a simple self-operation (which would make for some awesome and grisly brooding scenes with the character). Matt Damon has already played Jason Bourne who is described in the novels as a man who can blend in anywhere and disappear. Shouldn't the man who played a character with this attribute be given an opportunity to bring some of those same attributes to another character?
We have seen Batman broken physically and emotionally in the past. We know that if Riddler ever came on film again (I vote for David Tennant to play the part) that he would attempt to break Batman intellectually. But what about a villain or "villains" that could break Batman in every aspect of his being: body, mind, and soul.
If you have read Scott Snyder's take on the Batman since 2011, you know I'm talking about the Court of Owls. A group of Illuminati-styled villains who claim that Gotham was never Batman's to protect, that Bruce Wayne didn't truly belong in Gotham (or at least not in the way Bruce would like to believe he did).
A group of villains so ruthless and cunning that they deduced the man's identity and invaded his home and attacked all of his allies. A full-on invasion film, bubbling on up from the urban-legends only told to Gothamite children. A take-over that Batman would be forced to either accept defeat and death or confront with the help of his allies.
But these stories I've listed show that the villains featured in the next Batman movie do not necessarily have to be the mainstream Batman baddies that we all know and love. And I'm not saying that they couldn't be in other movies.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is that there are options out there that are ripe for the picking and that whoever writes and directs the next Batman film need not feel pressure to include a villain like Joker, Two-Face, Riddler, etc. right off the bat (get it? "Bat"?) unless it truly is benefiting to the film's story progression.
Conclusion + Final Suggestion
All of the stories that I mentioned above have happened in the 21st century and are fairly familiar to more recent fans who may not have followed Batman since the 80s and 90s and so forth. But there is one more story, which has only been touched on by Nolan in The Dark Knight Rises and that is the story of The Dark Knight Returns. Now, this would be great because his origin in [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870) is said to be heavily patterned after this story already.
Talk about a crusty, angry, and ruthless Batman. Why not have Gotham going down from social depravity and gang-uprisings from ruthless groups like the Mutants?
This would be a good place to reintroduce the Jared Leto's Joker possibly (after the events of [Suicide Squad](movie:2283363) if he's in that) and not have to have the same expectations from fans regarding Heath Ledger's performance because, if he is in Suicide Squad, we'd already know what kind of Joker we'd be getting.
But alas! This would probably be most fitting for a third installlment type of movie. Why start a franchise with the sure-fire success that is The Dark Knight Returns? No. This movie would have to be felt by audiences being created through the atmosphere of the other Batman films. A movie that, when taking place, audiences go: "I knew something was coming...but I wasn't expecting anything this catastrophic and epic!"
Whatever route WB/DC decide to take with Batman. I just hope it's well written, well directed, and well acted as a movie isn't good based on the "freak-of-the-week" formula but on true depth and emotion.
Good luck, Warner Bros.
Good luck, DC Comics
Good luck, Ben Affleck