When Warner Bros. announced their slate of DC Films at a shareholders meeting last fall, we were all surprised that two movies were not yet slated. Man of Steel's proper sequel, and Batman's proper introduction in to the DC Cinematic Universe. It was then rumored that Batman's next solo outing will hit theaters in 2019 alongside Shazam and Justice League Part Two. No matter if it comes out in 2019 or tomorrow, the Batman reboot needs to have a good story to succeed (not financially though because, I mean, it's Batman). Even if it does make a ton of money, if it's not good then audiences won't want to go out and see his next film. That's never good. So what storylines from the comics could be adapted that would work well in a Batman solo film? Let's get in to it...
8 . DEATH OF THE FAMILY
After a year's absence, Joker is back and he's not playing around this time, as he guns for Batman and his family of allies that Joker believes makes him weak.
Death of the Family is one of the more recent storyline's to be delved in to in this article. It is written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo. This is a joker centric story, meaning we'd get some Jared Leto vs Ben Affleck action. The benefits of doing Death of the Family is that we get a good introduction to Batman's world. The Bat family is present and the story provides a good way of going in to the history of Batman and the Joker's relationship. Flashbacks to events like Red Hood's transformation in to the Joker, Jason Todd's death, or Batgirl's crippling could definitely be worked in. Batgirl's crippling and Jason Todd's death could even be incorporated in to the story.
One big complaint about this story is that it's called Death of the Family, but no one dies. There are ways around this, like killing somebody, or even setting the events of this film before Batman v Superman. If you make it a prequel then you can kill Jason Todd, cripple Barbara Gordon, or both. Then it would give a good reason for Batman to go into retirement, or at least become harder and colder, going in to BvS and Joker's reappearance with his new End Game like face in Suicide Squad. But in Death of the Family, Arkham is abandoned and Joker uses it for his master plan. Why would Arkham be restored and used in Suicide Squad if it had been ruined because of the events of Death of the Family?
Despite all of those little cons above, there is one that is very hard to get around without just straight up changing the story. That's the fact that this is a very dark story, that might turn away younger audiences. Just Joker's face is enough to get some parents to ban their kids from seeing the movie, let alone the dead bodies in the river, and sewn and tattooed bodies on the wall. Although, a hard PG-13 could be achieved. And his face doesn't have to be cut off.
7. ARKHAM ASYLUM: SERIOUS HOUSE ON SERIOUS EARTH
The inmates of Arkham Asylum have taken over Gotham's mental illness detention center and demand Batman in exchange for their prisoners. Accepting their demented challenge, Batman is forced to live and endure the personal hells of the Joker, Scarecrow, Two Face and many other of his sworn enemies in order to save the innocents and retake the prison.
This story is amazing. Not only is it well written, but the artwork make it horrifying. That's the main thing going against an adaption of this story. It's VERY dark. When I first picked this up as a kid, I thought the creepy art was just for the cover, but it continued for the entire graphic novel, which resulted in me barely making it in to the novel at all. I had to put it down. Yes the movie would not look exactly like the comic, but regardless of appearance it is a very dark movie. Warranting an R rating.
Despite this, the concept is great and can be lightened up. Elements of the Arkham games could most definitely be incorporated in to the story as well. Though fans of the story could get upset that it's not the graphic novel they know. And since the movie would likely be titled "Batman: Arkham Asylum)" fans of the game that have not read the comics might go in expecting the game as a movie and get something different.
(P.S. I would replace Dr. Cavendish with Hugo Strange)
6. ZERO YEAR
A re-imagination of Batman's origin in the New 52. telling the story of an inexperienced Bruce Wayne in his formative years in his war on crime before finally honing his skills and truly becoming the Dark Knight.
Now everyone says "We don't want to see another Batman origin story!! We know the origin!!!". I agree. I don't want to see him train all across the world or see his parent's death (which will be shown in BvS already unless left on the cutting room floor). This movie showcases Batman's first days back in Gotham after all of that training. This story gets in to the head of Bruce Wayne more than any other Batman film has before. I say this because all of the other films (that go beyond surface level) really only get in to the heads of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Not as much Bruce Wayne pre-Batman. Yes Batman Begins does, but this is a whole different perspective on the character. We also will be introduced to the Red Hood Gang (Joker), Riddler, Commissioner Gordon (if he's dead), Penguin, and any other character's we'd like to introduce.
Now obviously this story would take place before Batman v. Superman. It would feature a younger Batman. So how do they make Ben Affleck look younger? Well look at the picture at this link. He already does look a lot like the Bruce Wayne in this story. Now click this link. They made Affleck look older in BvS, which means just taking off his make up will automatically make him look older. Make him look a little leaner could also make him look younger, and we have the technology to make Ben Affleck look younger. Yeah it didn't work well in Tron: Legacy, but that was a bigger transformation and look at JGL in Looper.
In this story of murder, mystery and romance, Batman sets out on a simple mission to discover the identity of the mysterious villain wreaking havoc in his life known as Hush. But Batman ends up facing possibly the most intense case of his life as secrets from his past flood into the present, and the most notorious villains to ever haunt Gotham City's street attack simultaneously!
Many fans have said that this storyline is made for a movie. I agree, but it'll need to undergo some changes. There are plot holes in the story, and overall too much going on for one movie. So how will this classic Jeph Loeb story be translated to the big screen?
It'll be the same at heart, but unnecessary storyline's and plot points will be taken out. Sorry no Batman vs Superman fight. We would've already had a whole movie dedicated to that. Though the Killer Croc grand opening would remain, for a James Bond like opening, The story is very episodic, which is just another tool the filmmaker could use. It'd be like Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, or even Sin City in that it's told in segments. Then at the end, the last segment would tie up all of the stories that had been told across the entire film. This story is another that would be great for showing moments from Batman's past. The effects of Barbara Gordon's crippling and Jason Todd's death are present in the story, and flashbacks would just further push those events to prominence.
4. COURT & NIGHT OF OWLS
After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that perhaps these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to his youth and beyond to the origins of the city he's sworn to protect. Could the Court of Owls, once thought to be nothing more than an urban legend, be behind the crime and corruption? Or is Bruce Wayne losing his grip on sanity and falling prey to the pressures of his war on crime?
Court of Owls is my favorite story-arc of the New 52, and one of my favorite Batman stories period. It is my favorite story because it focuses on my favorite character in the Batman mythos. Gotham. Gotham in previous Batman films has been depicted in various ways, but never the definitive way that it should be depicted. This definitive way can be seen in video games like the Arkham quadrilogy, shows like Batman: The Animated Series, and of course the comics. In this story Gotham is not just the setting. It is the center of the plot. Adapting Court of Owls is a great way of showing the audience this world. Most people that would see this movie wouldn't even know that Gotham is more than where Batman lives. This movie would show them. Court of Owls introduces a whole new set of villains to Batman's universe, and incorporates others.
This movie would also get in to the psyche of Bruce Wayne, arguably the most psychological tale on this list. So many great visuals and concepts could be explored while Batman is in the court's labyrinth. This labyrinth would not only explore Batman's mind, but his skills as a detective as well. This contrasted with the major action of the Night of Owls arc would provide for a thrilling movie which would be the epitome of Batman on screen. Even splitting this in to two parts could work. Filming it all at the same time, but getting the profit of two movies and releasing Batman films back to back. Warner Bros. would love it too.
3. THE LONG HALLOWEEN
Taking place during Batman's early days of crime fighting, this new edition of the classic mystery tells the story of a mysterious killer who murders his prey only on holidays. Working with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant James Gordon, Batman races against the calendar as he tries to discover who Holiday is before he claims his next victim each month. A mystery that has the reader continually guessing the identity of the killer, this story also ties into the events that transform Harvey Dent into Batman's deadly enemy, Two-Face.
If you're a fan who wants to see the world's greatest detective, this is the story for you. The Long Halloween is one of my other favorite Batman stories. This film is also a great way of building the Batman universe because many of his rogues are involved and one that was introduced just for this arc. It's like an even better version of Hush. The use of Batman's rogues isn't as forced as Hush and serves the story better.
This film would take the best parts of the Nolan Trilogy (which took those parts from this) and adds the fantastical side of Batman we didn't get in the Nolan films. I won't spoil the ending in case there are people who read this who haven't read the Long Halloween, but the end of this movie would give the audience some great twists.
The only downside is that one of the most interesting parts of the story (Harvey Dent's arc) has largely been used in the Dark Knight. But at the same time it is different enough that it could be reused.
2. THE KILLING JOKE
Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he's out to prove his deranged point. And he's going to use Gotham City's top cop, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and his brilliant and beautiful daughter Barbara to do it. Now Batman must race to stop his arch nemesis before his reign of terror claims two of the Dark Knight's closest friends. Can he finally put an end to the cycle of bloodlust and lunacy that links these two iconic foes before it leads to its fatal conclusion? And as the horrifying origin of the Clown Prince of Crime is finally revealed, will the thin line that separates Batman's nobility and The Joker's insanity snap once and for all?
The Killing Joke is one of the greatest stories in comics. It portrays the relationship between Joker and Batman better than any other story before or after it. I'm waiting for a story to do better. This has all the makings of a film. It'd be the ultimate Joker story. We can get a closer look in to Joker that Suicide Squad probably won't give us. Imagine the amazing performances that could come out of this movie. This movie has more potential to win an Oscar for direction or acting than any other CBM since The Dark Knight. Jared Leto would shine as the Joker in this role. And with Ben Affleck bouncing off of him we could really have something very special.
A downside is of course the darkness and the fact that we'd be getting another very Joker centric story and unlike a lot of the stories on this list, other rogues aren't involved much. Not at all if I remember correctly. If Commissioner Gordon is in fact dead in this film, it would be ideal to kill him here. Adding on to the pain that comes out of this conflict, and maybe letting us see Cranston as Gordon before we retire the character for a little bit. And if Dick Grayson is in fact on bad terms with Batman going in to BvS, maybe it's because of this. What if this is why Dick went off and became Nightwing. And if Dick really is dead in BvS (which I don't believe) then what a better place than to kill him here. Besides he could be resurrected by the Court of Owls, since he is William Cobb's heir, in a Court of Owls sequel.
1. UNDER THE HOOD
There's a mystery afoot in Gotham City, and Batman must go toe-to-toe with a mysterious vigilante, who goes by the name of Red Hood. Subsequently, old wounds reopen and old, once buried memories come into the light.
This is a great story. I have not read the comic, but I have only seen the DCAU film. After reading plot summaries of the comic, the movie was better and involved less things from the DCU that wouldn't have been already established in the DCCU. That's what they should adapt from. The return of the Red Hood is one of the most interesting stories of Batman in recent years. This story can establish so many of the key events that affected Batman's past. The simple fact he's calling himself Red Hood could harken back to when Joker fell in the vat of chemicals. Jason Todd's death would definitely be a big moment to show in this film. Bruce visits R'as Al Ghul in the story to figure out how Jason came back to life, maybe he has a little chat with Talia and there's a subtle hint at Damian being alive. Oracle could even be incorporated. Her crippling could happen before Jason's death which would then be another reason why Todd questions why Batman has not yet killed the Joker.
The story asks the question "Why doesn't Batman kill his enemies"? This theme was touched on in Batman Begins, but still has not been explored as much as it could. This movie features a lot of characters we've seen before, and a lot of new ones. Yes we've seen the Joker, R'as Al Ghul, Talia, and the Riddler before. But we've never seen the Red Hood, the other Red Hood, Black Mask, the Fearsome Hand of Four, Nightwing, Robin, and Batgirl/Oracle before. Revisiting characters the audiences are familiar is not a waste of time, but a safe and smart move for the studios. Showing them this new R'as, this new Joker, etc. exposes them to how this universe is different from the Nolan. A lot of people I know who just casually see these movies don't know when these are rebooted. They recognize a cast change, but don't get the concept of these movies not being connected to the past ones. Showing them villains they already know tells them that this is new, while also attracting the audience because there are recognizable characters in the film. From there, more never before seen villains could be introduced.
(p.s. Toby Kebbel for Jason Todd)