Now, there aren't too many more widely beloved comic book movie series' out there than Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, with even The Avengers movies tending to take second spot in a whole lot of fans' top tens. The combination of a gifted director, a pitch-perfect cast and a gritty, of-its-time tone - not to mention Heath Ledger's iconic performance as Joker - has granted the saga a very special place in the hearts of fans the world over.
Which is perhaps why the latest news to emerge relating to the series is as faintly shocking as it is. The reason?
The Dark Knight Series Could Be Heading Back to Our Screens
Just...not quite how you'd imagine.
Y'see, there's no sign of a Christopher Nolan-directed Dark Knight sequel hitting theaters anytime soon - what with the rise of the DC Cinematic Universe, and Nolan's own widely-expressed lack of interest in making a fourth Batman movie - but that hasn't stopped someone else from pitching an idea.
It isn't Warner Bros, though, that's interested in making that particular extension of the legendary series. Instead:
A Fourth Dark Knight Movie Was Just Proposed as Part of Adi Shankar's 'Bootleg Universe'
Specifically, one was just proposed by professional screenwriter Adam Alleca (writer of The Last House on the Left and Standoff) as part of Shankar's 'Bootleg Universe Pitch Show,' a YouTube series offering creative types the chance to pitch their ideas for what should come next in the bootleg universe. With past entries including a gritty Power Rangers reboot, a brutal re-imagining of The Punisher and an outright unhinged Judge Dredd animated series, it's pretty safe to say that Shankar's ambition is sky-high, making an unofficial Dark Knight sequel produced by him a whole lot less unlikely than it might initially seem.
The most intriguing part of the whole thing, though?
Alleca's Proposed Batman Movie Would Get Rid of The Dark Knight Rises
That's right - Alleca would skip The Dark Knight Rises altogether, and replace it with an adaptation of the 1993 Batman comic book arc Knightfall. The original storyline - during which Bane famously broke Batman's spine - was partly adapted in The Dark Knight Rises, but Alleca suggests a far more faithful approach, one in which Batman responds to that defeat - and his subsequent incapacity - by recruiting an apprentice to replace him, much as he did in the comics.
Instead of the traditional comic book replacement, John-Paul Valley, though, this new Batman would be a Robin - but much like his comic book counterpart, he would soon grow more and more violent, eventually sacrificing the values - no killing, no guns - that define Batman. That change would ultimately lead to the new Batman adopting a more technologically advanced - and lethal - suit, described by Alleca as the "Iron Man-ed out version" of the batsuit.
Eventually, Alleca would have this new Batman face down Bane and after brutally defeating him, kill him. To which Bruce Wayne - finally beginning to recover from his injuries - feels compelled to respond, and ultimately faces down his one-time apprentice in a final, batcave-set battle, beating the Iron-Batman suit through guile and experience.
All of which sounds like...actually kind of a great idea.
The Only Problem?
It still probably won't ever get made.
Y'see, just because Shankar's 'Bootleg Universe Pitch Show' offers ideas like Alleca's a deserved airing, that sadly doesn't necessarily mean that they're ever going to actually enter production. After all, the rights issues involved mean the films have to remain entirely not-for-profit, which would be more than a little problematic when making a two and half hour cinematic continuation of the Dark Knight series. Indeed, were the idea ever to see the light of day at all, it would likely be in the form of an online animated series, or some sort of video storyboard project.
In the meantime, though, we can still check out Alleca's full pitch just below, and dream along with him for a few minutes...
The big question, though?
What do you reckon?