i know we all hate those MP posts that are fan speculation articles with click-baity titles that ultimately lead readers to leave some pretty harsh rhetoric in the comments section. That being said, I hope this title and post isn't guilty of that.
Leaving all that aside, my theories on why there has been so little talk of solo Bat-films is centered around what I believe
is attempting with their extended movie universe.
1. Establishing the "Brand"
Warner Brothers and DC have approached the DCCEU in a similar way to their animated features, in that they are centered around creating a familiarity between the heroes in said universe. What I mean is, unlike early phase one Marvel movies where you have the title character (i.e. Ironman or Captain America) existing in this world where the hero characters are supported by several non-hero characters that may or may not be crucial to the plot, DC has a way of including other heroes as what are essentially the supporting cast. I am not suggesting one method to be superior over another, just noting the distinction.
An example right of the bat (no pun intended) that comes to mind is Cyborg, Aquaman, and Flash appearing in BvS: DoJ with no real consequence to the plot. As far as we know at this point, these characters will appear, establish their existence, and the plots ultimate conclusion will not be impacted by their presence in a way that makes the movie seem crowded. (Hopefully)
Another point in the same vein is that they have chosen, with the exception of Man of Steel, to build their universe on the concept of super, or in the case of Suicide squad, not so super, teams. This was only made possible through the success of Marvel with the two Avengers films and Guardians of the Galaxy. These movies proved that the hero team formula works for main-steam audiences. In a way, much of the progress of the major comic book film studios mirrors how printed comics took into account what worked for the competition and copied or borrowed from the others' success.
While I believe DC is considering Marvel's successes, they are also taking into account Sony's and Fox's failures. Sony's Spider-Man movies have become somewhat of a "how to avoid overcrowding" while Fox's early X-Men (X-2 and 3) and Fantastic Four franchises provided an excellent insight into how much deviation from the source material is too much deviation.
Effectively, DC seems to want to provide us with a fresh take that will still very much feel like the heroes and villains we all love and hold dear. Batman solo films will have to rely heavily on the audiences general knowledge of the character, and establish some things in this version of Batman are different, without going all the way back into canon and re-explaining things about his origin. This can, and I believe will, be done through exposition and flashback sequences, and needs to be done in a way that doesn't bore us all to tears.
To be honest and realistic about these films one must admit, the window for comic book blockbuster success may not last forever, at least in the mainstream. We've seen a spike before, in the mid-90's through early 2000's with movies like Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, Spawn, the Blade series, the early X-Men movies, etc. Then Dare Devil came around and the mainstream audiences were pretty much over it.
It wasn't really until Marvel Studios established themselves as the front runners that they are today the superhero genre of film kicked off in earnest. Here's to hoping that this new popularity of comic based film and television is here to stay, in the ways that other genres of film have been prolific, such as horror and sci-fi.
Since DC has made the Justice League, and other characters a priority over the next five or so years, it is understandable they would rely on the success of the Nolan Batman films (though these are not DCCU canon) and the success of Batman as a mainstay character, to garner excitement over his appearances in the coming films, rather than try and squeeze a few solo Batman films into the fold. Superman is receiving no such treatment as his film success over the past decade or so has been, simply put, limited.
To the point of timing, we also should acknowledge that we have really just concluded the Nolan trilogy, and DC would no doubt like to let those films stand on their own for fans, and give a slight reprieve as to not reboot so close to the conclusion of said trilogy.
3. To Prequel or Sequel...
One other reason solo Batman films may be up in the air is the decision to do prequels versus sequels. Ben Affleck is 43 years old. He's no grandpa by any stretch, but by the time 2020 rolls around he will be 47 and just getting around to shooting solo films. Now this isn't really a problem for Batman, as he is active in the canon well into his late fifties, even early sixties. One could argue that Bruce's aging could be held at bay given his access to top notch medical science and peek physical conditioning. However, as we saw in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, decades of jumping from rooftop to rooftop and fighting crime would do some serious damage to his joints.
According to rumors circulating around about the solo Batman films, these movies may be prequels, however based on the established timeline of film releases this seems unlikely. I say this because Ben isn't going to be getting any younger, and playing a younger version of Bruce, even five years before the events of BvS, is unlikely since he will be nearly ten years older than when filming of his first appearance as the Bat began.
Now, that doesn't mean we won't see flashbacks of things that have happened in the past, but a simple CGI touch up can make anyone look a few years younger for a short sequence of scenes. The same effect could be an uncomfortable distraction if they tried to pull that off for an entire movie. This means we could all still get a chance to see the return of Jason Todd and the Red Hood arc, but it would take place after or during the Justice League films.
While I would love to see a screen adaption of some earlier Batman arcs, I hope that for this incarnation we continue in the current continuity. The early career of Batman would do great as a TV drama, but with Gotham in it's second season, and doing fairly well, and the current embargo on all things Batman in the CW DC universe, we will most likely see no such series. You can read my thoughts on this topic in a previous post of mine, DCC TV-Veses: The Batman.
Well, that brings us to the end of this fans theory of the DC's intentions for their extended movie universe. Leave your comments, questions and general thoughts on this or any other subject below. If you've got something you'd like to say at length, go ahead and contribute!