There's a lot of buzz around the DC' Expanded Universe right now as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice just premiered. It is the first film to begin tying together a collective universe for DC', after Man of Steel(2014) that is. Man of Steel introduced the world to Clark Kent/Superman fighting an angered General Zod, causing serious destruction and cataclysm in Metropolis leaving many casualties. Dawn of Justice addresses those events and how the acknowledgement of Superman's existence in Man of Steel(2014) begins the world-wide conflict of what the world can do in light of these godly beings existing among them; emphasizing the idea that any one of these beings could destroy everything at a sudden whim. The film constantly deals with the matter of Superman existing among them, but once that concern is put to rest with the death of Superman, an important repercussion of Superman dying has come to pass. That consequence has to do with Batman taking the place of Superman in light of other potential threats heading toward earth. Batman has no otherworldly power to speak of, he has discernible attributes which have always made him a worthy superhero but nothing in comparison to what Superman brings to the table. And Ben Affleck's version of Bruce Wayne/Batman is aged, that is close to hanging up his cowl, though Bruce Wayne hanging up the cowl doesn't mean he's not an important member of the Justice League in a supporting role. The imminent threats heading towards Earth were teased in Bruce Wayne's dream sequence of an post-apocalyptic earth run by Darkseid and Superman as his enforcer, as well as the information of Zod's archive being available to Lex Luthor who could have learned of the 100,000 worlds worth of knowledge in the archive.(sidenote: DC' Comic history has Kryptonian archives and/or alien archives of other worlds being the root for Braniac's creation; the compilation of information is moderated by an artificial intelligence that looks for other worlds, to absorb all the information available on the planet while assimilating the information into its own artificial intelligence.) Whether either of these events are foreshadowing the future of DC' or not, there'll definitely be some upcoming threats to the forming Justice League. Bruce Wayne may not be equipped to handle these threats as Batman and could be forced to pass the mantle of the Batman to a worthy successor in future films.
There are a few reasons as to why Bruce Wayne will need a replacement for his role as Batman in Justice League-Part One(2017). The obvious reason is that the Bruce Wayne that Ben Affleck is playing is an aged Bruce Wayne; coming from influences of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns(1986) which portrayed an old Bruce Wayne whose retired as Batman but is forced to return to crime-fighting after retirement. The other similarity between Ben Affleck's aged Bruce Wayne and Frank Miller's version of Batman is that both utilize the tool of a mechanized batsuit to take on Superman; just happened in Dawn of Justice. Having the DC' Cinematic version of Bruce Wayne portrayed as this older, more seasoned crime-fighter puts Bruce Wayne in the position to be on his exit out of crime-fighting rather than putting the Justice League together. However, Bruce Wayne is determined to find the other powered individuals he saw in the LexCorp files and assemble them alongside Wonder Woman and himself. Though Bruce Wayne may become afflicted with the problem of age when his league is assembled, which would call for someone to step in for Bruce Wayne as Batman. The possible replacements for Bruce Wayne are very minimal at the moment, it doesn't seem like there any heroes left in Gotham and the rest of the heroes of the world are still staying hidden. The only mention in the dialogue from Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne as to other heroes of Gotham, Bruce retorts to Alfred in a conversation with the remark of "How many heroes are left in Gotham, and how many of those heroes stayed heroes?". That statement implies there were once heroes in Gotham and those heroes have changed into criminals/villains but that doesn't eliminate them out of the running for the role of Batman. There has been a comic-book history of villains taking on the role of Batman, ranging from Slade Wilson to the Red Hood, anything is possible.
The possible replacements for Bruce Wayne to consider taking his place on the Justice League could be a few different, well-known DC' characters. For one, Bruce Wayne's old protege of Dick Grayson could be brought into the fold. Dick Grayson's comic-book history has had him going from becoming the sidekick Robin, to his own title of Nightwing, as well as assuming the mantle of Batman in a few instances. There has been no indication that Dick Grayson even exists within the DC' expanded universe, however the memorial to a dead Robin implies the dead Robin, was Jason Todd. Jason Todd in his comic-book counterpart assumed the mantle of Robin after Dick Grayson left the role of Robin to assume the title of Nightwing in Gotham then Bludhaven City. The mere existence of Jason Todd having living within this expanded universe makes the assumption believable in terms of Dick Grayson currently living in this universe as well. If the timeline aligns with what we were informed of in Dawn of Justice, the adult Jason Todd has been murdered by the Joker by the time Dick Grayson leaves his role as Robin, and has moved on to possibly becoming Nightwing in Bludhaven City. All that means is that Dick Grayson existing in this universe puts him in contention to take on the mantle of Batman when Bruce Wayne decides to hang up the cowl. Apart from Dick Grayson becoming the next Batman, there is also the possibility of the memorial to a dead Robin(Jason Todd) in Dawn of Justice was a memorial to the fallen Robin as a hero but not as in the absence of life.
Jason Todd's Robin is presumed dead and the memorial kind of puts the nail in the coffin but the memorial in the Batcave could be there for a different reason. Jason Todd, the hero known as Robin could be dead in his right as a hero but not absent of life which is why Bruce Wayne places a memorial of Robin's suit in the Batcave, to remind Bruce of his failure with his protege. The reason Jason Todd is probably still alive in the DC' Expanded Universe is because of the comic-book series for which Jason Todd dying as Robin is based upon provides some evidence to back up the idea that Jason Todd may have an upcoming appearance in the DC' Expanded Universe. Jason Todd dies at the hands of the Joker in the "Death in the Family" series, written by Scott Snyder. Jason Todd is presumed dead after the "Death in the Family" event is concluded but his comic-book history doesn't end there. Jason Todd reappears in DC' as the villainous Red Hood. Jason Todd is resurrected by Ra's Al Ghul with the help of the Lazarus Pit, but the resurrection has some undesired effects on Jason Todd. The Lazarus Pit has revitalizing qualities that can resurrect the dead but it affects the mind of the person placed in it as well, thus changing Jason Todd into someone completely different. After his resurrection, Jason Todd returns to Gotham to deliver his own brand of justice on the streets then fully resorts to a career as a criminal. But theories aside, it would be a stretch for Batman to have allowed Jason Todd to continue his life as the criminal, Red Hood in Gotham which means either Jason Todd is currently imprisoned or dead in the DC' expanded universe. That being said, an existing Jason Todd wouldn't be in a position to be the next Batman unless a different incarnation of Jason Todd is created for the DC' Expanded Universe wherein he has a history as both Robin and the Red Hood but is left open to be the next Batman with an undetermined future.
The other likely candidate to wear Batman's cowl is that of Terry McGinnis. Terry McGinnis has had a 'future' holding the mantle of Batman. Let me rephrase that. The DC' Comics history for which Terry McGinnis as Batman is based upon occurs at a place in time that Bruce Wayne is elderly and recruits Terry McGinnis to wear a high-tech batsuit in his place as Batman. The whole Batman Beyond series which features Terry McGinnis as Batman happens in a near future; that could also fit into the DC' expanded universe with a character whom appears in Dawn of Justice from the future. If the future of the DC' universe has events happening in different timelines then the appearance of Ezra Miller's the Flash from the future could mean that a crime-fighting Flash from the future has seen Bruce Wayne's retirement as Batman in the future. Going a long way, but the subtle implication of The Flash/Barry Allen existing in the future and the current Bruce Wayne already in his old age means that by the time Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne meets this Flash from the future, he'll have long hung up his cowl as Batman and passed it on to someone else. The concept of the future being the stage for an even larger conflict happening means that some time will pass before the current Justice League will meet that threat, and in that time Bruce Wayne will learn that he needs a new protege to take his place. And the fact withstanding concerning Jason Todd or Dick Grayson as possible replacements, both either dead, retired, or imprisoned leaves Terry McGinnis as the only possible replacement for Bruce Wayne as Batman in the future. Dick Grayson could still be in contention to become Batman but seeing as that Dick Grayson would be living in Bludhaven as Nightwing, he might not be inclined to take on the role of Batman if Dick Grayson also started a family in Bludhaven; for which Dick Grayson's comic-book counterpart has as well.
Potential replacements for Bruce Wayne as Batman aside, it doesn't look like Ben Affleck is ready to hang up his cape and cowl yet, evident by his ass-kicking in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, an event in Justice League-Part One(2017) might force Bruce Wayne out of his suit for any variety of reasons. We'll just have to wait until the next piece of information on the expanded DC' universe is released by Warner Bros. Studios to find out where Bruce Wayne's Batman is headed. Who do you think will wear the bat's cowl next? Leave your thoughts below.