A nasty person is lying on the ground bleeding. A mysterious apparition stands above him, his horned head and billowing cape being the only things the moonlight highlights. The vanquished thief begs, “Who are you? “I’m Batman,” the figure responds with a growl.
You undoubtedly had an image in your thoughts after reading that description that you’ve seen on screen countless times. But which Batman is claiming to be Batman in your eyes? Do you hear the wry delivery from Adam West? a whisper from Michael Keaton? The baritone of the late, great Kevin Conroy?
Warner Bros. has been able to present a variety of storylines about Batman because the character has established himself as one of the more adaptable superheroes of all time.
But it also meant that the franchise lost its focus. Currently, “WB’s live-action Batman” might refer to a number of different actors, including Robert Pattinson’s emo interpretation in The Batman, Iain Glen’s remote Bruce Wayne in Titans, Ben Affleck or Michael Keaton returning in the next The Flash film.
While this might be wonderful for authors who wish to use the Dark Knight in a variety of stories, the new WB leadership appears to be mindful that viewers might find it confusing and uncertain as to which Batman is the “genuine” Batman on screen.
One of the concerns WB CEO David Zaslav wants the newly appointed leaders of DC Studios to solve is that one. The DC bible, written by James Gunn and Peter Safran, outlines the Studio’s objectives for its characters, including the Caped Crusader, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which quotes Zaslav as saying in a conversation with RBC Capital’s Kutgun Maral.
“I think there will be a lot of growth and opportunities surrounding DC over the next few years,” Zaslav predicted. There won’t be four Batmans, the statement goes.
This means that WB might choose one Batman to play the role of the Dark Knight on the big screen, clearing up the multiverse confusion that now surrounds the figure. But given that Matt Reeves’ The Batman Universe has already established that it is distinct from Gotham in the DCEU, is this even conceivable? Maybe that will be covered in the multiverse-shattering The Flash movie.
It is evident that Zaslav intends to usher in a new era of connected and linear storytelling on film and television that spans a decade’s worth of movies and TV shows. In an effort to support DC adaptations, Zaslav notoriously canceled the nearly finished film Batgirl.
This would have been Keaton’s second appearance as the new (old?) Batman in the DCEU after The Flash. The WBD boss appears to be hoping that Gunn and Safran will perform some more housekeeping and set up DC Studios to replicate the success that Marvel achieved under Kevin Feige.
Gunn previously hinted to a virtual WB Discovery town hall, saying, “The chance to make DC as fantastic as it can be and as it should be that is the reason why I’m doing this job because I know that Peter and I can do it” (via THR).
The previous several days have been spent outlining the eight to ten-year strategy for how these characters will appear in theatre, television, animation, and other media with a group of some of the top thinkers and writers in the business.
Naturally, this begs even more concerns regarding a few of DC’s most well-liked works. Even as it draws to a close, the CW’s Arrowverse has given previously obscure characters like Commander Steel and Vixen admirers. There are still many fans of the animated series Young Justice and Harley Quinn, and HBO Max programs like Doom Patrol are popular.
More crucially, the DCEU appears to be continuing with Black Adam, Aquaman, the Lost Kingdom, and Shazam!, even though the Joker and The Batman were two of WB’s best hits. wrath of the gods How are Gunn and Safran going to control such a diverse DC Universe?
Zaslav is steadfast despite these concerns. James and Peter will drive the crap out of DC as part of our strategy, he said to Maral. “I believe they delighted the fans. Over time, they should excite you, in my opinion. That may be the case, but will the excitement be sufficient to persuade people to support a single, undisputed Batman?