Fans and critics are in awe of The Batman, and there is already talk of a sequel in the works. What could be in store for the franchise, and what key issues could be the next big things? Let the speculation begin. CAUTION: SPOILERS
Last year, word spread quickly that Matt Reeves’ take on the Dark Knight would stand alone in a crowded field of superhero movies. Now that The Batman has reached theaters, audiences can attest to that sentiment. Take away the cape and cowl, and this is less a superhero movie and closer to a noir suspense thriller with gothic tones.
Hardcore Marvel Studios fans will wonder what happened to the lighthearted, campy action-comedy antics. The Batman has moments of levity, but they are used sparingly, which works for this style of filmmaking. Comic fans will appreciate the tone and aesthetic that Reeves clearly drew from Batman alumni Frank Miller, Jeph Loeb, and Tim Sale.
When it comes to comic adaptations, audiences have been conditioned to look ahead to the sequel. As soon as the theater lights brighten, the first question is, “What’s next?,” and Reeves has left plenty of breadcrumbs to clue us in to the inevitable sequel. Here are three possibilities.
Unless you have managed to avoid all comic news and rumors for the past month, then you already heard that The Eternals’ Barry Keoghan makes a cameo as the Joker. No doubt, we will see the Clown Prince of Crime in the next movie. Audiences can assume that Batman put him in Arkham Hospital, and he will be looking for revenge when he unsurprisingly breaks free. That could lead to the most famous and controversial of Joker stories, Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke.
There have been rumors of a live-action Killing Joke for years. It dates back to the Justice League Snyder Cut when the gossip was that Ben Affleck and Jared Leto would bring the graphic novel to life. The dark, gritty (and constantly rainy) world of The Batman is the perfect place for The Killing Joke to be retold on the big screen.
BATMAN #6 (2012)
The Batman stayed true to the spirit of modern Dark Knight comics, and it worked wonders for the movie. At the same time, it circumvented what mainstream audiences expected when it came to the history of Gotham City, particularly the Waynes. The Riddler’s methodical killings are tied to a deep conspiracy that connects to the Waynes, the Arkhams, and Gotham’s history. Comic fans should pick up on the implications here. During Snyder and Capullo’s New 52 Batman run, they created the Court of Owls, a shadowy conglomerate of Gotham’s elite that dates back generations.
Where do you start with collecting those Owl keys? It’s tricky because they were teased beginning with Batman #1, but the members weren’t spotted in their creepy masks until issue #3. Their full debut is thought to be Batman #6, and it also gets the nod for the best cover art of the lot, and we know how much comic collectors love cover hunting.
That delighted squeal you’ll be hearing this weekend won’t be from millennial fangirls excited to see Rob “Twilight” Pattinson in all his brooding glory. It will be Batman fanboys when they hear Catwoman mention Bludhaven.
DC readers will immediately connect the dots between the fictional city with the coolest name ever and its resident vigilante, Nightwing. There have been rumors of a Nightwing movie for years, and this will add considerable fuel to the speculative fires. I
f you recall, the former sidekick donned his original Nightwing figure skater costume in Tales of the Teen Titans #44.
With a Penguin HBO Max streaming series already in the pipeline, Reeves and company are establishing their own corner of the Batman movie universe. It would not be a surprise to see Zoe Kravitz star in her own HBO Max show or possibly a movie set in Bludhaven.
That would expand the world that The Batman created, and that is clearly what the filmmakers and WarnerMedia have in mind. This could be the live-action answer to the Arkham City games when all is said and done.