5 Reasons Why It’s Time For A Live-Action Batman Beyond Movie
Batman Beyond – a.k.a. Batman of the Future, as it was known internationally – is twenty years old this week. It’s a wonderful oddity, but an oddity nonetheless. It took place in a futuristic version of Gotham City, and the series was a radical departure from Batman: The Animated Series. Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett, built upon their earlier success and created a new vision of Batman that appealed to multiple generations of Bat-fans. That’s still true two decades later.
Bruce Wayne’s story is fairly played out at this point. But Terry McGinnis was a young and dynamic Batman. Batman Beyond expanded the Batman mythology in new and inventive ways that pushed the franchise forward. And that’s why it’s the perfect time for a live-action Batman Beyond. We’re honestly surprised that it hasn’t happened already.
A Fresh Take on the Dark Knight
Batman Beyond shares a little bit more in common with Spider-Man than a traditional take on the Dark Knight. By the time of the show, Bruce Wayne had retired as Batman and secluded himself from the world. 16-year old high school student Terry McGinnis stumbled upon Wayne’s secret, and later approached the former Batman for help when his father, Warren McGinnis, was murdered. Although Wayne initially refused to aid Terry, he eventually agreed to let him use the advance suit and trained Terry to be the new Batman.
It was a stroke of genius to keep Wayne involved with the franchise as Terry’s mentor, while focusing on a fresh and flawed Batman. And aside from fans of the show and the subsequent comics, it’s a dynamic that hasn’t received much attention from the general public. A Batman Beyond movie has the potential to further mine the series’ inventive take on the franchise.
Beyond Christopher Nolan
One of the biggest problems facing the next solo Batman movie is that has to live in the shadow of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight redefined Batman films as we knew them. The Dark Knight Rises didn’t quite live up to those heights. but it was still wildly popular and embraced by the fans. In contrast, Batman v Superman and Justice League‘s Batman has proven to be divisive. And it’s anyone’s guess if Ben Affleck will ever suit up as the Batman again.
The biggest advantage a Batman Beyond movie has is that it’s not constrained by Nolan’s realistic style of gritty superheroes. It offers a style and an aesthetic all its own, with a new cast of characters. Even the nearly two decades without new episodes works in Batman Beyond’s favor. A whole generation of comic book movie fans has no idea about the potential of Batman Beyond. It can finally get the franchise away from Nolan’s influence and pave the way for something new.
When it comes to DC’s live-action movies, many mistakes were made as Warner Bros. chased the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both Wonder Woman and Aquaman have found success, and even Suicide Squad had a big reception at the box office. In theory, Justice League should have been the biggest box office hit of them all. And yet it floundered. That may be one of the reasons Affleck has pulled back from the role, and The Batman has been trapped in development.
Moving on to Batman Beyond would not only allow someone new to become Batman’s onscreen actor, it would also give us an older Bruce Wayne who doesn’t have to carry the narrative by himself. It’s the perfect opportunity to lure a veteran Batman back to the franchise as the elder Wayne. Our vote is for Michael Keaton to reprise his role, but the part can also go to other seasoned actors who never got the chance to play a superhero when they were young.
Much like the upcoming Joker movie, a Batman Beyond film could also stand alone. However, it could easily become a franchise of its own, if fans embrace it.
Welcome To the Future
The futuristic world of Batman Beyond could make it difficult to recreate. It’s cyberpunk inspired technology was more easily depicted in the realm of animation. But if Blade Runner 2049 is any indication, then the CGI and special effects have finally reached a point where a live-action Batman Beyond is feasible.
But therein also lies a problem – the budget needed to convincingly bring Batman Beyond to life will be astronomical. It would also require a filmmaker of vision who can marry the fantastic visuals with the compelling characters and stories from the original series. It’s a difficult prospect, but far from impossible.
Batman Never Dies
Batman was never intended to be a generational hero. For the vast majority of his existence, Batman has only been Bruce Wayne, and no one else. Batman Beyond not only managed to push the franchise forward, it also moved Wayne’s story in a new direction as well. It gave the former Batman a second chance to be a mentor, while allowing Terry the opportunity to forge his own legend.
And what a legend it was. Over the course of the series, Terry faced his own rogues’ gallery of villains, as well as a few returning threats from Batman: The Animated Series. The animated movie, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker even found an inventive way to bring the Clown Prince of Crime back in this future world. The premise still represents a canvas of untapped possibilities that are just begging to be explored on the big screen. More importantly, Batman Beyond represents a future where the legend of Batman will never die. Regardless of what happens to Bruce Wayne or Terry McGinnis, the mantle of the Bat is now bigger than either of them.
Who would you cast as Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis in a live-action Batman Beyond film? Let us know in the comment section below!