2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the futuristic Batman animated spin-off Batman Beyond. Imagine that, it has been 20 years! You have to wonder if that means an increase in chances of a Batman Beyond movie getting made.
Well, one fanboy hopes so and that happens to be the filmmaker and comic writer Kevin Smith. On the last episode of his (not so coincidentally named) Fatman Beyond podcast, co-hosted by Marc Bernardin, the topic was raised, but so were the stakes. Bernardin mentioned the milestone. Smith said Warner Bros. should do a live-action movie. Then Bernardin added Michael Keaton should return to the role of Bruce Wayne, one he in large part made famous for generations in 1989’s Batman.
The somewhat stoic Smith had a most enthusiastic reaction to that idea, going so far to grab his co-host in a “You genius!” type of moment, saying:
“What you just witnessed was my c** face. That would be f****** amazing. Could you imagine? Oh my God…that movie makes a billion, right there man. If you’re like Michael Keaton’s coming back, people like ‘how is that possible’ and you’re like ‘because he’s Batman Beyond B****’ and people are ‘oh f*** we wanted this our whole lives!’ This is f****** good and I am down with this.”
News sites such as Comicbook.com latched onto that “billion”-dollar remark, naturally. Batman movies altogether have grossed well over $2 billion dollars with 2008’s The Dark Knight alone making over $1 billion worldwide. DC and comic-book adaptations, moreover, are more bankable than ever and the least likely characters are getting developed. Venom’s solo film was released last year, making a bundle, and the obscure Nightwatch could get a chance next. Blue Beetle, Plastic Man, and Booster Gold all have reports of films being green-lit. Cameras will roll on Birds of Prey soon and, despite delays, The Batman is moving forward.
A Batman Beyond Feature Film
Batman Beyond would be ideal for a feature film with Warner’s renewed focus on solo films independent of cluttered continuity and high on world building. And, the show is looked upon as fondly as when it premiered in January 1999. Its first episodes, part one and two of “Rebirth,” aired to fanfare in primetime on The WB in an hour-long special. The story encompasses an aging Bruce Wayne giving up the mantle of the Bat due to heart problems and breaking his one rule about guns — in 2019, no less. Twenty years later, the cowl passes to Terry McGinnis after some struggle and persuasion.
It found a home on Saturday mornings thereafter and stuck around for three seasons. In that time, Beyond spawned its own direct-to-video feature in 2000, Return of the Joker. Loose ends in the saga of Terry McGinnis were tied up later in Justice League Unlimited, where Terry was revealed to harbor Bruce’s genes thanks to the intervention of one Amanda Waller. Despite that sendoff, Terry would be resurrected in the pages of comics for DC’s New 52 and then Rebirth. DC hasn’t bid sayonara to him yet and the next logical step would be a live action movie.
It’s more a serious possibility than you might think for Michael Keaton to play Bruce Wayne again. Batman Forever could have starred Keaton if Tim Burton hadn’t left the franchise and the tone had not changed. Decades hence, while promoting Birdman, he expressed interest in the chance to wear the cape again, on the condition Burton was involved. And he’s stayed close to comic material as the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming and may reprise the role in Far From Home.
Do you think WB should get to work on a Batman Beyond movie? Would you like to see Michael Keaton play elderly Bruce? Leave a comment.