The new DCU could have 52 ideas to pursue under the leadership of James Gunn and Peter Safran, but a new Batman movie with Michael Keaton isn’t one of them. Put another way, the new co-heads of the DC Studio are going to go above and beyond to reboot their brand though they won’t take the ‘89 Bat into the future.
According to intel from Jeff Sneider of YouTube show The Hot Mic, Gunn called off a Batman Beyond movie that was set to star Keaton as the elder Bruce Wayne mentoring Terry McGinnis. The film, obviously in its earliest stages, was said to be penned by Birds of Prey and Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson, who was involved with Batgirl and The Flash too.
The 70-year-old actor co-stars in The Flash as a version of his Dark Knight from the Tim Burton films and was likewise in the aborted Batgirl production. Reportedly, he filled a mentor role to Barry Allen and then Barbara Gordon similar to the one Bruce later would embody opposite Terry. But that won’t happen now because, like Batgirl, Batman Beyond is going nowhere.
Sneider explains that once Gunn and Safran took on their new jobs they said “absolutely not” and nixed Batman Beyond and anything further to do with Keaton. If it wasn’t Robert Pattinson or Matt Reeves-related or associated with Todd Phillips as Joker is, then “everything else Batman or Joker — gone.” This decision is due largely to Reeves and Phillips following up on their efforts.
Both Joker and The Batman were very successful and are locked in for sequels and TV spinoffs in the latter’s case. Phillips is hard at work on Joker: Folie a Deux, a musical with Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn, and Reeves is moving forward with Arkham and Penguin shows for HBO Max. Gunn and Safran aren’t touching those.
Keaton’s return, Batman Beyond, and the existence of several variations on the Caped Crusader in one universe of continuous film series represent saturation they and the big boss David Zaslav are grappling with. The problem comes from the prior heads of DC Films and Warner Bros., and Zaslav is keen on junking their blighted leftover ideas and starting fresh.
He’s already made it clear he doesn’t want multiple Batmans. “I think over the next few years, you’re going to see a lot of growth and opportunity around DC, there’s not going to be four Batmans…And so part of our strategy is [to] drive the hell out of DC, which James and Peter are going to do,” he said at a recent conference.
Gunn has remained tight-lipped about the plans he and Safran have for the DCU and only cryptically responded on social media that some reports of what/who is being tossed out are true – while other things haven’t been decided on yet. Maybe a Batman Beyond project of some type has a chance but not with Keaton – whose time in the DCU appears to be up.