Before Christopher Nolan rebooted Gotham’s most eligible bachelor in Batman Begins, Warner Bros. was actually considering adapting the classic TV series Batman Beyond (Batman of the Future internationally) into a live-action film.
However, the adaptation never took off and Nolan led the franchise to multi-million dollar success, so the studio never looked back. However, at least one influential individual is still interested.
Michael Uslan, producer for all the Batman films to date, has vividly expressed interest in a film based on the alternative Batman offering.
During a pre-screening panel for The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, Uslan stated, “Now if I could put my 'fanboy hat' on, not my 'producer hat.' How cool would it be to see a Batman Beyond movie? Bruce Wayne in his eighties training a young Batman. And how cool would it be to see Clint Eastwood as Bruce Wayne in his eighties?"
Obviously, Uslan does not have the kind of mainstream popularity as someone like Christopher Nolan, so his personal wishes may not exactly convince the studio to move ahead. However, his track record does imply a lot of influence so there may be hope.
Also, even if Clint Eastwood was just an arbitrary choice for a fanboy rant, there is still some incredible potential. After all, the bitter and tough Bruce Wayne would naturally age into someone as cold, and no one does old, bitter and angry quite like Clint Eastwood.
Beside, the Batman Beyond series deserves recognition. The animated tale, revolving around a young man that takes up the Batman cowl following Wayne’s retirement, was a fantastic retelling that perfectly melded into the DC Comics universe.
The new villains were aesthetically similar to Batman’s classic villains, allowing the creators to intelligently maintain the iconic Batman Rogues Gallery. The writing was also consistently sharp; the younger protagonist brought teen angst into Batman’s canon the way Bruce Wayne’s tale never could.
Wayne, for his part, also settled into the older role quite amazingly. Many of the plot lines still involved the classic Batman’s demons from the past and, at times, he felt like the true protagonist.
The story was ultimately left unfinished, and DC’s half-hearted attempt at closure during the Justice League Unlimited episode “Epilogue” felt a bit ridiculous. Terry McGinnis, the young man who replaced Bruce Wayne as this new futuristic Batman, never got all the answers the way he should have and, consequently, neither did the fans.
The show was commendable in being entertaining for both youngsters and adults, something that can be tested now because of reruns on The Hub. Maybe DC will never agree to this movie, seeing as how it drifts so far from the canon they have currently established with the Nolan trilogy, but Uslan’s enthusiasm for the idea brings hope.
Now, if only we could get a Static Shock movie, my life would be complete. And no, that is not hyperbole.