Ever since the first Batman and Superman movies were made in the 50’s and 60’s, Hollywood has been eager to retell these stories in more creative ways and of course, with better special effects. In the past, films held this amazing weight that truly reflected how much work and time went into them and eventually as the latest film descended into obsolescence, a new one would arise decades later, telling a similar story and looking twice as good. This was how superhero movies came to be up until about two years ago, when The Amazing Spider-Man was announced. It’s understandable that a new series would arise, but no more than five years passed after Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy before rapidly being replaced with The Amazing Spider-Man. We are now currently waiting for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as the film has just recently wrapped shooting. The Amazing Spider-Man got a relatively positive (7/10 IMDB) reception, yet was viewed as a step back by many fans, in terms of story quality. Meanwhile, the Batman series was in the process of being rebooted, courtesy of Christopher Nolan. However, unlike the freshly completed Spider-Man trilogy, Batman hadn’t seen the big-screen for some time and was ripe for a fresh start. Then came Man of Steel (actually a great film, check out my review). Admittedly, Superman (like his black, bat-eared DC comics brethren) had been out of theatres for a while and was due for an update. Man of Steel was a box-office success and is sure to have a sequel (or two) within the next few years.
So what am I ranting about? Other than a hasty reboot of “Spidy”, it doesn’t seem like Hollywood is being overly redundant with their crime fighting flicks. Well believe it or not, there is already a decent buzz around the next Batman series… already. I guess it is only to be expected that fans would wonder what’s next after something so sweet comes to a conclusion, but I think these rumors are more than just fluff. Among fans, there is already heavy talk of a Batman Beyond series to be made in the near future. Although nothing has official been announced (typical), this idea actually makes a lot of sense, and if I was a betting man, I would say it most likely will become a reality in the next five years.
Batman Beyond was an animated series released in the late 90’s and 2000’s. The story begins with a short scene showing Bruce Wayne barely escaping a fight in his final days as the Batman in the year 2019. Then it flies to the story’s true setting in 2039 where the audience meets a new character named Terry McGinnis. Terry, a young, street-smart, and surprisingly combat versed teenager is instantly likeable and is a fantastic fit for the next inhabitant of the Batsuit. Bruce Wayne, now an old geezer, has retired from fighting crime due to his age and the detrimental health problems that have accompanied it (he now walks with a cane). The two cross paths when Terry is being pursued by some goons aptly named “Jokers”, and retreats to a dark mansion on the outskirts of “Neo-Gotham” (a futuristic version of Gotham City). This dark mansion is in fact the much older Wayne Manor, where the washed-up millionaire still resides. Although his age has taken a toll, he is still Batman, and the old man we recognize as Bruce Wayne along with his trusty hound Ace manage to fight off the Jokers, saving young McGinnis. A relentless and frustrated Terry tries and tries again to return to his savior after realizing his true identify, in search of a possible partnership. After being turned away multiple times, he manages to steal the futuristic (cape-less) Batsuit in order to get revenge for the death of his recently deceased father. At first, Bruce is extremely opposed to another man using the suit and orders Terry to return it, but after he refuses and proves his worth as a crime fighter, they eventually team up. Terry is the new batman, while Bruce fills an Alfred-esque role, helping Terry from the safety of the Batcave. Terry tells his family that he is working as the millionaire’s assistant and thus begins one of the best animated-series’ of all time. The story is carefully thought out and deserves a big screen trilogy, rendering it a perfect fit for the continuation of the Batman saga. Could Christian Bale be made up as an old man or will it have a 100% new cast? That’s up to the studios and Hollywood agents, but you heard it here first, Batman Beyond is in our future.
Now to bring it all back; Batman was, is and, forever will be a fan favorite. The Christopher Nolan trilogy grossed millions upon millions of dollars in profit and a new Batman series is all but inevitable. Film is an industry of giving fans what they want and charging them thirteen dollars for a ticket. Since this is the case, they would have to be fools not to make more Batman movies (and a lot more money). As for Superman, Spider-Man, and all of the other superheroes that have had Hollywood exposure in recent years, look for them to be back early and often. Iron Man 4, along with The Avengers 2 (see my article) have both already been announced and time is of the essence. Look for Batman to be rebooted again, and Superman to finish out a trilogy, and then get an immediate reboot as well. The Amazing Spider-Man will receive similar treatment. The fact of the matter is that there isn’t the same kind of pacing that we have seen in the past. Instead of making an amazing collection of films and giving them time to be fully recognized, the factory that is the film industry now just tries their best to spew out a new title as quickly as they can, while still trying to maintain the high quality that we as fans expect. For teenagers, movie goers and superhero fans alike, this is good news. But mark my words, the heroes that we have seen at the beginning of the 21st century will be back again and again, and some new heroes that we have yet to see (such as Ant-Man, more Avengers, and the Justice League) are sure to be coming down the pipe soon enough.