Reports have begun to emerge suggesting that the latest casualty in the epic and chaotic restructuring of DC Studios is a new Batman film that would have seen Michael Keaton don the cowl once more to become the Caped Crusader. Furthermore, to the disappointment of fans, the reports add that the film was actually supposed to be an adaptation of the legendary Batman comic run, Batman Beyond.
On the latest edition of The Hot Mic with Jeff Sneider and John Rocha, industry insider Jeff Sneider – who was credited with breaking the news of Dafne Keen joining the Star Wars series, The Acolyte, recently – reported that DC‘s new head honchos James Gunn and Peter Safran put the brakes on a new solo Batman story which would have starred Keaton in the role he first played over 30 years ago, for Tim Burton.
The film was reportedly set to be written by Christina Hodson, who was also the scribe behind other DC Universe films including the Harley Quinn-based Birds of Prey, which had critical acclaim upon its release, the soon-to-be-released The Flash, and the now-canceled Batgirl.
Keaton originally portrayed Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 1989 film Batman, subsequently reprising the role in the 1992 sequel, Batman Returns. More intriguingly, and perhaps more relevant, is that Keaton has already filmed an appearance in The Flash which will mark his long-awaited return to the role, but he also filmed scenes for Batgirl. The decision for Hodson to be assigned the writing task of this Beyond adaptation would make sense, given she had worked with Keaton on both of those films.
After the podcast went live, Umberto Gonzalez of TheWrap not only corroborated Sneider‘s report that a Michael Keaton-starring Batman film was being written by Hodson before being scrapped, but that it, in fact, was to be an adaptation of Batman Beyond. Developed by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, Batman Beyond is an animated series that premiered on Kids’ WB in 1999 as part of the DC Animated Universe. It took place in a futuristic version of Gotham City, which featured Kevin Conroy returning to the role of Bruce Wayne, acting as a mentor figure to teenager Terry McGinnis (voiced by Will Friedle of Boy Meets World fame), who took up the mantle as the new Batman.
Sneider speculated as to what happened to the project in his report, adding: “…[Gunn and Safran] came in and said, ‘Absolutely not,'” he said. “I’m sure that was part of the condition of even getting Keaton back in the first place… ‘You have to develop a solo movie for me.’ But I’m sure that they were just like, ‘Nope. We’re not messing with Batman. Batman is doing great right now, Matt Reeves‘ Batman. This, everything else Batman — or Joker — gone.'”
Given the unpredictable nature of DC, and Hollywood in general at the moment, this could end up performing a U-turn but for Bat-fans, the wish for a Beyond adaptation goes a little bit longer.