I Thoroughly enjoyed Matt Reeves’ The Batman. But as a Batman enthusiast, I have some suggestions for the path forward. As good as the movie was, it still did many of the same things Christopher Nolan’s trilogy did with the character. With Reeves and Pattinson on board for sequels, here are a few suggestions that would help expand the Batman universe in ways that haven’t been explored on screen before.
1. Dick Grayson (Robin 1/Nightwing):
The first Robin is one of the most important characters in Batman. Chris O’Donnell’s time as the character was fine in the 90’s (I loved his costume design minus the Bat nipples), but it’s time to bring back the most iconic sidekick in superhero comic lore. Despite what some may say, Batman is not meant to always be some grizzled loner. Not only does Robin bring comic relief as a young, snarky counterpart to Batman’s melancholy demeanor, but he provides a means to help Batman cope with his darker nature by being a mentor. Their relationship provides one of the biggest sources of character growth for the Dark Knight. A partnership and subsequent break up when Robin transitions into becoming Nightwing, would bring life to Pattinson’s emo Bruce and also set up an opportunity for a Nightwing solo movie in Bludhaven (a city teased by Zoe Kravtiz’s Catwoman at the end of The Batman). There are also a horde of young actors who would be perfect for this role.
2. The Court of Owls
There wasn’t much to like about DC’s New 52 reboot of all of their comics in 2011, but one of the best developments was The Court of Owls. Created by writer Scott Snyder, this chilling secret society of elites that run Gotham like the Illuminati would be perfect for Matt Reeves’ films. Their army of genetically engineered Talons would also give Batman a worthy army to go up against, and also give him a reason to take up a partner like Robin.
3. Hugo Strange
Only true Batman fans will recognize this name. Hugo Strange actually predates The Joker as a recurring Batman villain in the comics and is one of the most intelligent villains in DC. For some reason, he’s never been featured on film, relegated to video games and animation. He is the head of Arkham Asylum and one of the first villains to deduce Batman’s secret identity. With Arkham featuring heavily in The Batman, Strange would be an excellent followup to The Riddler in this gritty version of Gotham city.
4. The Red Hood
Jason Todd, the second Robin in the comics, went from being so dislikable that fans wanted him dead… to becoming an absolute fan favorite. After seemingly being murdered by The Joker, he reemerged as The Red Hood and became an adversary to Batman due to his willingness to cross the line and use guns and murder as a means to fight crime. Including Jason Todd might take more than one movie, but setting up his character in both sequels would make for an epic conclusion to a trilogy. If you need to know the potential of this character, I suggest you seek out the incredible animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood.
5. Poison Ivy
One of my personal favorite characters within the Batman universe. Uma Thurman’s cartoonish take on the character might’ve been fun for the 90’s, but this femme fatale desperately needs to be reinvented like The Riddler. While Zoe Kravitz was sensational in The Batman, the Catwoman character is more anti-hero than villain. Pamela Isley would be the perfect female adversary for the Batman. Even if they don’t want to go the comic route of having her control plants, reimagining the characters as a sexy, eco-terrorist using her skills of manipulation would challenge Batman in a way we haven’t truly seen on screen before.
Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke
The character was teased at the end of Joss Whedon’s subpar Justice League movie, but I was excited to see Joe Manganiello’s take on the character. He would’ve been a great adversary for Ben Affleck’s Batman. Bringing the character back as one of the few hired assassin’s capable of going toe to toe with the Dark Knight would be incredible to watch.
This would be difficult to do in this new Matt Reeves film trilogy, as it would require reintroducing Ra’s Al Guhl and his daughter Talia back on film as well as aging up Pattinson’s Batman. But Damien Wayne is easily one of the best characters in Batman lore. As the biological son of Bruce Wayne who was raised in The League of Shadows (or League of Assassins depending on the version), Damien is a Robin unlike any other. Dark, violent and highly skilled, his on-screen introduction forcing Bruce into a reluctant parental role would be a great source of character development.
There you have it. Those are my notes. If an exec from DC or Warner Bros. is reading… you’re welcome. I’ll take my check in the mail or accept a head advisor/producer role.