So the news of a possible Nightwing movie directed by Chris McKay prompted this comment: “Not that I give them much credit for this, but they appear to be building a Batman extended universe much more than an overall DC Universe.” This is a A+ good comment because it points to the overall weakness of the DCEU and how it can be fixed.
The weakness: aside from the general lack of good movies, there is simply no planning in the films. Yeah, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice included a ton of future building for the Justice League movie, but it’s considered the weakest part of the film. Man of Steel and Suicide Squad, on the other hand, barely built their universe up at all — Man of Steel was mainly concerned with Superman and Suicide Squad was mainly concerned with...well, I have no idea, since that movie was a singular mess. In any case, despite all of the characters they introduced, the films don’t feel like they cohere into a whole universe.
And that’s because they don’t. Unlike Marvel Comics, which started out with Fantastic Four as a universe where characters regularly crossed over and met each other and fought, the DC characters all lived in their own separate universes and, on some occasions, crossed over. But unlike, say, Spider-Man and Iron Man and the Fantastic Four, whom you can just see all living in the same city, Batman and Superman and Green Lantern were all living in completely different cities with completely different ways of telling stories.
The solution: embrace that. You remember the “Batman Extended Universe”? Do it. And do a “Green Lantern Extended Universe.” And do a “Superman Extended Universe.” Keep them separate. And then, when you are ready, have them combine into a giant crossover — let’s say it’s called Darkest Night.
Here’s how I would plan out a Batman Extended Universe:
Directed by Matt Reeves, starring Ben Affleck.
Of course, this one should come first. Batman is at the center of the Batman Extended Universe. This one should also try and introduce some or all of the supporting Bat-Family — Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, etc. They might not have a lot of screen time, but just have they appear to show viewers that they exist — kind of like Hawkeye’s cameo in Thor.
I’d actually base this movie on Zero Year, although without the “origin of Batman” elements to it. We don’t need to see the Waynes get killed again, but I would love to see an incredibly smart and dark version of the Riddler who takes control of Gotham City.
Directed by Chris McKay, starring Matt Bomer.
This will be next and it will introduce a lot more of the Batman-verse: specifically, it will have a lot more of Dick Grayson (of course), Barbara Gordon, and even Tim Drake. It’s actually base on the plot on Grayson, where Helena Bertanelli tries to recruit Dick to work for Spyral, a spy organization dedicated to knowing all of the secrets. In fact, we could actually set this film and The Batman at the exact same time so that this is the reason why Dick doesn’t help Bruce and vice versa.
At the end of the film, after Nightwing has successfully defeated the conspiracy, he gets a hint about who, in fact, is behind Spyral: something called “the Black Glove.”
Gotham City Sirens
After the Joker and Harley finally call it quits between them (it was slightly less mutual than Harley wants to admit), Harley teams up with Poison Ivy and Catwoman to take a job that will take them far from Gotham. Where they end up is possibly the worst place in the world — Bialya — and where they find that it will take all of their skills to get out of the trouble they have got themselves in.
Basically, I’m kind of writing this one off as a fun romp. If Ayer can make it work better than Suicide Squad, great for him. The point of the movie would be to expand the world of DC and Batman — and introduce Catwoman (Rosamund Pike), of course, who will end up playing an important role later on.
This is where things kick into high gear. Based on Batwoman: Elegy, this movie would basically be the origin and character study of Kate Kane as she becomes the Batwoman and comes to grips with her past and finding out that her twin sister is still alive.
Sean Durkin was the director of Martha Marcy May Marlene and the TV show Southcliffe, exploring tragedy and grief, while Rebecca Hall is, I think, pretty much perfect for Kate Kane: able to be funny, but also to be incredibly intense. Just watch Christine.
The end of the film would tie back into Nightwing to reveal that Alice, Kate’s sister, works for the Black Glove.
Birds of Prey
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Jessica Chastain.
Barbara Gordon, now known as “Oracle,” can see that war is on the horizon for Gotham and Batman still prefers working alone, so she decides to assemble a team on her own. For this film, let’s bring in pretty much all of the female Bat-family — Huntress (now retired from Spyral), Black Canary, Spoiler, and even Cassandra Cain, who comes to Oracle from the mysterious Lady Shiva, who knows what the Black Glove is and when they will strike. First, however, they must deal with a huge gang war breaking out and the leader of the largest of the gangs: Black Mask.
In the end, it turns out that Black Mask was working for the Black Glove, but when he tries to become a member of the elite group, they kill him.
This, then, leads to the climax:
Directed by Matt Reeves, starring Ben Affleck, Matt Bomer, Jessica Chastain, Rosamund Pike, and lots more.
The Black Glove finally make their move and isolate not just Gotham City, but Batman himself. They invade the Batcave and capture Batman, injecting him with hallucinogens and then burying him six feet underground.
As Nightwing, Robin, Catwoman, Batwoman, and the Birds of Prey try to stop the bevy of supervillains that the Black Glove lets loose from Arkham, Batman emerges from his grave...as the Batman of Zurr En Arr, a version of Batman who is just as insane as the city around him. Can he come back from the edges of madness enough to stop the Black Glove and Doctor Hurt? Or will this finally be the end of the Dark Knight?
If Ben Affleck decides not to continue being Batman, this would actually be where he would really die and Dick Grayson would take over. It would make a lot more logical sense to build up to Batman’s death than the non-buildup to Superman’s death in Batman v Superman.
In any case, what do you guys think?