When The Batman comes to theaters in 2021, it's important for the future of DC's films that Warner Bros. leave the Dark Knight Detective alone for a while. Batman's appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the beginning of the DC shared universe, but like Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, it's important that Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson get to develop their Batman as a character that can be fully fleshed out, and his world fleshed out, without having to worry about bumping into established continuity in other places. The Snyder films, for instance, start late in Batman's life but give a pretty clear sense that certain, specific stories have happened.
Meanwhile, Joker gives us a version of Batman's greatest villain specifically tied to a time long enough ago that Pattinson's Batman would have to be beating on somebody old enough to qualify for Social Security in order to make the continuity work. And, as we have seen with recent rumors, it's basically impossible to do a Batman franchise without eventually wanting to bring in The Joker.
As noted in this week's episode of Comic Book Nation, this Batman Trilogy feels like it has the opportunity to be, like the most complete Batman Universe live action story. While The Dark Knight Trilogy told a complete story, it was a Christopher Nolan story, not really attempting to embrace all aspects of Batman's personality and history. From the sound of things, Reeves is much more open to incorporating a number of heroes and villains from all over Gotham in the new series, and that feels like an idea with a ton of potential.
Given the exposure that virtually every member of the Bat-family has had on TV in recent years (Nightwing and Jason Todd on Titans; Batwoman on her show, along with Luke Fox), it would not be unreasonable to assume that a stand-alone Batman franchise would likely stray from the "lone avenger" approach taken by Burton and Nolan and see him more as a mentor for the Bat-family, as he has been in virtually every comic book story for years now. That would also give a huge new audience of fans their first chance to get to know characters like Jason Todd, Kate Kane, and others who have not, up until now, been included in the big-budget blockbusters that help to shape the public perception of these characters.
We'll have to see how much they actually manage to do with the films -- assuming of course that the first one does well enough to get sequels, although that feels almost like a foregone conclusion. In any event, you can check out this week's podcast for way more talk about the upcoming Bat-franchise from our panel of experts.