James Gunn Already Has An Unexpected But Significant Batman Problem

James Gunn Already Has An Unexpected But Significant Batman Problem
Image credit: Legion-Media

James Gunn and Peter Safran are intent on heading DC Studios into a new direction as their new co-CEO, already having created a master plan for the next ten years. But their plans create one problem with arguably their most important asset – Batman.

Part of Gunn and Safran's plan was recasting Superman, likely a move that will reset the series. There's a lot of uncertainty, but this seems to point to an entirely new Justice League – along with a new Batman.

Robert Pattinson 's version of the Dark Knight appeared in last year's The Batman, but Gunn has made clear that Pattinson's would be a standalone series, separate from the extended universe.

The DCEU's version with Ben Affleck – who starred alongside Henry Cavill as Superman – is reportedly not in the studio's long-term vision. Affleck will appear in the Aquaman sequel and the upcoming Flash movie, but will likely be recast going further. The Flash will also feature Michael Keaton, who starred in Tim Burton's Batman series decades ago. That's already three Batmen for DC in films.

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On top of that, Gunn recently announced that the next Superman movie will focus on a younger version of Superman, as compared to the mid-30s Cavill in the DCEU. It's a small but ultimately critical question to answer: How old will the next version of Batman be?

If the character is younger, roughly matching Superman's age, it would be too similar to Pattinson's Batman. Pattinson's Bruce Wayne was just starting his hero work, still inexperienced and working through kinks.

Having two Batmen in different films at the same time is confusing enough; portraying him at the same stage of his career would draw too many comparisons and cause too much intra-studio competition.

Making Batman older than Superman doesn't make it much better; Affleck's Batman had been fighting crime for 20 years before Cavill's Superman came into the picture. If Gunn and Safran want to differentiate themselves from the DCEU, they can't replicate plot points.

There is a small area between those two ages, somewhere between a brand-new hero and an old, grizzled one. The next Batman actor needs to be old enough that he could have viably been in action for a few years without being notably older than the new Superman.

In resetting this massive franchise amidst their ten-year plan, Gunn and Safran must keep their biggest hero original, and that starts with finding the Caped Crusader's perfect age.