The DC Universe (DCU) is facing a challenge with casting the next Batman due to a unique age-related predicament. Similar to iconic figures like Superman, Spider-Man, and James Bond, Batman’s role has been portrayed by various actors over the years. However, the recent surge in Batman portrayals within a short span poses a dilemma for the new heads of DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran, as they prepare to cast the next Dark Knight for the upcoming DCU project, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”
Since the 1966 Batman film starring Adam West, seven actors have taken on the mantle of Bruce Wayne’s Batman in live-action movies. Notably, Ben Affleck’s tenure in the Snyderverse and Robert Pattinson’s role in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” trilogy have brought two distinct versions of Batman to the forefront. This poses an age-related challenge for the new casting.
Selecting a younger Batman would risk overlapping with Pattinson’s relatively new portrayal, while an older Batman would resemble Affleck’s seasoned interpretation. Additionally, opting for a completely new Batman would mean retreading an origin story, which could feel stale. Complicating matters, the DCU’s Superman, played by David Corenswet, is set to be in his early 20s, suggesting Batman’s age should be compatible for their dynamic.
A potential solution is emulating Tim Burton’s approach in his 1989 Batman film. Michael Keaton’s Batman was already established in his crime-fighting career, while the villains received their origin stories. This strategy could provide a unique Batman alongside Pattinson’s younger version and consider Affleck’s legacy. Aligning with Corenswet’s Superman, a slightly younger Batman in his late 20s or early 30s might make sense, especially with the introduction of Batman’s son, Damian Wayne, as Robin.
However, this predicament arises from past franchise missteps with the DC Comics IP, as rapid recasting of Batman before Affleck’s tenure concluded has led to this challenge. To engage audiences, new portrayals of classic characters must offer novelty while fitting into the broader shared universe. Thus, Gunn and Safran confront the intricate task of selecting a Batman who stands out while harmonizing with the evolving DCU landscape.