After ‘Dark Knight’: What if Tim Burton took back Gotham?

Feb. 10, 2012 | 10:34 a.m.


The end is near — when the credits roll on “The Dark Knight Rises” this July, it will mark the close of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the final adventure for Christian Bale as the caped crusader of Gotham City. Warner Bros. executives have made it clear they won’t leave the iconic property sitting on a shelf, however, and a new director and star tandem could be inhabiting Wayne Manor by 2014. But how on Earth will any filmmaker follow the work of Nolan and company? Working together, Hero Complex lead writer Geoff Boucher and graphic artist Sean Hartter came up with 15 imaginary Batman reboots — and, yes, they did it with tongue in cheek.

5burton batman hartter final After Dark Knight: What if Tim Burton took back Gotham?

Tim Burton: "The Dark Knight Returns" (Sean Hartter / For Hero Complex)

Tim Burton’s “The Dark Knight Returns” Long before Christopher Nolan set foot in the Batcave, iconic director Tim Burton made Hollywood history with two Gotham City films. Now he returns with a film that adapts the landmark Frank Miller mini-series “The Dark Knight Returns” that finds Batman (Michael Keaton) returning from retirement for the final battle with his arch-enemy, the Joker (Jack Nicholson). Also starring Chloe Moretz as Carrie Kelly, Michael Douglas as Superman, Helena Bonham Carter as Selina Kyle and Jeff Bridges as Oliver Queen.

5snyder batman hartter final After Dark Knight: What if Tim Burton took back Gotham?

Zack Snyder: "World's Finest" (Sean Hartter / For Hero Complex)

Zack Snyder’s World’s Finest“: Producer Chris Nolan and director Zack Snyder are bringing Superman back to the screen in 2013 and that sets the stage for this 2014 film — the ultimate superhero pairing and a way to ease Batman into a DC on-screen universe where other heroes exist. Gerard Butler (Snyder’s “300”) stars as Batman, Henry Cavill returns as Superman and the two better find a way to work together with Lex Luthor (Bryan Cranston) and the Joker (Jackie Earle Haley) on the loose.

5scott batman hartter final After Dark Knight: What if Tim Burton took back Gotham?

Ridley Scott: "Batman Beyond" (Sean Hartter / For Hero Complex)

Ridley Scott’s “Batman Beyond”: After three decades, Ridley Scott has returned to sci-fi with “Prometheus” and now keeps it going with “Batman Beyond,” an adaptation of the well-regarded animated series. Scott’s favorite leading man, Russell Crowe, portrays the aging Bruce Wayne while rising star Josh Hutcherson is Terry McGinnis, a brash young street kid who finds himself wearing a high-tech battle suit as the protege of the still-fierce hero of Gotham City. Sigourney Weaver reunites with her “Alien” director to play Commissioner Barbara Gordon and her “Avatar” co-star Stephen Lang is Derek Powers, the tycoon who takes control of Wayne Enterprises but is destined to become the radioactive menace called Blight.

— Geoff Boucher and Sean Hartter


wax3 After Dark Knight: What if Tim Burton took back Gotham?Monday: Matthew Vaughn’s “Batman: Mad City”; Todd Phillips’ “Dude, Where’s My Batmobile?”; Wes Anderson’s “Alfred Pennyworth: The Life Nocturnal”

Tuesday: Rob Marshall’s “Gotham!”; Brad Bird’s “Mr. Freeze’s Icy Revenge”; Guillermo del Toro’s “Batman”

Wednesday: Ang Lee’s “Wayne Manor”; Catherine Hardwicke’s “Batman: Moonlight”; Guy Ritchie’s “Gotham by Gaslight”

Thursday: Martin Scorsese’s “Batman: Caped Fear”; Hayao Miyazaki’s “Batmite”; Neill Blomkamp’s “Batman: Arkham City”

Monday, Feb. 13: Vote for your favorite — and submit your own Batfilm ideas.


christophernolan tall After Dark Knight: What if Tim Burton took back Gotham?Christopher Nolan opens up about Bane choice

Hathaway: Catwoman modeled on Hedy Lamarr

Christian Bale says goodbye to Gotham

‘Dark Knight Rises’: Tom Hardy as Bane

Nolan on his favorite scene in ‘Dark Knight’

‘DKR’: Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

‘DKR’: The Bat, the Rat and the Cat

Michael Keaton’s dark memories of ‘Batman’

Nolan: Hollywood takes too many shortcuts

FIRST LOOK: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ toys


11 Responses to After ‘Dark Knight’: What if Tim Burton took back Gotham?

  1. Daron Aronofsky is still a great option, and realistically, if they want to continue to be taken seriously post-Nolan, he’s somebody who could bring a new visual style and a different kind of grit. Ridley Scott is probably too old, Tim Burton has lost something in the last ten years, Zack Snyder needs to move into neo-noir or crime drama if he’s going to ever break away from the comic book/computer graphics ilk of film making. I think any ambitious director who hasn’t fallen into a comfortable niche and still needs to make his/her mark will be working hard on a pitch about now, if they’ve not delivered it already. Daunting all the same.

  2. Alex says:

    Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor would be pretty cool.

  3. livingcinema says:


  4. Joey says:

    No way do I want Tim Burton to make a Batman movie. He doesn't even attempt to go by the comics. Batman was halfway decent but Batman returns sucked.

    Batman Beyond no way do I want to see fake batman. Concentrate on real batman awhile with other stories than you can do a Batman Beyond. We need to set up Batman for Justice League first.

    • Matt says:

      Both Burton's Bat films are excellent. He consulted Alan Moore before directing. Nolan's films aren't literal adaptations of the comics either. If you want that version, read the comics or hope for a hack who just films them panel for panel. Far more interesting to see a director with an individual voice interpret that world and show it to us through his eyes rather than slavishly sticking to the source.

  5. jake vogel says:

    Almost every lilkid who grewup in America wanted to be a Superhero, we all have-had our favorites to. Mine have always been Batman & Spiderman, but Batman’s #1 though. B4 Batmanbegins I HATED every non Nolan film. So I’m very upset that he’s ending it with a 3rd instead of 4films. I wanted to see another with Riddler, Penguin or Blackmask & maybe Harleyquin, Poisenivy as female villians. So whoever WB chooses to takeover Batman, hopefully can fill the shoes of Nolan & Bale as Batman.

  6. Deb says:

    batman:moonlight .. lolz, no way tim burton but efficient cast though in dark knight returns, want eric bana/ jude law to play batman next franchise, with robert downey getting a part

  7. JAB says:

    Burton got The Dark Knight right with "Batman Returns". As much as I hate to see Nolan leave the franchise we should be grateful that we got 3 movies from him (of course, I'm assuming that '12's TDK will be a worthy successor of the past 2.)
    The only sure-fire way to reboot is to go back to source that started it all in the first place. A page for page filming of Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" would be absolutely awesome! The book gives you all the storyboards you need. The biggest problem would be recasting The Joker after Heath Ledger's legendary performance in that role, but I'm sure there are actors out who might be able to pull that off.

  8. RDJ says:

    Good choice on Scott for Batman Beyond, if only for stylistic reasons. It may be far away from the batman that people are used to seeing. Done right though it may provide a means of rebooting the series without leaving too bad a taste in peoples mouth. Go with a blade runner like look. Let Gotham evolve beyond what is seen in the Nolan series, and age Bruce significantly. Treat it like an evolution off of Nolan's universe and let the justice league film fall somewhere in between with a different cast. Restrain it by many of the same laws that the Nolan universe was governed by and tell a hard noir story some how rotating around the rebirth of Batman.

  9. @undefined says:

    Tim Burton returning for one more Bat-flick would be AMAZING. And "The Dark Knight Returns" would be perfect inspiration, once more. Michael Keaton (the best Batman by far) is 60 years old now. Who better than he to portray a retired Batman. Just imagine how everyone would feel if Danny Elfman's amazing score entered our ears in a darkened theater one more time!__Of course, some elements would have to be changed. Being that Batman killed The Joker in the original film, Joker could only appear in a flashback scene, or possibly a hallusination caused by Scarecrow (perfect for setting up a cameo for Jack Nicholeson! Also, Michelle Pfeifer (the best Catwoman) would reprise her role (perhaps finally get closure as to what happened to her after surviving Max Schreck's attempt(s) on her life, as well as the romantic spark she shared with Bruce in the second film.__A Batman film based on "The Dark Knight Returns" is absolutely the BEST way for Burton's Bat-universe to conclude in a trilogy of its own… and I can't think of a more epic return to cinema for fans of Batman in the movies.__The biggest obstacle would be convincing Warner Bros. and Burton to do it.

  10. Nathaniel Stamper says:

    would love to see Burton and Keaton return for a third

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