The Dark Knight Rises only came out three years ago, but the next phase of Batman’s big screen future is about to begin. Ben Affleck will debut as the new Bruce Wayne next year in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and he will also be one of the leading heroes in the Justice League films. For months there have also been reports that DC is planning a solo Batman film for their cinematic lineup between now and 2020, and now a new rumor says that the Caped Crusader’s next adventure may come out in 2018. Currently titled The Batman, the project could be directed by Affleck himself and written by Chris Terrio, who not only worked with Affleck on Argo, but also rewrote the Batman V Superman script.

If a new Batman film is indeed on the way, whether it’s in 2018 or another year, there are several steps that the film should take to distinguish it from the previous seven live-action endeavors (eight if you count the 1966 Batman TV series film). Affleck has shown his directing talent with films like The Town and Argo, so if anybody can give us a unique adventure for the Dark Knight in the DCCU, it’s him. Here are the five things that need to be included in the next Batman film.

Batman Actually Being A Detective
Batman Actually Being A Detective
We’ve seen Batman show off his badass fighting skills and stealth in previous movies, but rarely have we seen him use that magnificent brain of his to its full potential. After two live-action film series, it’s about time we seem him earn the title World’s Greatest Detective. Give him a murder to solve. Show him analyze evidence. Have him chase down leads. Watching Batman beat criminals to a pulp is always fun, but it’s also great to see the Caped Crusader venture into Gotham City’s seedy depths to solve crimes rather than just pound villains into submission. Think about it, one of the longstanding Batman comic book titles for decades has been Detective Comics! As action-packed as the next Batman film will be, there needs to be an element of mystery in the story. Bruce Wayne trained his mind just as much as his body, and the general audience needs to see his intelligence in action.
Adapt The Under The Red Hood Storyline
Adapt The Under The Red Hood Storyline
Although there are plenty of classic Batman storylines for the next Batman film to pull from, the DCCU is already prepped for an adaptation of the 2010 animated film Batman: Under The Red Hood, which saw Batman’s former sidekick Jason Todd revived from the dead and going on a brutal mission of vengeance against the man who killed him: The Joker. It’s been reported that by the time Suicide Squad happens, the Clown Prince of Crime has already killed Jason, and in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Batcave houses a memorial to the fallen Robin. In a world that has a mighty alien, a demigod princess, a water-breathing monarch, and more, it would be easy enough to bring Jason back to life via the Lazarus Pit or another miraculous tool. Jason’s death haunted Batman for years, so imagine how he’ll react when his old protégé is not just alive, but fighting crime in a way he doesn’t condone.
Nightwing
Nightwing
Despite the rumors from 2013, it doesn’t sound like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will have Dick Grayson appear, so the next Batman movie might be the best time to introduce him to the DCCU. However, unlike Chris O’Donnell’s version of the character, the DCCU Dick wouldn’t be fighting alongside Batman as Robin, but out on his own as Nightwing. Instead of retreading the Boy Wonders years, it’s time we see Dick stand on his own and help Batman out not as a direct partner, but as a fellow vigilante. If the threat Batman is facing proves too difficult to handle alone, he can call Nightwing away from Blüdhaven to assist him. From there we can learn what happened between these two that led to them going their separate ways, whether it was Dick simply wanting to strike out on his own or a bad disagreement.
Tease The Court Of Owls
Tease The Court Of Owls
Ben Affleck’s Batman has been on a mission of justice in Gotham City for over 10 years, so by now you’d think he knows everything about his home territory, right? Wrong. There’s a mysterious underground organization that has been secretly operating without him knowing: the Court of Owls. Created in 2011 by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, the Court is a secret society (who shroud their faces with the masks seen above) full of the elite and prosperous that has been pulling Gotham City’s strings for centuries. Almost all of Gotham’s citizens believe them to be a myth used to spook children, and those few who know the truth know not to cross them. To enforce their will and eliminate anyone who stands in their way, they rely on Talons, their army of undead assassins. The first movie needs to tease the Court’s shadowy presence and set them up as the main antagonists for the sequel. What better adversary to pit Batman against than a group that’s been under his nose the whole time?
Oracle
Oracle
Barbara Gordon is primarily known as Batgirl, but for several decades she went by another alias: Oracle. After being paralyzed by The Joker in The Killing Joke, Barbara didn’t let her disability get the best of her, and several years later she became Oracle, one of the DC Universe’s best hackers and information brokers. These days she’s back to being Batgirl in the comics, but the DCCU would be wise to feature her as the computer expert who feeds Bruce Wayne intel on his cases. Like with Jason, Barbara can be another example of The Joker’s atrocities (though they don’t need to show this traumatic event in a flashback), but instead of being looked at as a victim, she uses her unique skills to help out behind the scenes. Batman already has plenty of superhero allies to help him in the field, but few have the expertise that Oracle provides.

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