Over the course of the last few years, Denis Villeneuve has slowly but surely established himself as one of Hollywood's top filmmakers. From Prisoners to Sicario and Arrival, he has shown a knack for darkly visceral storytelling that's almost unparalleled. Now, with Blade Runner 2049 proving itself as one of the most enjoyable science fiction epics in recent memory, one thing has become increasingly clear: if a Batman Beyond movie ever gets made, Villeneuve is the filmmaker who needs to bring it to life.
First, let's get some background information. Batman Beyond is a fan-favorite corner of The Dark Knight mythos that originates from a classic DC animation series that debuted back in 1999. Taking place in a futuristic, dystopian version of Gotham City, the series follows an aging Bruce Wayne as he trains troubled teenager Terry McGinnis to replace him under the cowl when his heart can no longer take the strain of being Batman anymore. The series ran for three seasons, and it has become widely regarded by many fans as one of the best additions to the main Batman canon in recent memory -- even going on to get its own popular run in DC Comics. Many fans have clamored to see a Batman Beyond movie for quite some time, and Denis Villeneuve's work on Blade Runner 2049 perfectly establishes that he's the right storyteller for the job.
All you have to do is compare the visual styles of Batman Beyond and Blade Runner 2049 to get how this could work. The Neo-Gotham City landscape created by the futuristic Batman cartoon drew numerous inspirations from Ridley Scott's original Blade Runner -- from the angular, monolithic buildings to the futuristic flying cars.
Compare that to the landscape shot by Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins in Blade Runner 2049, and it's not hard to see the DNA shared between these two properties. Just look at 2049's depiction of a grim, burned out Los Angeles; it's not hard to imagine Terry McGinnis out there kicking some ass in his high tech batsuit.
The world of Blade Runner 2049 feels dirty, grimy, and lived-in, while also maintaining an alien sensibility to it. Crimes occur here, but they are futuristic and terrifying in a way that honors the noir atmosphere of a traditional Batman story while also providing audiences with something new.
Beyond the fact that Denis Villeneuve has clearly proven that he knows how to nail the visuals of a Batman Beyond-esque universe, his work with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford on Blade Runner 2049 also shows how well he could operate within the Bruce Wayne/Terry McGinnis dynamic. Much like the relationship between Rick Deckard and Officer K, the interplay between Bruce and Terry is built on mutual pain, with a rough balance of antagonism and respect. Villeneuve knows how to tell a story about two damaged men of different generations coming together in the face of a more significant threat, and that is the core emotional throughline of a Batman Beyond story.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Blade Runner 2049 showed the world precisely what Denis Villeneuve can do when he decides to operate in a world that's not his own. He resurrected the Blade Runner universe with shocking fidelity to the source material and an evident reverence for the work of those who came before him. When dealing in a comic book universe as unique and beloved as Batman Beyond, that's an invaluable trait for a filmmaker to possess. Villeneuve would do his homework, and he would apply his talents in a way that works for the world of Terry McGinnis and an aging Bruce Wayne. For us fans who have waited almost two decades to see a Batman Beyond movie, that is not something to be taken lightly.
Only time will tell if Warner Bros. will ever even decide to make a Batman Beyond movie. With that said, if the studio ever opts to turn this beloved DC property into a reality, then Denis Villeneuve is almost certainly the right man for the job. Until that day comes, Blade Runner 2049 is now in theaters -- and not doing great business, despite rave reviews, so make sure to check it out!