The Batman of Tomorrow is a comic book series that will be debuting in October 2021. It is set in a dystopian society that is controlled by mega-corporations. The story follows a man named Bruce Wayne as he tries to save people from the tyranny of the corporations by donning the iconic Batman costume and fighting the evil mastermind that is slowly taking over the world.
Actor and comedian Robert Pattinson will be playing Batman in the upcoming series. If you’re a fan of Batman, then you’ll want to read on to see what the future of the character looks like.
A History Of Batman In Film And Television
Batman has been a major character in film and television for over 80 years. He originally debuted in the film series directed by director Alfred Hitchcock in 1939. Hollywood wouldn’t let Batman rest during the golden era, as he was one of the most popular characters in all of cinema. He would go on to appear in several more Hitchcock films before starring in his own solo Batman film in 2005. Since that time, the popularity of the Batman character has continued to rise, with several more films and television shows being made about the Dark Knight.
It’s been well over a century since The Man Who Found Himself first donned the famous brown and black costume. Since then, several actors have played Batman in various films and television shows. Here’s a look at some of the most influential portrayals of the superhero over the years.
Tim Burton (1989 – 1993):
Director Tim Burton’s 1989 live-action Batman movie is considered one of the greatest superhero films ever made. It’s certainly one of the most influential superhero films of all time. Burton’s Batman, unlike the other incarnations you’ll read about here, didn’t wear a mask. The film is set in an alternate reality where the characters aren’t necessarily based on real people, but it’s still very much inspired by the Golden Age of comic books (the 1930s through the 1950s). You’ll remember Burton’s Joker, whom he described as being “part Tim, part Hannibal, part Sigmund, and part Abbott and Costello.”
Burton would go on to direct another live-action Batman movie in 1992. While it wasn’t as popular as the original film (grossing only $73 million dollars worldwide compared to the original’s $77 million), it’s still regarded as one of the best Batman movies. In the years following the release of the second movie, Burton went on to direct two more films about the Dark Knight: 1995’s Batman Returns and the criminally under-appreciated 1997 film, Batman Forever. However, following the financial failure of Batman Forever, Warner Bros. decided not to renew Burton’s contract. The studio head, Alan J. Pakula, stated that “maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally found a movie that doesn’t work.” So, instead of trying to make another Batman movie, they decided to reboot the whole franchise, starting with Batman Begins in 2005.
Jackie Earle Haley (1989 – 1991):
Prolific director and screenwriter Jackie Earle Haley (The Windsors, Do You Remember?, Roots) made his directorial debut with 1989’s Batman. Like Burton, Haley went for a more realistic approach to his first Batman movie. In fact, Haley even said he based the character’s look on his own son. While the first film only had a limited release in theaters (mostly in the Northeast), it became something of a sleeper hit, earning $60 million dollars at the box office and becoming a fan favorite. A sequel was almost immediately produced, but due to creative differences between the film’s producers and the director (Haley), it was never released in theaters.
Haley would go on to direct two more Batman movies: 1992’s Batman Returns, where he revamped the entire Arkham Asylum sequence, and the criminally under-appreciated 1996 film, Batman Forever. While he wasn’t given free rein to do whatever he wanted with the character like he had in the original 1989 film, the sequels are actually considered to be among the best Batman movies, if not the best. Many fans argue that Batman Forever, in particular, is the best of the Batman movies. (Haley denied this, though.)
Michael Keaton (2005 – 2013):
Actor Michael Keaton took over the mantle of Batman for director Christopher Nolan’s 2005 reboot of the franchise. Keaton was known for playing villains in comedies, such as 1997’s Batman Forever and the upcoming Shaft, so it was somewhat of a departure for Nolan to cast him as the superhero. Still, Nolan liked the idea of bringing a darker take on Batman in the years following the end of the Cold War. It’s also how the director approached it in his 2006 film, The Prestige.
Keaton’s Batman has become one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood over the past decade and a half, making him one of the most popular superheroes of all time. Keaton has since gone on to star in two more movies about Batman, The Dark Knight Rises in summer 2012 and the upcoming Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016.
Bradley Cooper (2015 – Present):
Actor Bradley Cooper took the role of Batman in director Matt Reeves’ 2015 film, The Dark Knight Rises. The film was a commercial and critical success, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time (tied with 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron) and earning six Golden Globe nominations. Since then, Cooper has starred in two more films about Batman, the upcoming sequel, The Batman (set for release on June 25, 2022) and Aquaman (set for release on December 21, 2022), as well as appearing alongside Ryan Reynolds in the upcoming film, Ford v. Ferrari.
Like Reeves’ other cinematic collaborations, Downsizing and War for the Planet of the Apes, The Dark Knight Rises was a critical and commercial triumph. Following the blockbuster success of The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. decided to renew Cooper’s contract for a third and possibly a fourth Batman film.
The New Batman (2021 – Present):
Warner Bros. released the first look at the new Dark Knight, played by actor and comedian, Robert Pattinson, in a teaser trailer earlier this year.
The Batman of Tomorrow is set in a dystopian future where mega-corporations have taken over and the government is corrupt. Bruce Wayne is a businessman who gets caught up in a gang conflict and starts to question the morality of what he’s doing. After an incident where he loses one of his employees, he decides to don the iconic Batman costume and take on the system head on. The movie is the brainchild of filmmaker and actor/comedian Dave McCaig. In an interview with ComicBook.com, McCaig said he took inspiration from films like The Dark Knight and Black Panther as well as comic books like The Dark Knight Returns and The Shadow.
“What I really liked about it is the idea that the government has completely collapsed under the weight of the system. People are doing whatever they can to survive, and that’s really at the heart of the movie,” he said. “It’s a very cynical and realistic take on a very classic superhero narrative. I think that’s what makes it interesting – that it pulls on so many different elements of classic superhero stories without ever having to resort to traditional superhero clichés.”
Pattinson will be the first actor to play Batman since Michael Keaton in 2005. While many fans were initially skeptical about whether Pattinson was the right choice to play Batman, they have since warmed up to the decision, as the actor has become one of the most popular figures in Hollywood over the past two years.
“We are thrilled that Warner Bros. has given us the opportunity to work with such a brilliant and iconic character. We look forward to sharing more about him in the coming months,” Pattinson said.