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For years, DC fans have put forth the idea of Michael Keaton returning to the role of Bruce Wayne by way of a live-action Batman Beyond film. If he was too old to play the Dark Knight, went the rationale, then why not have him pass on the torch to a new generation of Gotham City vigilantes led by Terry McGinnis? It would be a great way to have our Caped Crusader cake and eat it, too.
Warner Bros. seemed to have listened to our pleas because according to entertainment journalist Jeff Sneider, the studio was purportedly working on a "solo Batman movie" with Keaton and Birds of Prey scribe, Christina Hodson before James Gunn and Peter Safran took over DC Films and axed the project. While Sneider — who dropped this alleged scoop on the most recent episode of The Hot Mic podcast — didn't have many details on the matter, it was The Wrap's Umberto Gonzales who later tweeted at Sneider, writing: "The 'solo' Michael Keaton Batman movie you're talking about that Christina Hodson was writing, was in fact the BATMAN BEYOND movie."
"Yep," agreed The Flash Film News Twitter account. "The BATMAN BEYOND film was a ‘solution’ to the Batman problem for the DCU. This would have allowed the DCU to have a Batman and keeping Reeves universe separate."
As we know, Hodson wrote the screenplays for two confirmed movies featuring Keaton as Batman — next summer's The Flash and the canceled Batgirl movie at HBO Max — both of which have endured less-than-stellar media frenzies over the past year.
"She seems like the DC in-house writer, what's she been working on?" mused Sneider. "That's what I heard, a solo Batman movie starring Michael Keaton that they [Gunn and Safran] came in and said, 'Absolutely not.' I'm sure that was part of the condition of even getting Keaton back in the first place, was like, 'You have to develop a solo for me.' But I'm sure that they were just like, 'Nope! We're not messing with Batman. Batman is doing great right now [under Matt Reeves]. Everything else Batman or Joker...gone.'"
This week, The Hollywood Reporter ran a lengthy article on the massive overhaul of DC's film and television endeavors, strongly hinting that Gunn and Safran hope to wipe the slate clean. The takeaway is that they intend to wipe out the continuity of the "Snyderverse" and start afresh with new actors playing the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and other heroes who haven't gotten the big screen treatment yet.
"We know we are not going to make every single person happy every step of the way, but we can promise everything we do is done in the service of the STORY and in the service of the DC CHARACTERS we know you cherish and we have cherished our whole lives," Gunn tweeted Thursday, addressing the THR story head-on before rumors and audience backlash could spiral out of control. "As for more answers about the future of the DCU, I will sadly have to ask you to wait. We are giving these characters and the stories the time and attention they deserve — and we ourselves still have a lot more questions to ask and answer."
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