James Gunn has finally announced his reboot of the DC Universe will include a film about Batman and Robin titled The Brave and the Bold. This project will follow the Caped Crusader as he fights crime alongside his biological son, Damian Wayne. With this great news, there must also come the great question: “Who will be the next Batman?”
It is clear that Ben Affleck plans to hang up his cape and cowl, and Michael Keaton doesn’t seem to be taking his place anymore, so it looks like DC will bring in a fresh new face for this illustrious role. There will undoubtedly be an extensive search for the right person to play the Dark Knight, but there are already a few actors who seem destined to defend the citizens of Gotham City.
Before Robert Pattinson was cast to play Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’s The Batman, Nicholas Hoult was the studio’s second choice to portray the character. But now, he might have another shot to claim the role of Gotham’s greatest hero in Gunn’s DC Universe.
Hoult has already established himself as an action hero with his role as Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road and as Beast in the X-Men prequels. The latter makes him a veteran of the superhero genre who knows how to harness his rage and unleash the beast (pun intended), much like Batman. Hoult has spent time away from huge blockbusters in recent years, but playing Bruce Wayne could be what he needs to jumpstart his career once more.
Jon Hamm has had extraordinary success playing the kind of suave businessman Bruce Wayne portrays himself as in the Emmy-winning drama series Mad Men. His work playing Don Draper on the show has long made him a natural pick to play the World’s Greatest Detective in the DC Universe.
On top of that, he’s had experience starring in action-packed films like Baby Driver and The Town, proving that he can transform into the charismatic and battle-hardened hero that Gotham needs.
Bradley Cooper has had a great journey into Hollywood superstardom. He escaped being typecast as the conceited jerk in some of his earlier work such as Wedding Crashers and played more layered characters in American Sniper, Silver Linings Playbook, Nightmare Alley, and A Star is Born. Without a doubt, this Oscar-nominated actor can bring Batman’s complex and tortured character to life on the big screen.
Cooper has already worked with James Gunn before, as he voiced Rocket Raccoon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically in the director’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. He was even a producer of DC’s acclaimed film, Joker, so he already has some connections to the Batman universe. Combined with stellar acting skills, his already significant role in the superhero genre makes him an ideal candidate to play the new Dark Knight.
Once upon a time, Jake Gyllenhaal was considered to play the Dark Knight in Christopher Nolan’s landmark film Batman Begins, only for that honor to go to Christian Bale. But having since received acclaim for his roles in films like Brokeback Mountain, Prisoners, and Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal has repeatedly proven himself to be an accomplished actor worthy of playing the legendary vigilante.
Though Gyllenhaal finally made his debut in the superhero genre in Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019, playing Batman in the new DC Universe could be the role he’s been preparing for his entire career. Similar to Christian Bale and Robert Pattinson, Gyllenhaal has experimented with method acting in the past for his roles, but the fact that he has since eased up on this approach to enjoy his craft better could allow him to play a more unique and well-rounded Batman that audiences can get on board with.
Jensen Ackles is widely known for playing the lead role of Dean Winchester on the CW’s Supernatural. However, he made a smash in 2022 for his performance as the hyper-masculine “superhero” Soldier Boy in the third season of Amazon Prime’s The Boys. Though his character was a twisted hybrid of Superman and Captain America, Ackles conveyed the gruff and grizzled vigilante one would find in one of Clint Eastwood’s classic Westerns, which fits Batman like one of his leather gloves.
Ackles stands out above the rest because he has already lent his talents to portray the Caped Crusader, having voiced the iconic character in the acclaimed animated film Batman: The Long Halloween. But he was already DC alumnus for playing Jason Teague in Smallville and Bruce Wayne’s fallen ward, Jason Todd, in Batman: Under the Red Hood. Based on his extensive filmography in the superhero genre, Ackles has displayed the right amount of grit in both live-action and animation needed to portray the Dark Knight in the new DC Universe.