The future of DC Comics on the big screen has finally gotten a bit clearer in recent months, as co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran have unveiled a piece of the initial slate for the upcoming DCU, with The Brave and the Bold being the introduction of its Dark Knight. It’s admittedly somewhat whiplash-inducing that fans are, once again, speculating as to who will play another live-action version of DC Comics’ beloved brooding superhero, namely since Matt Reeves’ tantalizing crime-noir The Batman Part II is also on the way.
Nonetheless, The Brave and the Bold already has a unique hook to it, as it will seemingly venture more into the fantastical and feature Robin as a co-lead. Just as well, the forthcoming Dynamic Duo venture has a unique chance to differentiate and peacefully co-exist alongside Robert Pattinson’s rendition, as The Brave and the Bold could evolve into its comic-book namesake by being a Batman-themed anthology series.
While it will likely take some time before fans get to see who will don the mantle of the Dark Knight — as well as Damian Wayne’s Robin — the announcement of The Brave and the Bold is fairly exciting even as a concept. The last time audiences have seen the Dynamic Duo in action was in the maligned 1997 film Batman and Robin which nearly tanked Batman as a theatrical IP.
And while logos and titles can be subject to change in this industry, it’ll be interesting to see if The Brave and the Bold keeps “Batman” out of the name. It wouldn’t be the first time his name is left out, as the likes of Christopher Nolan did just fine marketing and selling The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. But in this case, it could open up the possibility for a series of isolated anthology adventures with a somewhat resolving main cast.
In the comic book publishing side of things, The Brave and the Bold was originally conceived as an ongoing book that saw various characters from the DC universe come together and embark on adventures — Batman-related or not. In the decades that followed, though, the dark vigilante’s popularity led to the series becoming another Bat-book, where the hero took part in exploits with characters in and out of his corner of the world.
Branding-wise, that gives The Brave and the Bold an easy premise. Since this first movie will focus on Bruce and Damian Wayne as Batman and Robin while still introducing other members of the family, its potential success could easily justify sequels seeing the Caped Crusader pair up with the likes of Nightwing. The latter character feels like an inevitability for the DCU, but a film series could get even more ambitious by following the comic books’ concept more closely.
The Brave and the Bold sequels could simultaneously serve to highlight this new Batman’s adventures within the cinematic universe and function as episodic vehicles for introducing other DC heroes before sending them off on their own solo ventures. Given the comics’ history, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see Batman and Green Arrow team up, or even with other established big names like Wonder Woman or Green Lantern in future installments.
Just a year ago, Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson launched a new, self-contained cinematic universe that focuses on the World’s Greatest Detective’s stomping grounds of Gotham City. The Batman proved it could undoubtedly stand on its own merits, focusing on Nolan-like realism while getting more stylistically noir with the tone.
Reeves has even gone as far as describing his blossoming continuity as an epic crime saga, while Gunn and Safran’s mainline DCU will assuredly delve into the more fantastical side of the multiverse as a whole. Even so, that certainly doesn’t mean these two incarnations can’t coexist. While Reeves takes a broader, serialized approach with an overarching crime drama, having The Brave and the Bold adopt an anthology format would give each universe a distinct narrative value proposition.
Though not every live-action iteration of Batman has been well-received, the character as a whole has been beloved partly due to how versatile is when it comes to storytelling. He’s fundamentally a street-level superhero, but he can work within supernatural stories as well as international or cosmic-level ones alongside the likes of the Justice League. And that’s precisely why both Reeves’ Elseworlds universe and the soon-to-be DCU Caped Crusader can seamlessly become complements of each other.
For the serialized, grittier, crime-noir version, The Batman Part II should have no trouble continually satisfying what audiences have come to love from the hero theatrically ever since Batman Begins reinvigorated the character. Meanwhile, a more anthological The Brave and the Bold will hopefully provide the connective tissue to the more whimsical side of the superhero genre that the DCEU stumbled upon trying.
Like DC Comics legend Grant Morrison — whose work will be the template for the DCU — illustrated in grandiose fashion during their seven-year-long tenure on the character in the comics, Batman is one of the most celebrated and enduring characters in pop culture across several renditions. It’s logical The Brave and The Bold could explore an aspect of the Dark Knight rarely seen on the big screen, something which will make it unique enough for audiences hungry for something new to enjoy.
Director Matt Reeves and DC Films’ The Batman is available to stream now on HBO Max, while The Brave and the Bold has yet to receive a theatrical release date.
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