New Live Action Batman Series in the Works?
Joel Schumacher won’t be answering to the call of the illuminated but foggy Bat Signal this time. When “The Dark Knight Rises” is completed, Warner Bros are said to be putting the “Batman” film franchise to bed for a while – they won’t, unlike the last time, add some civil war bandage to the bat’s decrepit wings to keep it flying. Nope, they’re as keen as director Christopher Nolan is to see the series go out on top. Naturally Batman will return to the big screen sometime – but that film, be it the long-rumoured “Batman vs. Superman” or a new take on the character, likely won’t happen for quite a few years, and most likely, Nolan won’t be involved. He’ll be handing in his keys to Wayne Manor after 2012′s “Dark Knight Rising”.
So where will we be able to get our Bat Fix? Dress Up day at the local creche?The Cartoon Network?
Via the character’s brief appearances on “Robot Chicken”?
Maybe. But Warner is also said to be considering bringing Bruce Wayne to the small screen – a’la “Smallville”.
”WB is looking at putting together a live action Batman TV series”, an insider tells ComicBookMovie. “The Head Executive in charge (name removed to protect source) who has overseen the development and production of such notable hits as: “Two and a Half Men”, “The Mentalist”, “ER”, “The West Wing”, “Without A Trace” and “Friends”, has been given the task. He would like to keep it in line with the Nolan movies. No word on any stories or script except “keep it in-line with the real world and with young adult audiences in mind”.”
And with The Joker no longer a part of the third “Batman” movie (he was originally going to appear in the film – incarcerated and de-joked, much like Hannibal Lecter – as someone the Caped Crusader reluctantly asks to assist him on a case) the opportunity now lies to reintroduce the character in the form of a TV series. Had Heath Ledger been alive, he wouldn’t have reprised the role for TV anyway, so it wouldn’t at all be disrespectful having another actor play the role on the small screen as opposed to the big.
The site says that the TV series would pit Batman against The Joker. While an actor is yet to be associated with the prospective series’ clown prince of crime, the site says “Star Trek” and “Red” star Karl Urban is the favourite to don the cowl. But seriously, how likely is it that Urban, who has emerged as quite the superstar in recent years, is going to want to do TV?
I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a Batman TV series is in development, not only because of the success of the films but because the long-running and successful “Smallville” is coming to an end this year, but for the moment, consider this all a big fat rumour. Might not go anywhere.
Heck, even if it is true, it might not go anywhere. After all, this isn’t the first time a Batman TV series has been in development that ultimately didn’t go to air. Remember “Bruce Wayne”, the planned television series focusing on a young Bruce Wayne before he became Batman? That was all set to go, until Warners decided the character would be better off in film and so ditched plans for “Bruce Wayne” and greenlit the Darren Aronofsky-directed “Batman Year One”. “Bruce Wayne” would ultimately be rewritten and rethought, resulting in “Smallville” – concentrating on a young Superman, rather than a young Batman.
“Bruce Wayne”, written by Tim McCanlies, could’ve been quite good though. It told Wayne’s backstory and how and why he became the Caped Crusader (which, of course, Nolan would answer in “Batman Begins” a couple of years later). At the time, Shawn Ashmore (Who would play Jimmy Olsen on “Smallville”) was in the running to play Wayne, Michael Rosenbaum (who would play Lex Luthor on “Smallville”) was up for Harvey Dent, and David Krumholtz (“Numbers”) was said to be in contention to play Jim Gordon.
But as I said, the Warner brass decided that they wanted to get Batman back on the big screen. The TV department didn’t agree, but alas, the big-wigs won.
”DC Comics said it was the best thing they’d ever read, you know, blah blah and so, but we got into a big-pissing contest between the feature side and the movie side, and so they wouldn’t let us move forward on that”, writer McCanlies told UGO.
“The Bruce Wayne script was sort of the era of Bruce Wayne nobody’s ever seen. He was the teen and doesn’t know what to do with his life, but he’s very wealthy, sort of like JFK, Jr.This would be like two years before he really does that. He’s flailing around with, “What should I do with my life?” He’s got like a chip on his shoulder. He’s a master of martial arts because he’s got all this fury in him, but he hasn’t decided that’s what he’s going to do yet.”
McCanlies said in another interview that Clark Kent would have also been in the series.
“There’s a newspaper editors convention in Gotham City,” he explained in a 2004 interview, “and this kid Clark Kent shows up. Bruce wants nothing to do with him, but for some reason they’re thrown together. He keeps trying to lose this kid but he can’t. You have to know who Clark Kent is to get the joke. I never reveal who this guy is. He’s just this very surprising 16-year-old from Smallville, Kansas.”
”The pilot was great, and David Goyer is treading on some of the same areas that I did in the pilot with his new Batman script. So that may preempt the pilot.”
Indeed it did.
One element of the show, having Alfred the Butler narrating, was saved for the “Batman” spin-off series “Birds of Prey” a few years later.