Fourth Batman, Justice League On The Way

As previously reported, Chris Nolan’s upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises” is a trilogy capper – a true ‘end of Batman’ story that finishes off the universe he created in “Batman Begins” and expanded in “The Dark Knight”, and certainly isn’t territory we’ve seen a “Batman” film explore as yet.

That of course isn’t the kind of thing a studio likes to hear – especially if the property is still very much a viable and healthy one. Now, talking with The Los Angeles Times, Warner Bros. executive Jeff Robinov says the studio is planning to continue on with the character, and that Nolan himself will be involved albeit in a reduced capacity.

“We have the third Batman, but then we’ll have to reinvent Batman… Chris Nolan and [producing partner and wife] Emma Thomas will be producing it, so it will be a conversation with them about what the next phase is” says Robinov, indicating that a reboot of the franchise (ala “The Amazing Spider-Man”) is on the cards once “The Dark Knight Rises” has been released.

How involved Nolan will be is unsure. Either it will be similar to his producing arrangement on the Zack Snyder-directed “Superman” reboot which he initially helped steer but is now sitting back and letting Snyder call the shots, or it simply could be a name only kind of arrangement akin to Tim Burton’s involvement in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman Forever”.

Either way, it’s a good move as it does open up the franchise to all sorts of possibilities that won’t affect the legacy or continuity of Nolan’s incarnation. Fans begging for a David Fincher or Darren Aronofsky-directed stand alone adaptation of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” might get to see that wish come true in their lifetime.

Robinov says he’s also committed to moving forward with film adaptations of key DC Comics properties at the studio and says a “Justice League” film is a priority for 2013. Robinov confirms a script is in the works, one with no relation to George Miller’s aborted “Justice League” film back in 2008, and that scripts for “The Flash” and “Wonder Woman” movies were in development to be spun-off into their own franchises after “Justice League”.

Begs the question, will the first post-Nolan incarnation of Batman make an appearance in that “Justice League” movie?