There are those who insist that good things come in multiples of three and there are those who will tell you that bad things tend to come in threes — both camps have a Star Wars trilogy they can point to as evidence for their pet theory, and while neither are strictly correct, on a purely rational level, neither side is technically wrong, either.
So let’s just face facts here and admit there are some good movie trilogies and some bad ones, that within the good ones some better than others, and that within the bad ones some are better than others. All of which brings us back to that rooftop scene we started this “Rebooting ‘Batman’” series with, from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween miniseries, the second page of which is reproduced above (and I apologize for its crookedness, it’s the only scan of this particular page I could find online).
Quite clearly, the latest cinematic iteration of the Dark Knight Detective, as helmed by Christopher Nolan, was a trilogy, and flaws aside, I think that by and large structuring the whole thing this way, whether by accident or design, by and large worked, story-wise. We got a beginning, middle, and end to Batman’s career, and a forth installment probably would have been pushing things a bit much (okay, fair enough, folks who didn’t like the Nolan films probably feel like three was too many, but that’s another matter for another time). I guess I’m in the minority on this, but I would have liked to see Tim Burton get a third crack at the bat-franchise, as well. It certainly would have been better than Batman Forever.
And this is the point at which attentive readers will tell me to back the fuck up for just a minute and pick up on that “all of which brings us back to the rooftop scene” bit. Your wish is my command. Quite clearly, the Harvey Dent/Commissioner Gordon/Batman triumvirate that forms the thematic core of The Long Halloween is what I’d like to see at the center of the entirely-hypothetical next Bat-trilogy I’m building in my head, even if I’d take pretty much no other cues from this particular book whatsoever. I mentioned last time around that giving Bruce Wayne and/or Batman a real life that included some actual friends apart from Alfred would be an idea that I. and a lot of fans out there, would be receptive to. And of course, we all know that the story of Harvey Dent is, ultimately, a tragic one that could translate well into a central theme spread out over three flicks. I’m still working out all the details as to how to do it in my head — like I said in a previous post, I’m very much making this up as I go along — but how about this for starters? In our new Bat-trilogy, Dent, Gordon, and Batman start as uneasy allies, and are pretty firm, honest-to-goodness friends by the end of the first flick. Perhaps even to the point where Batman decides to clue them in on his secret identity (although that’s not, strictly speaking, necessary — just something to keep in mind).
If Warner Brothers were to decide to give this hypothetical “soft reboot”‘s director a three-picture guarantee, absolutely not unheard of in the movie business, then that would seem a natural enough relationship to build a trilogy around, and we can get into Harvey’s inevitable turn for the worse as we move into discussions of (the again completely hypothetical) parts two and three. If the first flick were to be a complete and utter flop, then hey, they can always fire everybody, go back to the drawing board, and us fanboys and fangirls can endlessly debate the “great Batman trilogy that never was,” which is always a pretty fun little time-waster in and of itself, as well.
So, to recap, here’s where we are right now — the next Bat-flicks are going to have a shift in tone toward the more heroic, old-school, brains-over-bran interpretation of the character that will result in a bit less “dark” an overall tone; we’ve established Detroit at the central filming location for Gotham City; we’re going the “soft reboot” route by going back to an earlier point in Batman’s career but not obsessing over the details of his origin too explicitly; and we’re planning for a trilogy of films from the outset, one with a genuine story of friendship between Batman, DA Harvey Dent, and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon at its core.
Sound good? Sound bad? Now’s the time to chime in, and I do appreciate all your comments, both good and bad, so far. On a minor “housekeeping” note, I’ll probably be stepping away from this series for the next week or so as I attend to some business on my “main” site (trashfilmguru.wordpress.com, in case you didn’t know), but will be checking, and responding to, comments on here just the same. A guy’s only got so many hours in a day to write, and I’ve been running a series of comic reviews over there that I really want to wrap up in the next few days before showing the love of my life (yes, that would be my wife) a terrific time for her upcoming 30th birthday. Once that’s all taken care of, I’ll be back to the task at hand here with the next entry in our series, which will focus on which details I’d keep, and which I’d scrap, from the Nolan series of Bat-films. Then we can finally get into the plot of the films themselves proper, followed by arguably the most fun part of all, ideal casting choices for all the characters!
Oh, and maybe we should start bandying about some names as to who we’d like to see directing these flicks in an ideal world, as well? But I did say one thing at a time was going to be the order of the day here, didn’t I? Must try to stick with that — if at all humanly possible!