Elseworlds1 of 12
This week, DC’s long in-development Flashpoint movie reportedly set its sights on a pair of directors with some comic book movie chops – the writers of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.
With the long-brewing reports of various non-continuity DC films from Warner Bros. – and the “alternate reality” nature of Flashpoint as a story, we were inspired to examine other stories that would make great standalone movies.
Looking back through DC's long history - both its Elseworlds stories and its most iconic in-continuity tales - we've come up with a list of movies we want to see from DC and Warner Bros. that could work as standalone films – or, in some cases, as chapters in a saga.
Batgirl: Year One2 of 12
We already know there's going to be a Batgirl movie, so why not cut to the chase and make it Batgirl: Year One?
Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon and Marcos Martin's take on Barbara Gordon's first adventure pulls together everything great about Barbara Gordon as Batgirl - her ingenuity, her resourcefulness, and her skills as a crimefighter. You'll get the obligatory cameo from Batman and Robin (and perhaps the kindling of a Babs/Dick romance), but more than that you get a story that is definitively Batgirl's and no one else's.
And to answer your question, yeah, we're expecting - nay, demanding - Killer Moth.
JSA: The Golden Age3 of 12
Wonder Woman proved Warner Bros. could do a superhero period piece with almost unprecedented success, so why not extrapolate that and give us a Justice Society movie in the process?
More than almost any other comic book company, DC has a guidebook on how to delve into its past and characters with recognizable brands – but somewhat malleable identities – to do it with. Drawing on James Robinson and Paul Smith’s The Golden Age would allow Warner Bros. to tell one definitive JSA tale that includes nearly all the major players and calls back to important aspects of DC history?
The Golden Age is more than just a throwback story, though – with themes of fascism hiding in plain sight and villainous infiltration of a group of heroes, the themes are psychological, larger than life, and timely.
DC: The New Frontier4 of 12
We've already called back to the Justice Society with The Golden Age, and what better way to follow it up than with a live action adaptation of Darwyn Cooke's The New Frontier?
If DC wants to take a second shot at Green Lantern (but wants to avoid some of the pitfalls of the first film), The New Frontier is definitely the way to go.
With Hal Jordan representing a new generation of heroes alongside the resurgence of the old guard such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, The New Frontier represents everything great about the DC Universe: comprehensive mythology, colorful heroes, and cosmic mysteries.
Warner Bros. has already proven the story can work as a film as well - it was adapted as an animated feature in 2008.
Batman Beyond5 of 12
DC’s cyberpunk teen Batman tale Batman Beyond is perhaps the most sensible – and easily achievable – of our potential Elseworlds movies. The fact that it takes place far in the future with a new hero under the cowl under the guidance of a retired Bruce Wayne, it’s not much of a stretch to add a whole new cast and put a new big screen spin on the Caped Crusader.
With new, sci-fi based versions of classic villains like Mr. Freeze and the Joker and a whole slew of villains of his own, Terry McGinnis could be the “anything goes” Batman Warner Bros. has always wanted.
And if they really want people to go nuts, we humbly suggest casting Michael Keaton as the older, gruffer Bruce Wayne.
Alternately, if DC's looking for an alternate take on the "Future Batman" trope - maybe one that draws on some similar themes to The Dark Knight Returns - they could look to Paul Pope's Batman: Year 100 as a possible film.
Batman: Court of Owls6 of 12
There’s no better psychological thriller for Batman than the modern classic "Court of Owls." With its twisting, labyrinthine story, shocking ending, and terrifying villain, a director looking to delve into David Fincher or Darren Aronofsky territory could bring a dizzying perspective to the Dark Knight.
And there’s a bonus – given the secret of the Talons and the identity of the story’s final villain, "Court of Owls" is pretty close to finally showing what would happen if Batman fought himself.
JLA: Tower of Babel7 of 12
What could be better than Batman versus Superman? How about Batman versus the entire Justice League?
Even with that logline, Justice League: Tower of Babel wouldn’t exactly be “Civil War: Justice League Edition.” It’s really about Ra’s al Ghul and the Injustice League taking on the Justice League by enacting Batman’s contingency plans to defeat his fellow heroes.
Tower of Babel is one of the definitive stories of Batman’s relationship to the Justice League – and it’s got the ultimate assemblage Justice League villains to boot, including Ra’s al Ghul, Lex Luthor, Joker, Ocean Master, Circe, Mirror Master, and more. If DC wants a full-on superhero/supervillain brawl, there’s no better way to go.
In fact, this is the one movie idea on this list that really could fit right into the existing DCEU – once the team deals with the minions of Apokolips, of course.
Batman: The Long Halloween8 of 12
It’s getting tough to think of things Batman hasn’t done on the big screen at this point, but the one thing that definitely comes to mind is that he has rarely put his skills as the world’s greatest detective to use solving a huge mystery.
Yeah, we know The Dark Knight borrowed heavily from Batman: The Long Halloween, but what we’d like to see is a real, full adaptation of the case of the Holiday Killer – right down to the inclusion of almost all his major foes.
The Long Halloween could be the definitive film of Batman as a crime solver, tracking down the mystery of Alberto Falcone, Harvey Dent, and the murders of prominent figures in Gotham.
All-Star Superman9 of 12
Since the debut of Henry Cavill’s much more serious Superman in Man of Steel, many fans have been looking for a little more hope and wonder in the big screen portrayal of the last son of Krypton. So why not deliver on those qualities in spades and film the work that practically defines those aspects of Superman – Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman.
All-Star Superman tells the story of Superman’s last days after a lethal dose of radiation from the sun leaves him with a death sentence. That may sound a little dark – but trust us, it’s anything but.
Instead of being a eulogy for the Man of Steel, All-Star Superman celebrates everything that makes Superman not just the greatest hero of all time, but perhaps even the greatest human of all time – even if he’s not from Earth.
Put someone like Brad Bird at the helm, dial up the sci-fi, and people will flock to theaters in droves.
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight10 of 12
If Warner Bros. is going to dive into Elseworlds for an expanded DC movie universe, why not go all the way back to the beginning (and the Victorian era) and adapt the first Elseworlds tale: Gotham By Gaslight.
This tale of a semi-steampunk Batman would certainly occupy very different territory than any other Batman film to date.
Warner Bros. thinks enough of the story to bring it to life as an animated film - why not live action next?
Having Mike Mignola's name attached wouldn't hurt either.
Kingdom Come11 of 12
You can’t tell us there’s not still money in a Batman/Superman throwdown on the big screen. We’re not going to cast aspersions on the Dark Knight Returns influenced Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but we will point out that while we got the physical clash between the two, their war of ideals didn’t really come across.
So what better way to revisit the idea than going back to the story our readers named the greatest DC Comics story of all time, Kingdom Come? This movie has everything Warner Bros. – and fans – could ever want. Every major DC character makes an appearance, along with most of their descendants, sidekicks, children, and spin-off characters. It’s the ultimate, definitive DC movie, and with a focus on Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman – along with a whole host of characters with film (and merchandising) ready designs and personalities, Kingdom Come seems like the number one no-brainer pick for a standalone movie – or even better, a two-part, in-depth adaptation.
And the one thing that really sets Kingdom Come apart from other superheroes-fighting-themselves movies is its compelling villains. Magog, Lex Luthor, and even Captain Marvel as the film’s ultimate challenge (and greatest hero) would make for a better third act than any of the attempts to put a superhero slobberknocker on the big screen yet.
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