Despite a few hits, it’s fair to say the DCEU is a bit of a mess really, but we know exactly what can save this cinematic universe – a Batman Beyond live-action movie! Turns out, we could have had exactly that way back in the early 2000s, and Clint Eastwood was being lined up to play an older version of Bruce Wayne.
Batman Beyond is an incredible animated series set in a futuristic Gotham City, where a grizzled, older Bruce Wayne gives up the mantle of Batman and trains young Terry McGinnis as the new Caped Crusader. There has long been demand to see Batman Beyond brought to life in live-action, but we’re still waiting.
Turns out, we nearly got the perfect iteration of this long before The Dark Knight trilogy and the rise of the MCU. Speaking on the Fatman on Batman podcast, one of the series creators Paul Dini revealed that he pitched the idea of adapting the successful TV series into a movie, with legendary actor Clint Eastwood taking on the role of Bruce Wayne.
“It was set in Gotham’s future, but it didn’t quite have the fantastic, futuristic edge. It was sort of like an amalgam,” Dini explained. “There was a little bit of Dark Knight, there was a little bit of contemporary comics and there was Terry [McGinnis] and the suit and everything. It was old Bruce Wayne.”
Clint Eastwood, renowned for his work in westerns, was the first choice to join the pantheon of great Batman actors for this proposed Batman movie back in 2000, but Warner Bros didn’t go for the idea. Instead, the studio greenlit the animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
Executives felt the story pitched by Dini and fellow creator Alan Burnett was too adult, insisting that a more family-friendly project was needed. Boaz Yakin, who was in place as director, didn’t agree and decided to step away.
While Warner Bros may have felt the time wasn’t right for such a take on this story, the mass appeal of comic book movies of all varieties in the modern cinematic landscape surely opens up the door for a successful adaptation now.