‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ could feature the DCU’s new Batman, if James Gunn gets really brave and bold

Images via Marvel Studios / Warner Bros.

We’ve only just got to know Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight in The Batman, but DC fans are already getting excited over meeting yet another new Bruce Wayne once the rebooted DCU gets going. This week we learned that another Batman movie titled The Brave and the Bold is on the way, which will introduce Ben Affleck’s replacement as the franchise’s mainstream Caped Crusader. With the movie not arriving until 2025 at the earliest, there’s still a ways to go before we get any casting news, but it’s just possible that Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever may reveal the perfect contender for the job.

Two months after The Batman hit theaters last year, May 2022 delivered Batman: Unburied, a Spotify original audio drama series offering an even more innovative adaptation of the Bat-verse. Leading its star-studded cast was none other than Marvel fan-favorite Winston Duke in the role of Bruce, making him the first Black actor to bring DC’s most iconic hero to life in his 80 year plus history. That’s an awesome achievement, anyway, but if Gunn really wants his Batman movie to live up to its title, then he’ll invite Duke to reprise his role in live-action.

Scene from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Image via Marvel Studios

At this point, cinema-goers have seen seven chisel-jawed white dudes don the cape and cowl, so audiences would likely embrace a POC Batman, much as Marvel fans have done with Miles Morales in Sony’s Spider-Verse movies. As we’ve argued before, it’s a shame that Gunn’s DCU Chapter One slate doesn’t feature a movie with one of DC’s many iconic Black heroes from the comics, so casting Duke as the World’s Greatest Detective in The Brave and the Bold would certainly go someway to addressing that oversight.

DC fans are already praying that Gunn and his team won’t whitewash the film’s Robin, Damian Wayne — who is canonically of Chinese/Arabic ancestry on his mother Talia’s side — so it would be pretty powerful if Batman himself was presented as a person of color. Gunn is promising us that his own counterpart to Reeves’ Batman universe will be brave and bold; now he needs to deliver on that promise with some pioneering casting choices.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is streaming now on Disney Plus. Batman: Unburied, meanwhile, can be found on Spotify.