Fan trailers for imaginary projects can often end up looking more exciting than those for movies that actually exist, and another such creation gives us a brief glimpse of what a live action version of Batman Beyond might look like.
Set in 2039, the animated series sees an elderly Bruce Wayne in retirement, having hung up the cape and cowl many years previously after suffering a heart attack during a mission and subsequently forced to betray one of his ironclad principals by threatening someone with a gun. His identity is discovered by Terry McGinnis, a teenage former delinquent who becomes Bruce’s protégé after the boy’s father is murdered and the need for a new Dark Knight arises.
The trailer casts Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner, Teen Wolf) as Terry and Michael Keaton as Bruce, the implication for the latter being that he’s the same character from Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, and even uses a couple of related shots. The core of the footage draws heavily from 2017 action thriller American Assassin, where a vengeance-driven young man is trained as a black ops counterterrorist operative for the CIA by an older veteran, the dynamic between the two characters not entirely dissimilar to that of Terry and Bruce, making it perfect for re-appropriation.
Some other shots are taken from The Dark Knight and Tron: Legacy, along with a voiceover from the Batwoman TV series, but the editing is so seamless that it all fuses together into a series of moments that appear to form part of the same tale, while even the ubiquitous background music choice of a down-tempo melancholic cover of a popular song, in this case Imagine Dragons’ “Warriors,” comes off as less annoying than usual.
Batman Beyond was obliquely referenced in one episode of the Arrowverse’s “Crisis On Infinite Earths,” seeing an older Bruce Wayne on Earth-99 (the year the show premiered) living in embittered seclusion, but that version of the character turned out to be far less sympathetic than his animated counterpart. The series, with all its futuristic cyberpunk visuals, discussion of the moral dilemma of technological advancement and exploration into the psychology of broken people, is one that a new interpretation of would be more than welcome.