Joker turning out to be a record-breaking success has proven to Warner Bros. that more mature, R-rated movies set in the DC universe can be highly lucrative, so you can be sure that they’ll be following up the Joaquin Phoenix vehicle with more like-minded projects. In fact, one such idea floating around that we’ve heard about is a film based on The Dark Knight Returns.
According to our sources – the same ones who told us about the Green Lantern show before it was announced, and who told us The CW was doing an Arrow spinoff back in March – WB is considering adapting Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel to the big screen. There’s already the two-part animated version, of course, but this would be a live-action theatrical feature. It’s important to note that nothing is for sure right now, though, and that a DKR movie is just one of several ideas they’re exploring at this stage, as they figure out how best to capitalize on the popularity of Joker.
Some fans might think doing a Dark Knight Returns pic is a little redundant seeing as both The Dark Knight Rises and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice borrowed liberally from the comic. And while that’s true, we haven’t had a direct adaptation of the storyline on the big screen. So, elements like Carrie Kelly’s Robin, the Mutants and Batman’s final fight with the Joker would all be fresh to audiences.
In any case, whether they go ahead with it or not, we already know that WB is thinking of producing more villain origin stories for other iconic Batman foes like Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. Much like Joker, these projects – whichever of them make it into production – will be separate from the DCEU and set in their own individual continuities.
Another alternate Batman project the studio’s thinking about, meanwhile, is a Batman Beyond movie that would answer fans’ prayers and bring back Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne. Honestly, a Dark Knight Returns film with Keaton could work, too, but we’ll have to see which of these get past the ideas stage.