Presumed dead after the 1997 bomb Batman and Robin, the Caped Crusader could be coming back to the silver screen in a big way. Warner Bros. Pictures has announced plans to jumpstart its hugely successful franchise by putting into development not one, but two new Batman movies.
The studio has signed director Boaz Yakin to cowrite and direct a live-action feature adaptation of the animated series Batman Beyond.
Set 40 years in the future, Batman Beyond marks the debut of a younger, hipper Dark Knight. Gotham high schooler Tim McGinnis discovers the true identity of aging millionaire Bruce Wayne, who passes his cape and cowl to the youngster. The new Batguy in turn assumes his predecessor's role battling the forces of evil.
And if that wasn't enough for Batfreaks, Warners insiders tell Daily Variety that the studio is developing another sequel to its original Caped Crusader franchise, which was seemingly R.I.P. after Joel Schumacher's campy Batman and Robin starring the not-so-dynamic duo of George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell.
Although details are sketchy, the sequel, the fifth flick in the series, will probably feature a new director and stars. The production is still in the conception stage, so there is no word when it will actually make it to theaters.
Meanwhile, Batman Beyond, scheduled to be Yakin's next film, is on the fast-track for a late 2001 or early 2002 release.
Yakin, who helmed the upcoming Denzel Washington football flick Remember the Titans, as well as the gritty ghetto drama Fresh starring Samuel L. Jackson and the Jewish drama A Price Above Rubies with Renée Zellweger, might not seem like the most logical choice to bring this new version of the vigilante crime fighter to life, but he'll be getting a lot of help.
Batman Beyond creators Paul Dini and Alan Burnett are nearing a deal to collaborate with him on the script. They launched the popular WB animated series and also had a hand in writing the TV movies Batman Beyond: The Movie, The Batman/Superman Movie, Superman: The Last Son of Krypton and the 1993 Warner Bros. animated feature, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
And to keep its futuristic feel authentic, the studio has hired famed cyberpunk sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon) to act as a consultant on the story.