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Why the DCEU Needs to Introduce the Batman Family

The DC Extended Universe has been in a state of flux since the beginning, so there is always a sense of comfort when fans see a long discussed film finally secure a release date. Most recently, news broke that Matt Reeves' upcoming standalone film, The Batman, is scheduled to hit theaters in 2021, followed by the upcoming Suicide Squad reboot from James Gunn.

We know very little about the first solo Batman film since Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, except that Ben Affleck will not be stepping back into the Batcave. Reeves previously revealed that his plans for the film will feature a "young caped crusader," with a focus on his moniker as the World's Greatest Detective.

Batman's skills as a detective are a key part of what makes him so successful as the Dark Knight, and have been fairly underrepresented in the cinematic versions of the character we've seen so far.

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Despite this, the idea of seeing a young version of Batman starting out in his career as a crimefighter seems somewhat redundant at this point, having seen that before with the aptly named Batman Begins. More recently, Ben Affleck showcased an older Batman, years after his debut and in a stage of his life far past what could be considered his prime, with the intervening years left largely unexplored.

So, while Reeves' vision for The Batman could pay off big by showcasing the World's Greatest Detective, the franchise might be heading in the wrong direction and once again leaving one of the most important aspects of Bruce Wayne in the comics.

Despite most cinematic adaptations of Batman focusing on his time as a loner vigilante with only his trusted butler by his side, the comic version of Batman has been surrounded by an ever-growing team of heroes inspired, and in some cases trained and raised, by the Batman.

Bruce Wayne's solo mission against the superstitious and cowardly criminals of Gotham was joined by Dick Grayson as Robin way back in 1940's Detective Comics #38, and Bruce's role as a father figure to Dick eventually blossomed to include a literal family of characters like the Golden Age Batwoman and Batgirl. While that Batman Family was erased from continuity by Crisis, the Batman Family evolved as Bruce Wayne took on new partners over the years and developed a network of heroes that help lead some of DC's most popular comic series.

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Most readers these days know Batman as the leader of a diverse group of heroes that includes multiple Robins, Batgirls, Gotham police officers and even villainous members of the hero's rogues' gallery. Dick Grayson kicked off the addition of new members to the family after he grew into his new role of Nightwing, leaving the Robin persona open for characters like Jason Todd (Red Hood), Tim Drake (Red Robin), Stephanie Brown (Spoiler) and Damian Wayne (current Robin) to jumpstart their own heroic careers.

Barbara Gordon is another constant of the family as the first and current Batgirl, and the family soon grew to include other Gotham heroes like Huntress, Batwoman, Batwing, Black Bat and even former villains like Catwoman and Clayface, many of whom are set to appear in the upcoming Birds of Prey film.

NEXT PAGE: Batman Should be a Mentor to Gotham's Young Crimefighters

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