With the news that Robert Pattinson is the next onscreen Batman, it's clear that The Batman will focus on a young Bruce Wayne, probably at the start of his crime-fighting career. The last time we saw the DCEU's Batman was in Justice League, which was poorly received by fans and critics alike. Significantly, this version of Batman had his hope restored to him by Superman - we saw the older, jaded and cynical version of Bruce in the earlier Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The Batman has the strange responsibility of establishing how Bruce Wayne got to that point, whether the film will be an origin story or not. Batman has a long history in DC Comics, so there are more than enough stories for director Matt Reeves to choose from. Here are six we hope to see adapted, and four we don't.
10 DON'T: YEAR ONE
As excellent a comic as Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's Year One is, we’ve seen Bruce Wayne’s origin story so many times now it’s hard to imagine there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know how he got to wear the cape and cowl.
Dawn of Justice was also heavily influenced by Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, so it may be time to focus on another interpretation of Batman with a different tone, especially as the DCEU is often criticized for being too dark - and this story is very gritty. Then, there's also the fact that Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins drew heavily on this story.
9 DO: EARTH ONE
If The Batman will be an origin story, a better candidate than Year One is Earth One. With a focus on the Wayne's murders (which will make that infamous 'Martha' scene in Dawn of Justice all the more emotionally resonant) as well as Alfred Pennyworth's role in teaching Bruce the skills he needs to become a vigilante, this is a story which firmly establishes all the traits the DCEU's Batman displays.
There are also rumors that Penguin will be a major villain in the film, and this story revolves around Mayor Oswald Cobblepot and his connection to the Wayne murders. It also sets up Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, should her solo film still happen.
8 DON'T: THE KILLING JOKE
Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke is a version of the Joker's origin story, detailing how a string of catastrophes lead to an ordinary man becoming a twisted villain. As it is so short, any film based on it would have to add quite a lot to make up the runtime, potentially making it perfect for adaptation - we could see the origin of a villain already established in the DCEU, as well as have Bruce Wayne's own story run concurrently with his arch-nemesis'.
But, as brilliant a villain as the Joker is, it's time for a new antagonist to take the spotlight - especially with Todd Phillips' Joker coming out this year, which is thought to be heavily based on this comic.
7 DO: ARKHAM ASYLUM
Though not strictly based on a comic, this video game takes inspiration from Grant Morrison and Dave McKean's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. The story follows Bruce through Arkham, where he is forced to battle his impressive rogues' gallery to foil the Joker's plan.
We’ve already seen Arkham Asylum in Suicide Squad, and with James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad in the works, The Batman could further establish Arkham as a major part of Gotham and Batman’s world - as well as introduce many of his famous villains. The Batman: Arkham game series also features Deathstroke as one of Bruce's antagonists - after his introduction in Justice League's post-credit scene, this story would be the perfect place to see him again, especially if he replaces the Joker as the central villain.
6 DON'T: UNDER THE RED HOOD
With the inclusion of a graffitied and burnt Robin suit in Dawn of Justice, it’s easy to speculate that Jason Todd may make an appearance in the DCEU. His most famous reappearance post-death is Judd Winick, Doug Mahnke, Eric Battle and Shane Davis' Under the Red Hood, which sees Bruce come up against his former sidekick in a highly emotional conflict.
While this is a fantastic story - and features Black Mask, who'll be in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) - it’s too early to dive into the story of Jason Todd’s resurrection. If Jason is indeed the Robin whom the suit in Dawn of Justice belonged to, we’d need at least one film of build up with Jason as Robin before bringing him back. This would make a perfect sequel, though.
5 DO: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
If the DCEU do decide to introduce Jason Todd, it's probably best to start with what he's most famous for - his death at the hands of the Joker. This now infamous story from Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo features the death of Robin after the public voted for the outcome in a telephone poll.
While the story itself is fairly weak, with probably too little focus on Batman himself for this film, it would make sense to take inspiration from this as part of a larger narrative.
4 DO: THE LONG HALLOWEEN
Dawn of Justice showed us Bruce Wayne using his detective skills throughout the film, reminding us of why he is considered the World's Greatest Detective. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's The Long Halloween is a classic murder mystery story, with Bruce attempting to stop the killer known as Holiday.
The story also features a considerable amount of villains, most notably the origin of Two-Face, which could broaden the DCEU and set up future films to come.
3 DON'T: KNIGHTFALL
Though this story features plenty of villains and illustrates Batman’s characteristic determination, the comparisons to The Dark Knight Rises would be inescapable.
Plus, as formidable a villain as Bane is, and as interesting a character as Azrael proves to be, it's probably too much for what is chronologically Batman's first appearance in the DCEU - especially considering the importance of Bruce's allies to the story.
2 DO: THE COURT OF OWLS
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's story introduced a mysterious group known as the Court of Owls, who Bruce previously investigated for having a connection to his parents' death. We see Batman pushed to the limits of his physical and mental endurance, as well as a mysterious conspiracy spanning generations.
The detective elements to this story, as well as the connection to the Waynes, would make for a fascinating story in line with the rest of Batman's appearances in the DCEU. The story also features the original Robin, Dick Grayson, as Nightwing - if the Nightwing film ever materializes, this would be an excellent way to introduce the character first.
1 DO: HUSH
Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's Hush features a huge array of villains, as well as a fascinating look at the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. Many of Batman's allies also make appearances, and Thomas and Martha Wayne are of huge importance.
A story like this allows for many of DC's - and Batman's - most iconic characters to be introduced to the DCEU. We'd also get plenty of emotional storytelling from the relationships between the characters involved: the sheer amount of them means the film would be free to cut those who Bruce should encounter later in life, leaving plenty of possibilities for future films.