With DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran revealing their new vision for the DC Universe, we now have details on what to expect from their new Batman movie. It will be part of the new DCU’s first phase, referred to as Chapter One: Gods and Monsters, and will be one of 10 other projects, including the Superman: Legacy and Swamp Thing movies, and the Booster Gold and Paradise Lost TV shows. But what will this new Batman film be about, what do the comics tell us, and what does it mean for the Matt Reeves Batman? Let’s break it all down.
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What Does This Mean for the Matt Reeves Batman Saga?
With news of a new DCU Batman movie, that naturally raises the question of what will happen to Matt Reeves’ Batman saga. Gunn addressed this directly, confirming that the plan is still on for Reeves’ Batman movie trilogy, as well as the already-announced Penguin spin-off series. (No word on the Arkham series or Gotham PD series that were reportedly in development.) Safran added that it will be made clear to audiences when a project is an Elseworlds tale (like the Reeves Batman stuff), as opposed to something connected to the new DCU (like The Brave and the Bold).
The release date for Batman – Part II is October 3, 2025.
This means that there will be two different live-action movie Batmans going forward.
What Is The Brave and The Bold Movie About?
Gunn teased the plot of The Brave and the Bold, saying it will be the introduction of the new DCU Batman–and it won’t be Robert Pattinson or Ben Affleck. The story will focus on young Damian Wayne, the 10 year-old son of Batman who was raised in secret to be an assassin. “He’s a little son of a bitch. He’s my favorite Robin,” Gunn enthused about the character. Gunn highlighted the Grant Morrison Batman comic book run as the source of inspiration for the story.
But the movie won’t just be a father/son story about Bruce and Damian. Safran revealed that the film will also feature other members of the extended Bat-family, “just 'cause we feel like they've been left out of the Batman stories in the theater for far too long.” Indeed they have! The Bat-family includes an ever-expanding cast of characters, so Safran could be referring to anyone from Cassandra Cain to Harper Row to Jason Todd, or all of them.
When asked if Dick Grayson would appear, Gunn gave a coy, “Maybe.” The Morrison run on Batman featured Grayson quite heavily, with Grayson at one point taking up the mantle of the Dark Knight himself, not to mention Grayson is considered the heart of the Bat-family, so it would be a surprise for him to be left out.
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What Does the Brave and the Bold Title Tell Us?
While Gunn and Safran only shared the synopsis of The Brave and the Bold, they actually gave us a bit more by using an iconic title familiar to DC fans.
“The Brave and the Bold” is a classic DC title that has been used many times over the decades for a variety of different projects. It made its debut in 1955 as the title of an ongoing DC anthology series featuring the likes of The Golden Gladiator, The Viking Prince, The Silent Knight and other characters you probably haven’t heard of. It became a place to introduce new DC characters and teams, including the Suicide Squad, Teen Titans, and Justice League, and with Issue #50 it evolved into a team-up series where two heroes joined forces. When the Adam West Batman TV show became a hit in the ‘60s, the title changed to focus on Batman teaming up with different heroes, which is how the title “The Brave and the Bold” became synonymous with the Caped Crusader.
After that series ended in 1983 after 200 issues, DC would go on to use the title for a number of different team-up stories over the years, ones that sometimes, but not always, featured Batman. The title was used for the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold that ran from 2008-11, which had a more light-hearted tone and once again saw Batman team up with various heroes. And most recently, DC Comics announced a new series as part of their Dawn of DC relaunch called Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and while we don’t know what the plot will be, they did cite Tom King as one of the writers.
That particular name is of interest because King was name-dropped by Gunn as one of the architects helping him build this new DCU. King is an award-winning DC Comics writer known for his Batman run, a Mister Miracle miniseries, and the Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow miniseries being adapted for the Supergirl movie, plus he wrote the canceled New Gods movie with Ava DuVernay. The new Batman: The Brave and the Bold comic doesn’t come out until May 2023, but when it drops, we’ll definitely be cracking it open to see if it offers any clues about the creative direction of the movie.
Thematically speaking, The Brave and the Bold emphasizes Batman working with others, as opposed to doing his usual solo act, so we expect to see that side of the Dark Knight emphasized in the film. Also, from a practical point of view, Gunn and Safran probably didn’t put “Batman” in the title simply because they wanted to differentiate it from Reeves’ Batman films. And hey, The Dark Knight proved you don’t need it to make a successful Batman movie.
What Do the Comics Tell Us About The Brave and the Bold?
The Grant Morrison Batman comic run cited as the inspiration for the Brave and the Bold movie is a sprawling tale that ran for seven years across multiple titles, but given that we know the film will focus on the father/son relationship between Bruce and Damian, that helps us narrow it down to what the film will actually be about.
The film will likely adapt the initial “Batman and Son” storyline where Damian Wayne is first introduced. In the comic, Talia al Ghul, daughter of villain Ra’s al Ghul, surprises Bruce with Damian, a 10 year-old child he never knew he had. The child was trained from birth by the League of Assassins to be a ruthless killer, so raising him becomes the ultimate challenge for a hero whose number one rule is (usually) “No Killing.” Much of the story is about Batman trying to be a good father to Damian while attempting to curb his son’s murderous tendencies.
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At one point in the comic run, Batman is killed (as much as you can kill a comic book character) and Dick Grayson takes over as Batman with Damian as his sidekick, Robin. We doubt the new DCU Batman will be killed off right after being introduced, so maybe don’t expect that particular plot twist in the movie. Then again, the execs did emphasize this film will feature the rest of the Bat-family, so perhaps Batman will be incapacitated for a time and it’ll be Dick Grayson who babysits.
Introducing Damian in The Brave and the Bold opens the door for many future DC stories. He eventually becomes a member of the Teen Titans, so one day we may see that team in the new DCU. He befriends and teams up with Jon Kent in a title called Super Sons, so don’t be surprised if Superman has a kid in his movie, too. And he’s fated to one day become the supernatural “Batman 666,” a tortured future version of Damian who tries and fails to live up to his father’s legacy in an even worse version of Gotham. This dark destiny for Damian looms over his story, and it raises the stakes for Batman to bring him up right, as the fate of Gotham will one day rest with him.
As it turns out, Morrison’s Batman and Robin father/son story has already been adapted into an animated film–2014’s Son of Batman. This film pulls from Morrison’s "Batman and Son" comic and takes some creative liberties in making Deathstroke the main villain, but it generally hits the same emotional and thematic beats as the comic.
As for who the Brave and the Bold movie villain will be, that remains a mystery. If they’re sticking by the comics, Talia al Ghul and her father Ra’s al Ghul would certainly be featured, but given how they were already so integral to the Dark Knight trilogy, they may not be the main villains here. The comics featured a number of other antagonists, including the Joker, a trio of Batman impostors, and Man-Bat. There are plenty of options for Gunn and Safran to choose from, but we must say that Gunn’s penchant for weird, deep-cut characters has us thinking we may soon see a live-action Man-Bat.
That’s everything you need to know about The Brave and the Bold, for now. For more DC news, hear what Gunn had to say on not bringing back Henry Cavill as Superman and learn what Gunn's Superman: Legacy movie will be about.