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A Charlie Bielinski Pop-Ed: 'Gotham' Without Batman? Wonder Woman in 'Batman vs. Superman'? What's DC Doing?


Before I go into the subject for this week, allow me a moment to marvel at my precognitive powers. It appears the universe was, indeed, speaking through me in my last column about Eddie Murphy, as Jerry Bruckheimer recently announced that work was starting on Beverly Hills Cop IV. With a return to Axel Foley’s Detroit roots apparently, a new Cop is on the way.

Cool. It took 41 years, but my mutant power has finally surfaced.

One comic character that doesn’t have any superpowers (OK, OK, not the best transition) is Jim Gordon. The Gotham City police commissioner is getting his own television show, and just this past week, we found out that Bruce Wayne would be joining him.

Awesome.

Except that Bruce Wayne is going to be 10 years old, so it is really the opposite of awesome.

This announcement has had me thinking about and examining the live-action future of DC comics. The second season of Arrow is currently airing on television, and Gotham, featuring Jim Gordon and little Bruce, is on the way. As for the big screen, the only property currently in development at this time appears to be Justice League ... er … Batman vs. Superman … er … the Unnamed Man of Steel Sequel.

I am not at all qualified to comment on Arrow. All I can say is that once I did purchase Netflix, thanks to the Marvel announcement a few weeks ago, is that Arrow was the first show I tried to watch. I made it through about a half hour and bailed. The show took a jab at Lost, once Oliver Queen made it back to civilization, with a comment about the characters being dead for the entire run of the show. If you are going to be snarky about another show, at least get it right. I contacted a friend who didn’t bail, and he said that I should give it another try because it got better in the second half of the first season. He referred me to an Entertainment Weekly article where the writers stated they finally figured out what to do to make the show work. I am excited to see Deathstroke, The Terminator, aka Slade Wilson, on television, so I am going to give this show another chance at some point.

The announcement about Gotham is puzzling to me because it seems, at first glance, that the show will not be about any superheroes at all. I don’t recall any stories featuring Gotham City with a hero protecting the city pre-Batman, and it doesn’t look like Batman will figure into this show at all. With Bruce Wayne being listed as 10 years old, the speculation is that his parents will be murdered at some point in the series' beginning and that Gordon will work that case, maybe even offering his jacket to keep the young boy warm and comforted as he did in the Christopher Nolan films. Outside of this connection, what link could there be to the Gotham that Batman protects?

Perhaps Harvey Dent in the DA’s office or a pre-Penguin businessman named Oswald Cobblepot? 

Maybe a young mob enforcer named Carmine Falcone?

Could some version of the Joker exist in this show?

The problem is that even if we encounter some of Batman’s most-feared foes in the run of this show, it will be difficult to explain how the police department can handle supervillains. If none of Batman’s rogues show up in this show, then all it becomes is another cop show with the most-famous comic book cop patrolling one of the most-famous fictional comic book cities sans superheroes and supervillains, which doesn’t sound very promising.

The other big property being developed in the DC Universe is the Man of Steel sequel. When Ben Affleck signed on as Batman/Bruce Wayne, it appeared we might be getting a look at some version of The Dark Knight Returns. However, with the addition of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and the rumored casting of Adam Driver as Nightwing, which he has denied, it is starting to seem as if the Man of Steel sequel is becoming our first look at the Justice League. Most comic book movie analysts (yes, they do exist) have hypothesized that DC is taking the opposite approach of Marvel regarding their properties. With the three heroes and possibly more showing up in the next Superman film, they will then spin off into their own films. A much different approach than the one Marvel took by building up the individual Avengers before they came together on film in 2012.

Unlike others, I am very excited to see a fully formed Batman on film. People involved with the film have made multiple comments that this Batman will be a veteran crime fighter. This means no origin story, which is unnecessary at this point, and that he will also have a history where Dick Grayson has progressed from Robin to Nightwing. If Batman has been in operation for years, he could have a fully stocked Batcave and also many satellite locations as he does in the comics. That sounds very exciting. As for Wonder Woman and Gadot, it is interesting to imagine how that will play out for the first time on film. Her origin wasn’t just shown in an incredibly successful film trilogy, so I imagine that would necessitate some kind of origin story. How much screen time will that take up in a film that has been billed as Batman vs. Superman? It could be possible that Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s secret identity, appears in film but the Amazon heroine does not. Perhaps if the interest in the character is great, she gets her own film and if not, she moves on to the film after Man of Steel 2. However it is approached, it is clear that DC is fast-tracking this property to facilitate a two-year turnaround so that it can be released to compete with The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015.

DC’s film and television future isn’t very clear at this point. They don’t have a launch plan like Marvel does that we can look up and view on the Internet. Lucky for you, my mutant power has surfaced. Check this column to see what my precognition tells me, and you’ll stay fully informed.
A Charlie Bielinski Pop-Ed: 'Gotham' Without Batman? Wonder Woman in 'Batman vs. Superman'? What's DC Doing? Reviewed by Charlie Bielinski on 12/09/2013 Rating: 5

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