NOTE: The following article does not contain spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises.

I'm endeavoring to tread as lightly as I possibly can when it comes to spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises this first week, but I don't think I'm exactly giving up the game to say it's extremely unlikely that the series - not the franchise, but this specific iteration of it - will be continuing. Christopher Nolan's Batman movies have been largely about stripping the character and his world of any comic book trappings that might be holding it back from the realm of serious drama. One of those things (from the perspective of Nolan's films, at least) is the genre's inherent episodic endlessness. Rises is meant to be (and has been promoted as) the rarest of superhero movie subspecies: the one that provides a definitive ending rather than the obligatory "to be continued." Please note, aforementioned spoiler-dodgers, that forgoing a "to be continued" ending isn't necessarily the same thing as rendering continuation functionally impossible (Translation: No, I didn't just tell you how the movie ends).

Regardless of whether or not he pulled it off, that's a gutsy move for a filmmaker playing in this sandbox, even one with as much box-office clout as Nolan. Superheroes are the new Cowboys, the go-to symbol of mythic heroism at the movies and most popular action subgenre of the era and Batman is the most popular (individual) hero in the box. Ending the story of "his" Batman is a bold move for Nolan because Warner Bros. would much rather have the franchise continue ad-infinitum. Which is why it came as no surprise that Warner Bros was openly talking about "re-inventing" Batman ("re-inventing" being what you call "rebooting" now that "reboot" is a dirty word) a full year before Rises even came out.

Bottom line: Sooner than later, there will be more Batman, likely in the form of a new series of Batman movies. The only thing that can be safely surmised about it is that it will almost certainly be a more "traditional" superhero experience to better gel with Warner's plans for an Avengers-style shared universe for the various members of The Justice League.

With that in mind, your humble correspondent here presents several suggestions for how such a reboot might best be accomplished, along with a heartfelt and sincere thank you and goodbye to my readers as I fully expect Warner Bros. will momentarily be whisking me off to Hollywood to shower me in money for the rights to these brilliant pitches.

The Silver Lining

In comics fandom, the Silver Age refers to the period of publishing between the mid-1950s and 1970s, roughly framed by the re-establishment of the superhero genre beginning with the debut of DC's new "The Flash" in 1956 and ending with Marvel Comics' "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" in 1971 (the latter being seen as the most-visible acknowledgment of the new reality of a growing teen and college-age readership). In current parlance, it's a shorthand for comic writers (and more recently videogame designers) to indicate that they're doing something more in line with the general "before the 90s" swath of comic visuals.

At this point the "Silver Age Revival" thing is so pervasive that going that route for the movies (elaborate supervillains, boy sidekicks, storylines adequately described as "capers") would basically be playing follow the leader, but it's hardly the worst idea in the world. If nothing else, it'd be a trip to see blue and gray Batman, Robin and all the other "not dark enough for the movies" elements getting the big-screen workout, possibly alongside some of the more off-beat nemeses like Man-Bat or Mad Hatter.

And if you do it soon enough, you'll probably be greeted with great enthusiasm by batfans who're currently under 10 and spent the first hour of Rises wondering where the hell Batman was.

Take It to TV

Movies are expensive. Actors are human and get busy. This makes setting up a multi-film franchise difficult, and setting up a multi-franchise franchise nearly impossible. You want a ready-made Batman waiting on deck for Justice League while you introduce/re-introduce people to Wonder Woman, Superman and the rest. I get that. But does it have to be a movie?

TV is big business right now, especially episodic genre material. Game of Thrones, much? True Blood? Heck, Doctor Who, once the definition of cult-obscurity in the U.S., is suddenly must-see TV for scads of Netflix-marathoning mainstream viewers. Batman is almost ridiculously well-suited to this landscape (a superhero, a huge supporting cast and it's a crime-procedural?) and you could keep him active for less money than a movie while everything else falls into place.

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