Andy Muschietti’s The Flash could set up a role for Batman Beyond in the DCEU, and the perfect way to introduce the character would be through a loose live-action adaptation of Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker. 

Terry McGinnis was created as the title character of Batman Beyond, an animated series set in the future of the DC Animated Universe. The series followed The exploits of McGinnis as he learned to be Batman under the tutelage of Bruce Wayne. Batman Beyond ran for three seasons and was followed up by a feature length film.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker saw Mark Hamill’s beloved Joker mysteriously returning to Gotham to terrorize his old nemesis and his new protege. Paul Dini wrote the screenplay, which features other classic members of the Bat-family such as Barbara Gordon, Ace the Bat-Hound and Tim Drake. 

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Why Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker Needs To Spin Out Of The Flash - The Illuminerdi

The uncut version of the film, which is currently available to stream on HBO Max, received generally positive reviews. Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and Glen Murakami created the story, while Curt Geda directed. Furthermore, many DC fans hold this film in high regard, and that is only one of several reasons why an adaptation of Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker would be perfect for the DCEU. 

In the film, a retired Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) works alongside his apprentice Terry from the Bat-Cave. Bruce is a vital element of the film, as his history with Joker sets the stage for the primary conflict. In The Flash, Michael Keaton is confirmed to be reprising his role from Tim Burton’s 1989 film, therefore the DCEU is about to receive a very old Bruce Wayne whose first major foe was the Joker. 

The Flash is not expected to feature any Jokers, but it will feature Bruce Wayne in a mentor role, and more importantly, two separate DC Universes with a Joker, living or dead. All of the pieces are there except for Terry McGinnis, who need not be introduced before a starring role. Jack Nicholson is quite unlikely to reprise his role as the Joker of Batman ‘89 due to his retirement, but there are several other options…

BATMAN BEYOND COULD FIGHT ONE OF THESE JOKERS

Why Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker Needs To Spin Out Of The Flash - The Illuminerdi

Jared Leto plays the Joker of the primary DC Extended Universe, and his character would benefit most from a meaty role in Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker 2.0. Across five years and two appearances in Suicide Squad and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the DCEU’s Clown Prince Of Crime has appeared onscreen for less than thirty minutes.

His unexpected return in Zack Snyder’s Justice League brought a great deal of excitement to the DC fandom, and Leto clearly loves playing the iconic supervillain. His unbalanced, chaotic version of Joker would make a more than worthy adversary for Batman Beyond, and the spectacle would assuredly draw crowds. Then again, there is another actor whose performance as the Jester Of Genocide is far more beloved. 

BATMAN BEYOND SHOULD RETAIN MARK HAMILL AS THE JOKER

Why Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker Needs To Spin Out Of The Flash - The Illuminerdi

Mark Hamill has spent decades voicing the Joker in animated projects and video games. Many DC fans consider Hamill to be the ultimate Joker actor. Imagine the excitement of the fandom should Hamill be cast as Joker in a DCEU Batman Beyond adaptation! Hamill’s disturbed, frightening performance as the Ace Of Knaves would starkly elevate that movie. 

Mark Hamill himself has left the door open regarding a live-action appearance as Joker. The menace and horror that Hamill delivered in Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: Arkham Asylum would do wonders on the big screen, and Hamill’s the perfect age for this role. After the disappointing Star Wars sequels, Mark Hamill deserves a fresh shot at a popular blockbuster franchise such as Batman. 

BATMAN BEYOND COULD KNIT THE DCEU TOGETHER

The Flash and Michael Keaton Batman

The Flash will meet Michael Keaton’s Batman decades after the last time audiences saw the character. There will be a lot of untapped history ripe for exploration, and the flashback-reliant Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker could chart those waters in a fun and unexpected way. This would build out the future of DCEU and the history of Burton’s universe simultaneously, giving DC fans a treat like no other. 

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As Barbara Gordon plays a significant role in the original Batman Beyond movie, hopefully she would in any new adaptation as well. A Batgirl movie is in active development for HBO Max, and that project could mesh nicely with a Batman Beyond movie. The DCEU’s Batgirl and Batman Beyond projects could show Barbara Gordon in her crime-fighting prime and as Commissioner Gordon simultaneously, thanks to the latter project being set in the future. 

Batman Returns Michael Keaton Batman Beyond

Between The Batman, Titans, Batwoman, The Flash and more, it’s clear that the Batman franchise is expanding in live-action. Batman Beyond is a hidden gem of the expanded DC franchise, and it deserves some time in the limelight. The DCEU should take advantage of this possibility and make an amazing adaptation of Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker starring Michael Keaton. Let us know what you would want from a DCEU Batman Beyond movie in the comments below or on our social media!

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