By all means, re-link me to this post in six months or a year when Joseph Gordon-Levitt is officially announced as Christian Bale’s successor for the future line of Batman movies, so that I might have to tear up my blogger card on the spot. But it doesn’t matter how many sources go off the record, or how many ecstatic words can be spent over the possibility of one of this generation’s finest actors stepping in as one of the best superheroes: It’s not going to happen, not until Warner Bros announces who they’re planning to have take over the franchise now that Christopher Nolan’s done.
So, here’s the rumor: Someone spoke to HitFix about the possibility that JGL, newly minted in this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises as heir to Bruce Wayne’s Bat-empire (whoops, spoilers), would take over the role in an upcoming Justice League movie and possibly more Batman jaunts after that. It’s a nice idea, because JGL is great and would give the now-stagnant franchise a much needed shot in the arm, as is lacking when your entire cast and crew leaves because they’ve said all they needed to say.
Still, it’s dependent on one thing: JGL deciding that this movie, and the future of the Batman universe, is something worth fucking with. Throughout his brief-but-accomplished career, JGL has displayed an uncanny knack for attaching himself to quality actors and quality filmmakers—alright, G.I. Joe aside—allowing him to take roles both traditional and unconventional where he was surrounded by other talented creatives. But the Justice League movie has been languishing in production hell for half a decade or more, and the Batman franchise hasn’t found a new overlord to fill in Nolan’s very, very large shoes. Right now, he’d be stepping into a character and nothing more. The honchos at Warner Bros. could toss some uninspiring, commercial hack behind the camera and leave JGL the face of a shit-for-brains string of movies, a position he’d never allow himself to be in. (What, you think he signed an option for 501 Days of Autumn?)
That said, he’s a great/obvious choice, and by leaking the news Warner Bros. is getting an idea of how people might respond to such casting. (Very well, it seems.) It works another way, too: JGL now holds all the leverage, and could presumably ask for a crazy amount of money or maybe even a little bit of creative control to make sure he’s not stuck with a Zack Snyder. We probably shouldn’t get too excited for now, as these things can quickly flame out. But it may be a story worth paying attention to in the coming months, as Warner Bros. figures out how to milk more money from the fat-as-hell Bat-cow.