If Nolan Doesn’t Direct ‘Batman 3’ Who Would You Like to See Take Over?

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Batman On Film posted a short story last week saying “there’s some scuttlebutt that in early 2010, Warner Bros. and Chris Nolan will finalize the plan for Batman 3.” While many sites are running with the story and saying there will be an announcement of sorts, Batman On Film clearly states whether there will be an announcement or not remains to be seen, but the question of Nolan’s involvement as director remains in the air.

I guess one would have to assume WB and Nolan would be smart to get things sorted out by at least June of 2010 so interviews for Nolan’s new film Inception won’t be bogged down with conversation asking about the next Batman feature, or at least kept to a minimum.

Will Nolan be back? My gut tells me yes he will be, but I could also see how the death of Heath Ledger and perhaps the expectation The Joker would return in the next installment could have thrown Nolan off. So, in the spirit of having nothing else to do, I thought it might be fun to explore alternate options.

Personally, the first name that comes to mind is Darren Aronofsky, if for no other reason than he was a major player in keeping the Batman franchise alive before Nolan came along, as well as the first person to meet with Christian Bale in relation to taking on the role of Bruce Wayne.

He was working with a script from Frank Miller, an adaptation of Miller’s “Year One” graphic novel, which you can read right here. In describing the film that never was to The Guardian Aronofsky said, “It was a hard, R-rated Batman. What I pitched them was Travis Bickle meets The French Connection — a real guy running around fighting crime. No super-powers, no villains, just corruption. For the Batmobile, I had him taking a bus engine and sticking it in a black Lincoln. Real low-tech geek stuff.”

I have not read the script myself, but Devin Faraci at CHUD offered the following last November:

This film saw Bruce Wayne wandering the streets after the murder of his parents; he’s taken in by an auto mechanic named Big Al (Aronofsky’s version of Alfred). Bruce grows up a borderline psychotic who begins taking violent vengeance on street thugs. He turns an abandoned subway station below Big Al’s auto shop into his version of the Batcave. He puts a bus engine in a black Lincoln Continental as his version of the Batmobile. Over the course of the story he assembles the elements of the costume and persona of Batman (or The Bat-Man, as he’s called).

Of course, Aronofsky’s vision wouldn’t really fit into the world Nolan has created, but I have a hard time believing Aronofsky couldn’t adapt to the tone Nolan was working with From Batman Begins to The Dark Knight. Additionally, I would think the idea of picking up the reigns on Batman 3 would be more enticing than the RoboCop remake he has been loosely attached to for some time now.

I posed the question to a couple of the guys that write for RopeofSilicon on occasion and here are the names they offered up as potential successors to Nolan’s Batman mantle.

Andre agreed with me on Aronofsky and brought the names of David Fincher, J.J. Abrams and Paul Greengrass to the table. Laremy agreed with Dre on Greengrass and Abrams and also added Kathryn Bigelow, Joss Whedon, Peter Jackson and John Hillcoat (The Road).

David joked about bringing Joel Schumacher back along with bat-nipples, but then suggested Master and Commander helmer Peter Weir saying he’s like Nolan in that he’s cerebral without being pretentious and has a clean visual style that would flow nicely with the previous two films.

Another name I thought to add was Martin Campbell as I think the tone of the Batman films would finally allow him to go a little further than he did with Casino Royale and as far as it looks like he’s gone with Edge of Darkness. Campbell, however, is cutting his teeth on his first superhero movie with Ryan Reynolds and Green Lantern for WB, so it’s highly unlikely he would bounce between the two. And just as a matter of how cool I think it would be, I would also love to see David Cronenberg or perhaps Mark Romanek take a stab at the franchise.

Other names I considered were Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai) and Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger and Salt), but I just can’t really see either of them fitting in too well. I guess Ridley Scott’s style might fit, but I don’t think I would anticipate a Scott-directed Batman as much as the other names I mentioned.

What do you say? Any of the above names fit in with what you were thinking? Have any others to add? Is it possible you would prefer they didn’t make a third film if Nolan wasn’t directing? After all, he would most certainly remain involved as producer and most likely as a producer with plenty of input. Sound off below.