Surprising ‘Batman’ Sequel Confirmed, OG Actor to Reprise Role

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Bruce Wayne screaming as Metropolis is under attack in 'Batman vs Superman'

Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Michael Keaton’s Batman isn’t the only one preparing to make a comeback. In fact, there are a few iterations of the Caped Crusader making a return this year, but no one could have predicted this one.

Batman is no stranger to the weird. Gotham City is a melting pot of all things crazy: murderous clowns, psychotic penguins, and, well, people dressed as bats. But even putting those zany characters aside, some of the films themselves have been a bit bonkers.

It’s fair to say that the Dark Knight has had his share of bizarre outings. Not only is there the campy Adam West stuff from the ’60s, who can forget the semi-cyberpunk goofball caper Batman & Robin (1997) starring George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman? We sure can’t.

(L to R) Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), Batman (George Clooney), and Robin (Chris O'Donnell) in 'Batman and Robin'
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

But let’s not bypass Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) entirely. While the two films are dark and gritty, their quasi-gothic and downright weird depiction of Gotham City and its inhabitants are one of the pair’s most standout feature.

The last 27 years might have been kinder to the Caped Crusader on the silver screen (The Dark Knight trilogy, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and The Batman), but elsewhere, he’s undergone some pretty mind-bending treatments, largely in the world of comic books.

Ben Affleck as Batman in 'Batman v Superman'
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Related: Christian Bale’s Dark Knight Returns in New Batman Trailer

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2015 — 2016) comes to mind. Hardly the weirdest storyline, sure, but who’d have ever thought the iconic superhero would wind up dealing with alternate dimensions, let alone the half-shell heroes? Surely, the next step is time travel?

You bet. 2018 saw Bruce Wayne embark on a time-traveling adventure in one of the most jaw-dropping outings of his 85-year career. But it wasn’t just the concept that surprised fans — it was the intense visual style. Batman Ninja (2018) is, by far, the weirdest movie in the entire franchise.

While last year’s DC Universe (DCU) movie The Flash (2023), which hopped between parallel dimensions, comes very close, technically speaking, it isn’t a Batman movie, even if it did see the welcome return of Michael Keaton’s iteration.

Check out the trailer for Batman Ninja below, per DC YouTube:

Related: Upcoming ‘Batman’ (1989) Sequel: Every Returning Character Explained

The visually striking animated film follows the titular vigilante as he inadvertently travels from modern-day Gotham City to feudal-era Japan, alongside other characters such as The Joker, Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Alfred Pennyworth, Poison Ivy, Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Bane, Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, and Dick Grayson/Nightwing.

Per DC.com, here’s the official description for the anime:

Batman Ninja takes a journey across the ages as Gorilla Grodd’s time displacement machine transports many of Batman’s worst enemies to feudal Japan—along with the Dark Knight and a few of his allies.

The villains take over the forms of the feudal lords that rule the divided land, with the Joker taking the lead among the warring factions.

As his traditional high-tech weaponry is exhausted almost immediately, Batman must rely on his intellect and his allies—including Catwoman and the extended Bat-family—to restore order to the land, and return to present-day Gotham City.

Now, one of the most truly bizarre iterations of the Caped Crusader is getting a sequel. Last week, per IGN, Warner Bros. Japan revealed that a follow-up to 2018’s CG-animated movie is in development. It’s called Batman Ninja vs. Yakuza League (TBA).

No plot details for the sequel have been revealed, but the film will see voice actor Koichi Yamadera reprise his role as the titular crime-fighter. More details will be revealed during a special panel for the film on July 4 at Anime Expo 2024, which will also feature other upcoming DC projects including Suicide Squad Isekai (TBA).

Related: Upcoming ‘Batman’ (1989) Sequel: Every Returning Character Explained

Other Upcoming Batman Projects

Batman (Robert Pattinson) on a bridge in 'The Batman'
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Later this year, the novel “Batman: Resurrection” (2024), which is a direct sequel to Tim Burton’s 1989 film, will see the return of Michael Keaton’s version of the character. Another sequel, the virtual reality game “Batman: Arkham Shadow” (2024), is heading to Meta Quest 3.

Meanwhile, JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves are executive-producing a brand-new 2D-animated series titled Batman: Caped Crusader (2024), which is set in the 1940s.

On the big screen, Robert Pattinson will return in The Batman Part II (2026), the highly-anticipated sequel to Matt Reeves’ The Batman, and the upcoming DC Universe (DCU) reboot The Brave and the Bold (TBA) will see a new star suit up as the Bat of Gotham.

Are you a fan o the 2018 anime movie? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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