While it’s undoubtedly showing its age at this point, 1989’s Batman movie by Tim Burton remains one of the most popular and influential comic book movies of all time. It was the first superhero film to treat its hero seriously, with the dark edge the comics had, and was enormously successful for doing so.
Sadly Batman ’89 only got one sequel, Batman Returns, despite a third movie and a Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman spin-off being planned. With the news that DC is finally choosing to carry on the adventures of Michael Keaton’s Batman in a comic series later this year, it’s exciting to consider how many classic Batman characters may finally get to appear in this universe.
By far the most obvious and essential character who has to return in the Batman ’89 comic series is Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. She is the only villain to survive in either of the Burton movies, and the end of Batman Returns clearly teased her return, which never happened. With the deaths of Max Shreck and the Penguin, Catwoman is left with a blank slate by the end of Batman Returns, so it will interesting to see what sort of direction writer Sam Hamm could take Selina Kyle.
If fans talk about the plans for Tim Burton’s Batman Continues, one of the biggest would’ve been the reappearance of Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent, who would finally make the transition into Two-Face. Williams was offered an appearance in Batman Returns but turned it down, and Batman Forever replaced him with Tommy Lee Jones. Now the only hint of Williams’ Two-Face is his brief appearance in The LEGO Batman Movie. Hopefully, the comics will finally tell this villain’s origin story.
It’s easy to forget that the beloved Batman: The Animated Series is mostly inspired by the Burton movies, which is why Catwoman and Penguin look similar to their Returns counterparts and The Joker’s real name is still Jack Napier.
Therefore, it would be great if the most popular character introduced in The Animated Series, Harley Quinn, made her transition back to the movie universe in Batman ’89. Artist Joe Quinones already has designs for Harley in the comic, and it would be interesting to see her brought in after the Joker’s death.