The DC animated universe from the 90s and 2000s has consistently found a way to integrate itself into the source material. Aside from making several quality adaptations that simultaneously impressed lifelong comic fans and incepted an entire generation of DC fanatics, the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini animated universe also created a few noteworthy additions to the comic book canon. Everyone knows that Harley Quinn emanates from Batman: The Animated Series, but so does her now canonical relationship with Poison Ivy. Even though the pairing was presented as platonic, it planted the seeds for their future romance.
Outside of Harley Quinn, Terry McGinnis is probably the most popular character to debut in the DC animated universe. McGinnis, the protagonist of Batman Beyond, the futuristic sequel to Batman: The Animated Series, has found his way into the comic books several times. And prior to DC's current restructuring phase, McGinnis would have found himself in a live-action movie, with Michael Keaton reprising his role as an elderly Bruce Wayne.
For years, DC fans have put forth the idea of Michael Keaton returning to the role of Bruce Wayne by way of a live-action Batman Beyond film. If he was too old to play the Dark Knight, went the rationale, then why not have him pass on the torch to a new generation of Gotham City vigilantes led by Terry McGinnis? It would be a great way to have our Caped Crusader cake and eat it, too.
Warner Bros. seemed to have listened to our pleas because according to entertainment journalist Jeff Sneider, the studio was purportedly working on a "solo Batman movie" with Keaton and Birds of Prey scribe, Christina Hodson before James Gunn and Peter Safran took over DC Films and axed the project. While Sneider — who dropped this alleged scoop on the most recent episode of The Hot Mic podcast — didn't have many details on the matter, it was The Wrap's Umberto Gonzales who later tweeted at Sneider, writing: "The 'solo' Michael Keaton Batman movie you're talking about that Christina Hodson was writing, was in fact the BATMAN BEYOND movie."
"Yep," agreed The Flash Film News Twitter account. "The BATMAN BEYOND film was a 'solution' to the Batman problem for the DCU. This would have allowed the DCU to have a Batman and keeping Reeves universe separate."