The April 2020 BOF Mailbag #1


Hello BOF’ers, I hope everyone is safe, sound, and staying the f**k home so we all can start living life normally again here soon!

With that said, welcome to another edition of the BOF Mailbag.  Thanks for all the questions, so let’s get to ’em! – Bill “Jett” Ramey

JETT SAYS: Probably because he’s not the producer in charge of DC on film like Kevin Feige is with the MCU where everything must connect.  Warner Bros. isn’t making a connected universe where ties between films need to be solidified.  They are simply hiring talented filmmakers to make DC movies that are — as WB has said previously — their own creative entities.  Therefore, the filmmaker — be it James Wan, Patty Jenkins, Matt Reeves, etc. — is the spokesperson for their film.  That’s my take on it, for what it’s worth.

Is the comic book industry doing well?

JETT SAYS: That’s not my area of expertise, so I can’t really comment other than to say that like all businesses, I’m sure they are negatively affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

BOF gets reviewing copies of all DC’s comics each week about a week in advance, and that’s come to a halt for now.  Also, comics aren’t being delivered to comic book stores right now either.  So that says a lot, no?

Any chance we get any more official pics from THE BATMAN during our quarantine to hold us over?

JETT SAYS: I’m not sure.  The film is still more than a year from release and maybe even longer if the June 25, 2021 date is pushed back.  I don’t think WB needs to release publicity images because we’re all bored quite frankly.  There will be time to publicize this film once production ramps back up.

JETT SAYS: It’s a tie between the “Batcard” in BATMAN & ROBIN and Batman sticking the bomb down the strongman’s pants — and subsequently blowing him to bits — in BATMAN RETURNS.

JETT SAYS: I’d say — right at this moment — that the June 25, 2021 release date is still most likely, and followed in order by August 2021, November 2021 (instead of October 2021), June 2022, and then anything later than that.  If they can get back to filming by early June of this year, the scheduled release date is safe.  We shall see soon enough!

Do you think the current Coronavirus situation could affect the DC slate in terms of budget and/projects that might be canceled altogether? THE FLASH was supposed to get into pre-production shortly but of course, it seems it won’t. Any news on that and other movies?

JETT SAYS: I’m sure films that are not in production will be affected, yes. Namely, THE FLASH and BLACK ADAM.

Any more insight into the character of Firefly in this universe? Always loved this character and felt he would portray fantastically on the big screen.

JETT SAYS: Rumor had it that the character of Firefly would be included in THE BATMAN.  However, I haven’t heard anything about it for quite some time, so it’s possible that the character was cut from the final/shooting draft of the script, same as Two-Face.

JETT SAYS: Ryan Lowery!  Good to hear from you! LOL!  Here goes…

  • BATMAN ’66: “High Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle”
  • BTAS: “Beware the Gray Ghost”
  • THE BATMAN: “The Laughing Bat”
  • BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: “Chill of the Night!” and every episode with Aquaman…OUTRAGEOUS!

Would you be content with not having The Joker in THE BATMAN? Depending on how realistic they made this series I would love to see Clayface. Thoughts?

JETT SAYS: No Joker in THE BATMAN? I’m fine with it.  No Joker in sequels?  I am not.  The Joker must be in Matt Reeves’ trilogy — preferably in the finale.

As far as Clayface, yeah, I’m good with the character being in one of the new films…as long as it’s the original Basil Karlo version of the character and not a shapeshifting blog of mud.  I can’t see the former version of the character working in a live-action “serious” Batman movie.

ALSO READ: BOF’s Everything About THE BATMAN Page

1) Considering the current closing of almost every comic shop, even internationally, and the already declining market, do you think it’s time to migrate to other formats outside the printed comic for the main public? Many comics currently are not “new-reader” friendly anyway.  2) Who do you think is the most influential writer currently working at DC? And your personal favorite?

JETT SAYS:  Here goes…

1) Well, you can buy comics digitally nowadays, so DC and other comic book companies have gone that route in the last few years.  To be honest, that’s how I’ve read my comics for a good while now (I read ’em that way even before DC started sending ’em to me early digitally for reviewing purposes) — though I still buy the collected print editions.

With that said, I do believe that DC can make comics more “new reader friendly” by limiting the long AF storylines in comics and going back to one (or two or three) offs.  I miss the days where a single comic told a single GD story!

2) My comic book world revolves around Batman, so now that Scott Snyder and Tom King have moved on from BATMAN, I really don’t know.  Right now, it’s probably the supervising editor of the Batman family of comics.

Who’s more diabolical…Riddler or Mad Hatter?  And, do you think they could ever team up in a movie to take down Batman?

JETT SAYS: Depends on how they’re written.  As far as them “teaming-up together” in a movie to take down Batman, I hope the hell not.  Wasn’t the “villains team-up against Batman” thing worn the hell out with RETURNS, FOREVER, and B&R?  The answer to that question is yes, by the way.

JETT SAYS: I think the answer is two-fold.  One, the first 3 Warner Bros. Batman films had the yellow oval on the suit (as did the 1960s BATMAN TV series and ’66 movie), so I don’t think the filmmakers (Nolan, Snyder, and now Reeves) wanted any sort of ties, if you will, to those films.  Secondly, Batman hasn’t sported the classic yellow oval on the Batsuit in the comics for quite some time.

Personally, while I like the yellow oval — it’s what I grew up on with Batman as a kid — I prefer the big bat logo on the chest without it.

I haven’t been more pumped for a new Bat-film since I started following BOF in ’03/’04 but some people I know aren’t exactly sold on seeing another incarnation so soon. Since Nolan/Bale introduced us to a whole new take, do you think the Reeves/Pattinson grounded detective/noir perspective can become that massive pop culture phenomenon we saw with THE DARK KNIGHT, or are we leaning towards more of a “cult” following for lack of a better term?

JETT SAYS: Thanks for being with me for so long sir and I feel the same way as you about THE BATMAN!

As far as your question, I get what you’re saying totally.  It’s going to be tough to duplicate the “Batmania” associated with THE DARK KNIGHT because, well, it’s just tough to do.  We’ve only had 3 instances of it in Batman’s 81-year history — BATMAN 60s TV series, BATMAN ’89, and TDK.  With that said, I don’t think THE BATMAN has to make a billion dollars at the box office to be considered a success.  As long as it does relatively well money-wise, gets good reviews, and people like it, that’s a success.  But of course, it’s “Batman.”  And just saw with JOKER how strong the Batman brand is…as long as the product is good.

Jett, have you beaten the chopper in ARKHAM KNIGHT yet? If not, it’s the perfect time to try again brother!

JETT SAYS: HA!  I did beat it a couple of years ago and got pretty far in the game.  Then I got stuck on the part where Batman is underground in the Batmobile and that corkscrew-thingie is chasing him.  Couldn’t beat it and gave up!  I’ll give it another go…even if I have to get my son to beat that part for me!

JETT SAYS: I’m with you on Hitchcock.  Orson Wells would’ve been great too.

Who was the most serious runner up to Michael Keaton in BATMAN ’89?

JETT SAYS: I’ll ask Michael Uslan, but I don’t think anyone was, actually.  I think once Tim Burton came on board as director, that’s who they wanted (other than Mr. Uslan who about had a heart attack when Burton told him Keaton would be Batman — it’s a great story he’s told me many times!).  I do think that Bill Murray was once a serious candidate, but that was when the original script by Tom Mankiewicz was going to be used.  There were a lot of “names” tossed around, but I don’t think any of them went very far into the casting process.

UPDATED: I did ask Mr. Uslan and here’s what he said: “To the best of my recollection, once Burton came in, Keaton became it.”  Confirms what I said in my answer above.  Thanks to Mr. U for the info!