The Path of the Bat
A live-action procedural series explaining the skills and abilities that Batman learned while traveling the world as Bruce Wayne, and how that shaped the hero he would become, and the demons he would combat. It would be similar in tone to BBC’s Sherlock while utilizing the time-jumping chronology demonstrated by Lost.
The series will focus on the first few years of Batman’s existence in Gotham City, while flashing back to the training he received during his decade traveling the world. Commissioner Gordon is not his ally yet, and Batman hasn’t encountered any of his infamous rogues’ gallery. Each episode would begin with a set up in present day Gotham City, followed by the flashback to his past. The two timelines will parallel each other as the episode unfolds, and demonstrate what skills he is specifically using for the crimes he solves.
It would begin with a present day Bruce Wayne looking over Gotham City and someone welcoming him back to Wayne Enterprises. He would then think back to the day he told Alfred he couldn’t stay in Gotham anymore, and that there was nothing for him to learn in a place that was so dark. Young Bruce would board a ship and his journey would begin. There would be no need to start with his parent’s murder. Many people are familiar with how Bruce lost his parents, and a simple main title that shows a gunshot and a string of pearls falling onto a dirty alley floor would serve this purpose each episode. There is no need to delay the progression of the story with an origin episode.
The beginning of the flash backs on his journey would focus on Bruce’s inexperience and anger about the injustice committed against his family. He would disembark somewhere in France, and upon seeing some thieves or other criminal sorts he would attempt to intervene. His anger towards the criminal element would overpower any sense of self preservation, and he would be beaten, badly. His intervention would draw the attention of Henri Ducard. Not the man we know as the former leader of the League of Shadows, but the man-hunting French detective who would teach Bruce about forensics and the art of deduction.
In France, Bruce will not only gain invaluable skills needed to become the world’s greatest detective, but he will also learn about the restrictions and red tape involved when trying to stop illegal activites through the “proper” channels. Eventually, his unsanctioned involvement with some of Ducard’s cases will force him to leave France to save his mentor’s reputation.
In this past, Bruce will travel to the other areas that lend him skills and abilities inherent in becoming Batman. From the body control methods of the Nepalese monks, to the tracking and hunting education he receives in Africa, to the stealth and combat abilities in Japan and East Asia; Bruce’s Journey spans nearly a decade.
During his training he will also start to form the idea of Batman. The darkness he will find useful in his stealth training in Japan; the vision of the bat he will discover during his body control teaching in Nepal, and the importance of theatricality and symbolism he will remember from seeing the Mark of Zorro from when he was a child.
Throughout the show viewers would see allusions to what Bruce will eventually become: his disgust of clowns, despising people who are two-faced, being assaulted by a porcelain penguin in an exaggerated skirmish. Ducard will begin tracking the illegal trafficking of what will eventually become the Venom that powers Bane’s strength.
As the back story unfolds, viewers will simultaneously be following a story in present-day Gotham that mirrors what Batman is learning in each episode. Each specific skill he learns in his travels will be showcased as he unravels and plan by Ra’s Al Ghul to return the world to its natural state. Ghul’s purpose is simple: human beings, once a symbiote, have become a parasite and must be eliminated in their current structure in order to preserve the planet, and the species.
Ghul will use the different members of Batman’s rogues’ gallery in order to get what he wants, mostly from behind the curtains and in the shadows.
After Ra’s is revealed he will attempt to use the Joker as a pawn in his plane – a disastrous attempt that will set him back on his plans, and thrust the Joker into the spotlight as the major antagonist. The two will vie for the title of top villain throughout the series.
Unbeknownst to Bruce, Ra’s will even play a part in his early training years. Because of Ra’s vast international connections and need for a proper heir for his organization, he could monitor, influence, and invest in Bruce’s travels. Ra’s could even pit Bruce against other potential suitors for Talia Al Ghul without their knowledge.
Warner Brothers is already an established name in the DC world. They have shown that they can take a familiar story and make it something new and fresh. Shows like Smallville, Arrow, and even back as far as Lois and Clark, have shown that they know how to create something contemporary, as well as engaging. This series will allow Warner Brothers to continue that trend, enhance both the Batman franchise as well as perpetuate the legacy of Gotham’s lone protector.