5. Poison Ivy

Some would say the character was tainted after Batman & Robin. They would be wrong, but even if we ignore Uma Thurman’s stellar, self-aware, Drag-inspired Poison Ivy, the character would fit right in with DC’s new direction. Not only would she be perfect for a raucous Thelma & Louise type story with Harley Queen (perhaps one where the two were romantically involved, as in the comics), but she could simultaneously carry forward DC’s post-Dark Knight sensibilities as an eco-terrorist villain (or even an eco-activist antihero) whose plan is rooted in contemporary politics. The best of both worlds.

4. Martian Manhunter

Another staple of DC Television, though one who’s been around in the comics since 1955, J’onn J’onzz is the Justice League’s resident stone-faced Oreo muncher. The last son of Mars, J’onn is perhaps the most “serious” character on this list (in that he rarely cracks wise), but the shape-shifting telepath has a heart of gold, often steering his superhero colleagues in the right direction. Like Superman, he’s also a refugee, though unlike the Man of Steel, he doesn’t fit the image of your everyday white American. More pertinently, rather than escaping an exploding planet as a baby, he fled from violence and genocide and came to Earth as an adult. Just as on The CW’s Supergirl, now would seem like the right time to introduce an aspirational reflection of modern human crises. 

3. Midnighter and Apollo

If the trend of hypermasculine hunks in homoerotic rivalries is set to continue, the very least we could do is switch up the paradigm. Fittingly, Rocky and Apollo Creed had one of the greatest “bromances” in action cinema (followed by The Rock and Vin Diesel in the Fast & Furious films), and if we were to try and replicate their dynamic with modern superheroes, it would only make sense to take it to its logical conclusion. For the uninitiated, Midnighter and Apollo can be described as Batman and Superman, only lesser known, far more violent, and most importantly, married. Though, unlike Batman, Superman and the A-List of the DC Pantheon, these WildStorm originals weren’t created as idealistic or aspirational figures in quite the same way, so using them as outlets for over-the-top comicbook blood and guts doesn’t necessitate a narrative readjustment. Unhinged violence can be fun too, depending on who’s involved, and seeing two queer dudes cracking villain skulls while looking out for each other is something we haven’t really seen.

2. Captain Carrot

10 years ago, it would’ve take audiences a while to get comfy with the idea of Earth-26, a parallel universe filled with Looney Tunes-esque animals who themselves write stories of DC heroes. But if Rocket Raccoon adventuring alongside a Norse God can gross $2 billion dollars, then Rodney Rabbit, AKA Captain Carrot, not showing up in December’s Aquaman is cowardice, plain and simple. The best thing about Captain Carrot, though, is that the DCEU doesn’t even need to change that much to accommodate him. His appearance in Grant Morrison’s 2014-2015 series The Multiversity saw him fighting alongside dozens of other alternate-universe superheroes (including President Calvin Ellis, Earth-23’s Superman modeled off Barrack Obama) in a story about demonic cosmic parasites threatening all of existence. It was in this gloomy world that Captain Carrot, a children’s character from the 1980s, used the concept of cartoon physics as a weapon against evil. That’s pretty much the most fun thing I can imagine for these movies. Well, outside of our #1 entry, that is…

1. Batman

I know, I know. Just hear me out, okay? You can still keep your dark, moody Batman (I’m a fan of Ben Affleck’s take on the character and I’d like to see him in Matt Reeves’ The Batman) but if you can have a parallel Joker movie that sounds like it was cast using mad-libs (I’m also here for Joaquin Phoenix’s Clown Prince of Crime, for what it’s worth), then you can sure as hell have a Batman who embodies the silliest aspects of the Caped Crusader. Yes, he suffers from Survivor’s Guilt. Maybe even PTSD. But he’s also a fundamentally ludicrous character whose belt looks like multiple fanny-packs sewn together. Hell, in the 1960s, there was an entire show and a theatrical film about how silly Batman is, with his Bat-labels for absolutely everything (Shark-repellant Bat-spray, anyone?), but he was still a heroic detective who refused to get rid of a bomb when it was safest for him, if it meant hurting some cute little ducklings. Now more than ever, the DC universe, needs a fun Batman, whose brooding is contextualized not as a virtue, but as a wall to be broken down as he accepts a new family of superheroes. The Dark Knight has endured for 80 years precisely because you can make him as serious or as ridiculous as you want, and there’s nothing stopping a little tonal variety even in straightforward Batman films.

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