Get ready to meet the new Batman. Oscar-winner John Ridley is taking over the character as part of DC’s massive Future State event. The line-wide event will reveal what the future of the DC universe looks like. In this case, it will be Tim Fox, son of Lucious Fox, taking over duties as the Caped Crusader.
Ridley recently spoke about Future State: The Next Batman with DC. The first issue recently hit shelves, with the younger Fox now fighting crime in Gotham City. as Ridley explains, Fox was always the first choice.
“Tim (Fox) was the first choice,” explains Ridley. “I think there are a lot of characters out there that could have been Batman, but for me, I think their motivations were not hyper clear. And I don’t want to force change to either the detriment of stories that came before or having to overly modify what was going to come. Tim just allowed for a really particular narrative, which we believe is going to allow for a very particular incarnation of his Batman.”
Not having Bruce Wayne under the cape and cowl is just the beginning. This new Batman will be inheriting a wildly different version of Gotham City as well. Bruce Wayne had a relationship with Jim Gordon and other members of the GCPD. Tim Fox is starting from scratch.
“There are going to be changes in the hierarchical structure of the Gotham City police, of the administrations—all kinds of things going on with Bat people,” Ridley said. “Gotham is a character. It represents any major urban area and all the challenges that go with it—all kinds of crime, high and low, all kinds of people, all kinds of neighborhoods, all kinds of perspectives, people on the right side of the law who view what implementation of the law means, and certainly all kinds of people on the wrong side of the law, who want to take advantage of everything that’s in the city, take advantage of people and opportunities.”
“I want to lean into the human vastness of Gotham City.” Ridley added. “You look at any major metropolitan area and there are just difficulties of policing those cities, and I don’t mean the political difficulties of it. I mean just how many officers per capita, per square mile. How do the beat cops see things differently than the detectives and the political administration?”
The book and this new character will also have some social relevance. Much was made of the idea of a “black Batman” when the news first came to light. But for Ridley, it will truly mean something.
“Unfortunately, just as for pretty much every Black person in America, this moment that we’re going through right now, it’s hyper realized, it’s very raw, and while the wider culture is very aware of it, this isn’t new for us,” Ridley said. “Having a young Black man who is going to be an extension of law enforcement in this world, there are going to be people who recognize that the storytelling has the capacity to be very politicized.“
“But with Future State: The Next Batman in particular, it’s going to a whole other level because there are elements within that story, when you’re talking about the militarization of any kind of representation of law enforcement, whether it’s police officers themselves, whether it’s extra-legal organizations, those are things that people have been grappling with for a long time. So, it wasn’t about modifying it—this is going to be part of the storytelling,” Ridley added.
Future State: The Next Batman is available now.