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James Gunn's The Brave And The Bold Can Fix The One Thing Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy Got Wrong

The hierarchy of power in the DCU is about to change all over again. After months of speculation, James Gunn has announced a slew of new films and TV shows that will steer the franchise into the future. They include a "Swamp Thing" reboot, a "Lanterns" series in the style of "True Detective," and a "Supergirl" project that promises a much "harsher" depiction of the titular heroine. However, fans of Gotham City's favorite crusaders will be more enticed by "The Brave and the Bold."

Little is known about "The Brave and the Bold" at the time of this writing, but we can take some educated guesses based on the nuggets of information that have been provided. According to James Gunn (via Twitter), the film is influenced by Grant Morrison's "Batman" run and it will introduce the DCU's iteration of the nocturnal caped crusader. Elsewhere, his son, Damian Wayne, will be involved as Robin, which suggests that the Al Ghul family will also make an appearance. This part is important, but more on that later.

A new "Batman" movie is always a cause for excitement among superhero fans. At the same time, "The Brave and the Bold" is also the perfect opportunity to right the only wrong in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy.

Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy whitewashed the Al Ghuls

Many critics and fans agree that Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy is the peak of comic book cinema. The films have been praised for their gritty and somewhat realistic approach to superhero-centric storytelling, boasting villains whose acts of terror are rooted in real-world fears. Unfortunately, the films have also been criticized for whitewashing some of their more morally ambiguous characters, including Talia (Marion Cotillard, Joey King) and Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neeson).

In simple terms, whitewashing means casting white actors in traditionally non-white roles. In the DC comics, Talia is a woman of color of Arab and Chinese descent. Her dad, Ra's, meanwhile, is originally from East Asia, though some stories imply that he's of Eastern Roman descent. 

Comic books retcon characters all of the time, but Nolan was clearly inspired by the Asian origins of the Al Ghuls when creating his acclaimed trilogy. In "Batman Begins," the eponymous hero meets Ra's in a Bhutani prison and later travels to Tibet to join his League of Shadows organization, where he encounters ninjas and receives martial arts training. With the exception of some window dressing in the League of Shadows scenes, nothing about Ra's or his daughter (who appears in "The Dark Knight Rises") pays tribute to the characters' heritages. Of course, Nolan's movies aren't the only superhero projects to whitewash characters of color, but DC now has an opportunity to break that habit.

James Gunn's DC Universe can fix the problem

With Damian Wayne set to play a big part in "The Brave and the Bold," the filmmakers have a chance to rectify the mistakes of the "Dark Knight" trilogy regarding Talia and Ra's Al Ghul. In the Grant Morrison comics that have influenced this project, Damian is the son of Batman and Talia; therefore, it's reasonable to assume that the Al Ghul dynasty will inform the film's story to some degree.

As James Gunn noted in his Twitter announcement, "The Brave and the Bold" will introduce the "Bat family" to the DCU. This, coupled with the connection to Morrison's comics, suggests that the filmmakers will see young Damian mingle with the Waynes and the Al Ghuls. But will "The Brave and the Bold" honor the legacy of the Al Ghul family by exploring their multicultural roots and casting authentic actors for the parts?

Gunn has a history of making colorblind casting decisions, some of which have resulted in more diversity and inclusion. For example, High Evolutionary in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3" will be played by Chukwudi Iwuji, a British actor of Nigerian descent. Meanwhile, the original comic book character is depicted as a white gentleman from northern England. Gunn defended the decision to cast Iwuji as having nothing to do with race, noting that the performer is "the best actor [he's] ever worked with" (via Twitter). As such, the future of the DCEU will probably be diverse, albeit in unexpected ways.