25/07/2013 12:55 BST | Updated 23/09/2013 06:12 BST

Batman Returns Again! But What Next for Cinema's Favourite Vigilante?

After Warner Bros' revelation that Batman will square off against Superman in the sequel to Man of Steel, the real question is; what will be the character's new incarnation be?

Of course, for many people, the idea of two comic book heroes fighting each other, is a fairly ridiculous and meaningless exercise, which only serves as a distraction from life's really important matters, such as the Royal birth or perusing Dignitas brochures.

But, while many staples of graphic novels have yet to make the successful transition to the big screen, Batman is arguably the genre's biggest success story.

According to Box Office Mojo, the seven Batman feature films since 1989, have grossed over $3.7-billion worldwide.

However, despite the enormous commercial success, the character has went through many guises, some of which have been more successful than others.

For anyone not keeping score; we've had gothic Batman, then camp Batman, and finally, conscientious vigilante Batman.

There have of course been drawbacks to every incarnation. Remember how Michael Keaton couldn't turn his head in the first two films?

After director Tim Burton left the helm, the franchise took on a distinctly cartoonish tone under Joel Schumacher's infamous stewardship.

The general consensus surrounding Batman Forever (1995), and the abomination which followed, was that the introduction of bat nipples and maniacal laughing could have been excused if the two films themselves had not been glorified toy commercials.

Then Christopher Nolan expertly pulled off the seemingly impossible; convincing the world that someone who dresses up as a Bat, while speaking like Frank Butcher, could be taken seriously as a human being.

After Nolan officially put his groundbreaking trilogy to rest, the studio have unsurprisingly decided to crank another Batman off the conveyor belt. But, where next for this brooding cinematic gold mine?

Firstly, there have already been strong indications from writer David S. Goyer, and director Zach Snyder, that Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent will indeed be enemies in the 2015 sequel.

Now, considering Superman is the superhero version of Ned Flanders, realistically Batman would have to be the antagonist in the film.

Reputable blogging sycophant, Batman On Film, has reported that the studio are seriously considering using the animated series Batman Beyond, as a template for the latest screen version.

Interestingly, that would involve an older Bruce Wayne, most likely in the throws of misanthropy, still haunted by the death of his parents.

Rather than risk comparisons with the Dark Knight version, an ageing, cynical Batman may not be such a bad idea.

And, considering that Superman's seismic introduction was met with an understandable amount of paranoia and fear in Man of Steel, it is entirely plausible that Batman may see this god-like extraterrestrial as a threat to man-kind.

Cue lots of kryptonite infused fight scenes, which will ultimately result in a superhero bromance, leading into a Justice League film that will ultimately make or break both cinematic properties.