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Robert Pattinson’s Bat Cave Is Inspired By Actual Abandoned Subway Stations Under This New York City Landmark

Any time a new filmmaker takes on the mythology of Batman for a big-screen adaptation, they can have fun exploring familiar Batman tropes and changing them to fit the tone of the intended story. Matt Reeves, for example, wanted to make The Batman much more of a true-crime thriller, leaning into the aspect of the Caped Crusader being the world’s greatest detective. And because this is a relatively new Batman in only his second year of patrolling, his tools aren’t nearly as advanced as they will get to be in later years. This includes the Bat Cave, a classic lair we first got a look at in toy form that is identified by its gadgets and gizmos in the hands of other filmmakers. But for his cave, Reeves took inspiration from an unexpected location that actually exists under New York City.

The Bat Cave in Matt Reeves’ The Batman is located at the base of Wayne Tower, located in the heart of Gotham City. Speaking on behalf of The Batman as it makes its way to Blu-ray and 4K (opens in new tab) on May 24, production designer James Chinlund talked about the idea of avoiding a suburban Bat lair underneath stately Wayne Manor, as has been portrayed in the Christopher Nolan films, or the 1966 Batman television series. Instead, they modeled Robert Pattinson’s Bat Cave after an actual subway station in New York City that was created beneath The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in case of an emergency, prompting the need to remove the U.S. President from Manhattan in a timely and safe fashion.

Chinlund tells CinemaBlend:

Under the Waldorf Astoria (hotel), there is a train station that is only accessible through the bowels of the Waldorf. Apparently there’s a train there. I don’t know that it’s necessarily a new train. I don’t know whether they are keeping it up. But certainly in the ‘50s and ‘40s, it was there waiting for the President in the event that there was some unfortunate event, to be able to sweep him out of town. I always just thought that was such a romantic idea.

It really is. And it also makes sense, when thinking about putting the Bat Cave under a location in the city, that an actual cave wouldn’t compute. Rather, one would have to rely on a series of tunnels that are in place for a transit system – or in the case of Bruce Wayne, an abandoned subway system – in which to create your headquarters. The VFX artists at Weta who were assigned to construct the Bat Cave using CGI on top of a practical build talked about changes they made to the structure as the movie made its way to theaters. You can better analyze those differences now that the movie is available to own and watch at home. 

James Chinlund went on to tell us his hopes for The Batman 2, should he be able to return and continue to construct the Gotham that exists in Matt Reeves’ imagination. The production designer told us how much he enjoyed designing The Iceberg Lounge for Colin Farrell’s The Penguin, so we can only imagine how much fun he’d have cooking up ideas for the two villains we think were teased in The Batman. Even though Robert Pattinson has a great idea for The Batman 2 villain, and I sincerely hope that he is correct. We will find out once details for the sequel eventually arrive.

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.