Out of all the DC movies slated to hit theaters over the course of the next few years, the one that seems to have the most people excited is the Ben Affleck-fronted solo Batman movie. It's not hard to understand why, since Affleck completely stole the show with his appearances in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as Suicide Squad, so it only makes sense to give audiences more of the fan favorite character.
That being said, concrete details about the upcoming Batman solo film have been incredibly difficult to come by. We've gone through all of the released news and rumors about the upcoming project to bring you everything we know so far about the latest chapter in the long cinematic history of The Dark Knight. Now let's get the ball rolling with the question that's at the forefront of everyone's minds.
What Is The Batman Movie Release Date?
At this point, no official release date for the currently untitled Batman solo film has been released by Warner Bros, and we have very little evidence to indicate where it could potentially fall on the upcoming DC slate. With the multiple shakeups and changes that have gone on behind the scenes at Warner Bros. throughout the course of 2016, we wouldn't even find ourselves remotely surprised to see yet another shuffling of the slate at some point in the near future to either delay or move up the possible release of the Batman solo movie. All we know for sure about the film's current timeline is the fact that Joe Manganiello recently came out and admitted that everyone involved has decided to take their time; in his words: "the movie will start shooting whenever those pieces are in place."
What Is The Batman Movie Rating?
Despite the fact that many people have often clamored for an R-rated Batman movie over the years, it doesn't look like Warner Bros. or DC has any intention of bringing us one anytime soon. For the foreseeable future, they intend on keeping their films squarely in the PG-13 realm -- although that's an admittedly flexible field. In response to a recent fan petition to make Suicide Squad an R-rated adventure, it was revealed that there are no plans to release any R-rated DC movies in theaters. The primary impetus for this creative decision seems to be a desire for tonal consistency so that each and every entry in the proper DCEU canon feels like it belongs. In this regard, WB appears to be veering more towards Marvel territory than FOX, as the latter of those two has shown a bit more willingness to present more violent and vulgar superhero material to the MPAA.
That being said, we could still potentially see an R-rated Batman movie in some form or another. The Ultimate Edition Blu-Ray release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice featured an R-rating, so there's clear precedent for the studio to eventually release a Batman adventure featuring more adult-oriented content at some point.
Who Is Working On The Batman Movie?
Shortly after most people came to the collective realization that Ben Affleck's Batman represented one of the best aspects of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. set about getting him much more involved creatively in the greater DCEU. The studio eventually revealed that Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns had been collaborating on a script for the upcoming Batman solo movie, with Affleck also set to direct. However, that all shifted earlier this year when Affleck officially dropped out as the director of the project to focus on acting in the project and Planet of the Apes' Matt Reeves was subsequently brought onboard.
However, this major shakeup behind the scenes at Warner Bros. also effectively means that certain other individuals will have significantly reduced roles in the upcoming film. As of right now there seems to be no indication that Zack Snyder has any involvement in the Batman solo film, and Batman V Superman producer Charles Roven has also been reassigned to have a much less significant, hands off role with all of DC's solo movies. Matt Reeves seems to have major control over the future of the Batman franchise -- which in turn means that he also has plenty of control over the greater DCEU.
Who Is The Villain Of The Batman Movie?
Although we don't know much about the central conflict of the upcoming Batman movie, we do know some major details about the evil side of the affair. Early reports associated with the film have indicated that the overall story for the upcoming Batman movie is "villain heavy," and that The Dark Knight will face off with several of his rogues throughout the course of the film. However, despite the abundance of bad guys, it was revealed last summer that Slade "Deathstroke" Wilson would play the role of the movie's central antagonist.
One thing worth noting is that it was recently revealed that the Red Hood would not make an appearance in the upcoming Batman solo movie. This came as an immense shock to a large portion of the audience because many people had come to the overall assumption that the presence of Jason Todd's Robin outfit in the Batcave during the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice would plant the seeds for his eventual revival as the violent anti-hero. However, plenty of elements have likely changed with Matt Reeves' introduction to the process, so it's hard to know which villains he will want (or not want) to use.
What Storylines Will The Batman Movie Adapt?
As previously mentioned, all of the rumors seem to indicate that the coming Batman movie will utilize an incredibly "villain heavy" storyline in order to quickly set up Batman's corner of the DCEU. From that rumor, we can extrapolate a few particular storylines that might come into play. Popular choices at this stage are Hush, in which a mysterious new villain (most likely Deathstroke) rallies all of Batman's rogues against him; Knightfall, in which Batman's back is broken by Bane (the movie could swap Bane out for Deathstroke) and he finds himself left to rebuild his weakened body; and the recent video game Arkham Origins, which sees a group of deadly assassins (again, Deathstroke plays a major part in this) all banding together to take on the Dark Knight in the span of a single evening.
Few notable comic book characters seem to have a back catalog of stories quite on par with that of DC's Caped Crusader. These three are some of the most popular guesses and theories at this point, but there are countless other options that Ben Affleck and Matt Reeves could draw from. Deathstroke is an incredibly malleable main villain, so all of these storylines are fair game. Hell, they could even come at this story from left field and try something entirely new with absolutely no basis in the DC comic book lore. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it's simply too early in the development process to know for certain what story they will use, particularly with the recent changes.
Where Does The Batman Movie Fit Within The DCEU?
In many ways, Batman seems to represent the lynchpin of the upcoming DCEU movies. Following the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, we see Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) agreeing to find others like them and work together to eventually assemble the Justice League. Behind the scenes photos from the Wonder Woman solo movie have indicated that Ms. Prince will make her way to Gotham City at some point during her own adventure, so the Batman solo movie will conceivably take place during a time when he and the Amazon are actively tracking other metahumans.
Then there's the matter of Task Force X. Suicide Squad clearly takes place after Dawn of Justice -- because several characters reference Superman's death in that film -- and we saw Batman show up to square off with characters like Harley, Joker, and even Amanda Waller. With Batman popping up in so many other DC films, we have a suspicion that his solo movie will take place after the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in order to add to the Justice League momentum that Warner Bros. has been building. Before Dawn of Justice is still possible, but after seems far more likely.
What Type Of Hero Will We See In The Batman Movie?
At this early stage of the film's development, it's incredibly difficult to tell what type of Batman we, as an audience, will see when the film finally premieres. That being said, the character will likely not evolve too much from the brutal, violent, and all around dark hero that we saw during the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Numerous people praised Ben Affleck's borderline psychopathic performance as the character, so we have a feeling that they will take an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality to the character.
However, when the film takes place will have a very significant impact on the mentality of the character. If the Batman solo movie takes place before the events of Batman V Superman (which is still entirely possible), then we can reasonably assume that the Batman we get will be incredibly jaded and cynical from his years of experiences and loss. However, if the film takes place after the events of Batman V Superman, then we could very well see a grizzled yet newly optimistic Dark Knight, whose experience alongside Superman and Wonder Woman has galvanized him to feel a new sense of hope for his world. After all, he showed far more mercy to Deadshot, Harley, and Joker in Suicide Squad than he would've before meeting Superman.
Who Will Bruce Wayne Work With In The Batman Movie?
Anyone who knows anything about Batman knows that he's not quite as much of a loner as he claims to be. Over the years The Bat Family has had numerous members, and we can likely expect to see at least some of them make an appearance at some point throughout the course of the upcoming Batman solo movie. With a Nightwing movie on the way under the guidance of The LEGO Batman Movie's Chris McKay, the introduction of more Bat Family members seems even more likely now.
Jeremy Irons As Alfred Pennyworth
The recent release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice saw the introduction of the latest incarnation of Alfred Pennyworth, Batman's closest ally. Unlike previous takes on the character -- most of whom have been portrayed as butlers with some medical or military experience -- Irons' Alfred seems like an all-around badass who has more in common with a head of security than a domestic worker. Dawn of Justice showed the character providing essential support to Bruce Wayne, flying the Batwing, and even helping in the design of some of the coolest gadgets that we saw in the film; the upcoming solo adventure likely won't deviate from that effective formula.
J.K. Simmons As James Gordon
After Alfred, the closest ally Batman has ever had comes in the form of Gotham City police commissioner, James Gordon. We know for a fact that his character will make his debut in 2017's Justice League Part One, and if he survives the events of that particular movie we firmly believe that he will go on to play a central role in Bruce Wayne's war on crime in the Batman solo movie. Depictions of the character have varied considerably over the years -- from Pat Hingle's bumbling buffoon to Gary Oldman's hard-boiled detective -- but we think J.K. Simmons' proven intensity will make the character an incredibly tough cop and reliable ally. At this point, Simmons is not officially confirmed for the Batman solo movie, but he has stated that he expects to work on the film.
Joe Manganiello as Slade Wilson
Without question, one of the most fascinating DC developments to occur last summer came with the announcement that Joe Manganiello will take on the role of Slade Wilson a.k.a Deathstroke in the solo Batman movie. From a visual standpoint, it makes plenty of sense, as the actor maintains a physicality that's certainly reminiscent of the legendary mercenary. At this point, not much is known about Manganiello's potential take on the character, but his research indicates that he's drawing from a number of different sources to craft something new. Manganiello's enthusiasm should be enough to get fans pumped because he has been incredibly vocal in his assertions that this Batman movie will be unlike anything fans have seen before.