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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 solo Batman movie, which is expected to launch a potential trilogy surrounding a younger version of the Caped Crusader. And that very much seems to be the case with the casting of the Robert Pattinson in the leading role, who joined the project following the departure of Ben Affleck in 2019.
The Batman has had its fair share of ups and downs and starts and stops ever since it was first announced, and matters were only made worse when the Coronavirus pandemic essentially shuttered film productions and closed down theaters around the world in early 2020. But with the possibility of shooting starting back up again at some point in 2020, there’s never been a better time to take a look at everything we know about the first standalone Batman movie in nearly a decade. Now let's get the ball rolling with what we know so far about the Batman solo movie.
What Is The Batman Movie Release Date?
Soon! But not really as soon as maybe some of us had hoped.. Still, there's a confirmed release date, so at least we can start there. Warner Bros. initially planned on releasing The Batman as a summer blockbuster with a June 25, 2021 release date, but the production stoppage forced the studio to push the premiere a few months down the road to October 1, 2021. The new release date means that -- assuming it holds this date -- James Gunn’s highly anticipated The Suicide Squad will beat Matt Reeves The Batman to the theaters as stacked supervillain movie is slated to be released on August 6, 2021. So yeah, the future is looking healthier at DC.
The First The Batman Trailer Was Revealed At DC FanDome
If Matt Reeves’ DC FanDome panel wasn’t exciting enough, the filmmaker concluded his presentation by revealing the first The Batman trailer. Although it came in at a little over two minutes in length, the teaser trailer provided a great deal of information about the upcoming DC movie, including shots of Batman showing off his detective skills with Jim Gordon as well as his brutal hand-to-hand combat skills against a group of thugs. In addition to some great Dark Knight footage, the trailer also showed what appeared to be Paul Dano’s The Riddler, Colin Farrell’s Oswald Cobblepot, and a few glimpses at Zoë Kravitz in the role of Selina Kyle.
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 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 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 (he has been off the DCEU for some time now), 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 Will Play The Batman?
In May 2019, Robert Pattinson was reported to be Warner Bros’ pick for the new Batman, though it was later clarified that X-Men franchise star Nicholas Hoult was also a finalist. Both actors screen tested for The Batman, and by the end of May, Pattinson won the Batman mantle.
Most people remember Robert Pattinson for playing Edward in the Twilight movies, but since that franchise ended, Pattinson has been keeping his career going with a variety of smaller projects, like Cosmopolis, Queen of the Desert, The Lost City of Z and Good Time. Pattison also appears in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Tenet, so one-time heartthrob is not only expanding his acting abilities, he’s also working with the man responsible for some of the best Batman movies ever released. We’ll have to wait and see how his Batman differs from the previous live action versions, but depending on how The Batman is received, this could end up replacing Twilight as what Pattinson is remembered best from.
Who Is The Villain Of The Batman Movie?
Just like essentially every Batman movie since the 1992 release of Batman Returns, The Batman will feature at least two of the Caped Crusader’s most formidable foes, three depending on how you see a certain feline-inspired burglar. Here are the members of the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery that are confirmed for the 2021 comic book movie.
The Riddler / Edward Nashton
In October 2019, it was confirmed that Paul Dano, who gave scene-stealing performances in There Will Be Blood, Prisoners, and countless other feature films, had joined to cast as Edward Nashton, also known as the Riddler. Anyone who has paid attention to the methodical and cerebral acting style used by Dano knows that there are few actors better equipped to take on the role of the enigmatic trickster, which seems to be much darker than any other iteration of the character. In the DC FanDome The Batman panel, director Matt Reeves revealed that this version of the character isn’t like anything we’ve seen before, and judging by the trailer, he’s not lying.
Penguin / Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot
The Riddler won’t be alone in whatever plans he has cooked up for Batman as crime lord Oswald Cobblepot, better known as Penguin, will also be a major player in Matt Reeves’ version of Gotham City, a version the director said detests his iconic nickname. It was confirmed in January 2020 that Colin Farrell would be taking on the role of one of the Dark Knight’s most notorious adversaries in the upcoming movie. And if comments made by the Irish actor in May 2020 are to be believed, Farrell will be going all out in his depiction of Penguin.
Catwoman / Selina Kyle
For the fourth time in the history of Batman movies, Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, will fit into the plot of The Batman one form or another as it was confirmed in October 2019 that Zoë Kravitz would be the latest actress to play the sometimes ally and sometimes enemy of the Caped Crusader. And longtime comic book fans will be relieved when they hear that Kravitz conducted her fair share of research when preparing for the role, including reading the iconic Batman: Year One comic. Matt Reeves said at DC FanDome that Selina Kyle will not yet be Catwoman as fans know her and that her journey will be a major part of the upcoming movie.
In addition to the big-time villains of Gotham City appearing in The Batman, it appears an often underused and underrated foil of the Dark Knight will have his hands in the happenings of the upcoming movie as it was revealed in November 2019 that mob boss Carmine Faclone would have a featured role, this time played by John Turturro. Falcone has only been featured in one movie over the years — portrayed by Tom Wilkinson in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins — but even then he helped set up Bruce Wayne’s transition from billionaire playboy to the masked vigilante that strikes fear in the hearts and minds of Gotham’s criminals.
What Storylines Will The Batman Movie Adapt?
Since Matt Reeves indicates that the coming Batman movie will focus on a number of villains in order to quickly set up Batman's corner of the DCEU, while also emphasizing the "Detective" aspect of the DC Comics character, we can extrapolate a few particular storylines that might come into play. It was previously reported by SlashFilm notes that Reeves definitely is not doing Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, so that's off the table.
One of the most ideal storylines to adapt would be The Long Halloween, which featured a number of Batman’s biggest and baddest villains as well as a lot of great detective work from a younger Caped Crusader. If Matt Reeves wants to explore the beginnings of Batman, this would be a great place to start, plus, it also serves as an origin story of Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent’s descent into criminality and madness. This works especially well if Peter Sarsgaard’s Gil Colson ends up being a fake name for Mr. Dent.
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 Matt Reeves could draw from. Or, he could forgo adapting a known Batman storyline from the comics and simply conceive an original tale that works for the big screen. 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?
At this point, it probably doesn't. After Justice League bombed, DC and Warner Bros. seem to be reconsidering the collective path forward, and "shared universe" doesn't seem to be on their radar. Aquaman has thrived as a solo, standalone story. Wonder Woman 1984 will be a continuation of Patty Jenkins' successful solo Diana Prince story, with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine returning. While James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is technically a sequel to the first Suicide Squad movie, it’s also being envisioned as more of a relaunch/semi-reboot to Task Force X’s first movie, so connections to the David Ayer version might be few and far between. In fact, the party line out of the DCEU headquarters is that there's no longer a concerted effort to make these movies connect.
Instead, it appears that DC films are shifting towards what executives call the “Multiverse,” as was laid during the DC FanDome panel “Multiverse 101.” During the panel, President of DC Films Walter Hamada noted that characters featured in Justice League (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash) exist on one version of Earth while Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Todd Phillips’ Joker exist in their own individual Earths, stating:
And obviously, there are outliers like Joker, which doesn't exist in either Earth, but that's okay, it's all part of the Multiverse. Matt Reeves can continue to build out his Gotham, and he's got great plans to build it out and build it out in a way that's innovative.
With that being said, it doesn't look like Arthur Fleck's version of The Joker will be tormenting Batman in Matt Reeves' universe anytime soon.
When Is The Batman Movie Set?
Similar to Tim Burton’s 1989’s Batman, Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman won’t focus on how Bruce Wayne becomes the Dark Knight, but instead tells his story more than 18 months into his journey, which the director described as being “Year Two” in the DC FanDome panel. Reeves explained that the movie will touch on Batman dealing with his failures to become the beacon of hope after his first year on the streets and his grand experiment, revealing:
This is all an experiment. In the movie, the idea is that we're in year two, it's Gotham experiment, it's a criminological experiment he's trying to figure out what he can do that can finally change this place, and in our story, as he's in that mode, that's where you meet him and you see that he is charting what he is doing. He is seeing that he's not having any of the effect that he wants to have yet, and that's when the murders start to happen.
Referring to the various murders allegedly carried out by The Riddler seen in the first trailer for The Batman, Matt Reeves explains that these heinous crimes will begin to tell the story of dark and corrupt history of Gotham City and how that past will have an impact on Bruce Wayne and the city around him, explaining:
The murders begin to describe sort of the history of Gotham in a way that not only reinforces what he knows about Gotham, but it opens up a whole new world of corruption that went much farther. But as that story starts to come out without being an origin tale for him, it ends up being something that touches on his origins.
We have rarely, if ever, seen this version of Batman in the past, which makes it all the more exciting to see.
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 (and its potential sequels). With a Nightwing movie still being rumored under the guidance of The LEGO Batman Movie's Chris McKay, the introduction of more Bat Family members seems even more likely now.
Who Else Will Star In The Batman?
Bruce Wayne isn’t the only character getting a new actor in Matt Reeves The Batman, as some of the Dark Knight’s biggest allies will also be portrayed by different actors when the movie hits theaters in October 2021. Below is a list of other characters (including Commissioner James Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth) who will be featured in the upcoming comic book adventure.
Jeffrey Wright - James Gordon
Although the character of Gotham Police Commissioner James Gordon was portrayed by J.K. Simmons just a few years back in Justice League, it appears Matt Reeves is going in a different direction for The Batman, as veteran actor Jeffrey Wright has been cast as one of Batman’s most trusted allies. The star of the HBO series Westworld was initially attached to the project in late 2019, but it was confirmed shortly after that Wright would be the latest talented actor to don the trademark glasses and mustache made famous by the top cop in Gotham.
Andy Serkis - Alfred Pennyworth
Rumors that Andy Serkis (who appears in literally everything) would be shifting over from Marvel to DC began to swirl partway through 2019, but it has since been confirmed that the extremely talented actor would be teaming up with his Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves once again in The Batman. Serkis will be playing Bruce Wayne’s longtime caretaker and confidant Alfred Pennyworth. Jeremy Irons had previously taken on the role in the previous DCEU productions, but like J.K. Simmons, he was replaced ahead of The Batman.
Peter Sarsgaard - Gil Colson
When you hear of a middle-aged actor playing a district attorney in Gotham City, you automatically assume that person will be playing none other than Harvey “Two Face” Dent, but that remains to be seen for Peter Sarsgaard’s portrayal of Gil Colson in The Batman. Sarsgaard, whose last appearance in a comic book movie was the 2011 Green Lantern adaptation, has gone on the record saying that Colson is essentially a politician that has a problem telling the truth, which doesn’t sound like the guy with the “I Believe in Harvey Dent” campaign slogan.
Jayme Lawson - Bella Reál
Rounding out the list of cast members (in a non-villainous role) is Hollywood newcomer Jayme Lawson, who will be playing Gotham mayoral candidate Bella Reál, though not much is known about the character. Lawson, a graduate of Juliard, will be making her film debut in The Batman, so surely director Matt Reeves saw something in her.
What Is The Batman Movie MPAA Rating?
It still remains to be seen whether The Batman will break from the norm of superhero movies and have an R-rating or if DC Comics and Warner Bros. stick with the traditional PG-13. There’s a case to be made for both ratings, especially after Joker became the most profitable comic movie of all time in 2019. The Harley Quinn-led Birds of Prey even had an R-rating, which is a major departure from the studio’s decision to release a toned down PG-13 Suicide Squad in 2016. If DC and Warner Bros. decided on releasing an R-rated Dark Knight movie, it wouldn’t be a first for the character as the Ultimate Edition of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice had a restricted rating (on home release). There's clear precedent for the studio to eventually release a Batman adventure featuring more adult-oriented content at some point.
At the same time, comic book movies have traditionally gone for a PG-13 rating in order to get as many people into theaters as possible, so it’s very likely that Warner Bros. and DC will play it safe and go for the more inclusive rating, especially after trying to make up for lost revenue when theaters were shut down in 2020.
And judging by the way Batman mercilessly beat the ever-living crap out of the street thug with face paint reminiscent of a certain Clown Prince of Crime in the first explosive trailer and the introduction of the movie’s version of The Riddler, the case could very well be made that The Batman ends up having an R-rating when it hits theaters in late 2021.
Only 25 Percent Of The Movie Has Been Filmed At This Point
The trailer for The Batman that dropped during DC FanDome in August 2020 did nothing but make everyone more excited for the film’s October 1, 2021, release, but as director Matt Reeves explained during his panel, only 25 percent of the movie has been shot at this point. This all means that the action-packed trailer is barely scratching the surface of what we can look forward to seeing The Batman when it eventually drops in theaters. This also means we will have plenty of more updates to make in the months to come, so continue to check back for all the latest news on The Batman and other DC film projects here at CinemaBlend.