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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. We recently learned that Ben Affleck definitely will not be returning to the cape and cowl, after last playing Batman in Justice League. But that won't stop Warner Bros. and DC from giving audiences more of the fan favorite character.
For a long time, concrete details about the upcoming Batman solo film had been incredibly difficult to come by. But recently, we've had real movement. So now's as good a time as any to sift 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?
Soon! But not really as soon as maybe some of you had hope. Still, there's a confirmed release date, so at least we can start there. We now know that Warner Bros. has targeted a release date of June 25, 2021 as the debut of its latest Batman movie. Although there’s been no official announcement yet on when production will start, various reports say it will either kick off in late 2019 or at the start of 2020 in London. This makes The Batman the fourth live-action movie on DC's production slate, and we also know that it will be followed, officially, by The Suicide Squad, directed and written by James Gunn. So yeah, the future is looking healthier at DC.
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. Even rumors that Birds of Prey would be R-rated are being walked back, ever so slightly. So we expect The Batman to stay PG-13.
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 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. Of course, we now know that Affleck is off the project completely, giving Reeves a clean slate to start over with a younger Bruce Wayne (assumedly).
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?
As mentioned earlier, Ben Affleck retired as Batman at the beginning of 2019, but because the actor had been rumored to be exiting the role more than a year beforehand, there was a lot of speculation about who would don the cape and cowl after him. Finally, 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. 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?
This section, sadly, has been deeply altered by the news that Ben Affleck was walking away from The Batman, and that Matt Reeves was exploring new material. Early reports associated with the Affleck version of the film indicated that the overall story for the upcoming Batman movie would be "villain heavy," and that The Dark Knight will face off with several of his rogues throughout the course of the film. There even were rumors that it would be set in Arkham Asylum, potentially seeing Batman fight his way through the corridors in a Raid-style thriller. Also, at one point, it was believed that Slade "Deathstroke" Wilson would play the role of the movie's central antagonist.
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. The writer-director did confirm to THR that there will be multiple villains plucked from the Caped Crusader's rogues gallery, and it’s been reported that Penguin, Catwoman and Riddler could appear. Penguin might have a more solid chance of appearing since apparently at one point both The Batman and Birds of Prey wanted to use Oswald Cobblepot, but the latter movie decided to feature Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask, as its main antagonist instead.
What Storylines Will The Batman Movie Adapt?
Since Matt Reeves indicates that the coming Batman movie will utilize an incredibly villain heavy storyline 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. THR notes that Reeves definitely is not doing Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, so that's off the table. Popular choices at this stage are Hush, in which a mysterious new villain (still, potentially, 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 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.
As far as The Batman is concerned, naturally some folks logically assume that Robert Pattinson’s Batman is a younger version of Ben Affleck’s, and that this movie will take place in that 20-year period between when Bruce Wayne first became a vigilante and when he finally crossed paths with Superman. However, there have been rumblings that this movie and any sequels that follow won’t tie into the DCEU whatsoever. If that’s true, that would mean that The Batman would have more in common with the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker, which also doesn’t take place within the DCEU.
More importantly, it would allow Matt Reeves to deliver a story without being restricted by any already established continuity. For now, Warner Bros is keeping mum on what The Batman’s DCEU connections are.
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. Obviously it will be a younger version of the character since Robert Pattinson is 33, but that was clear even before the role was cast for a handful of reasons. Matt Reeves has said on record that he'd like to build a Batman trilogy here, much like he did in Apes, and starting with an older Bruce Wayne makes that difficult (as big-budget superhero movies take time).
Also, every time Matt Reeves is asked, he refers to this story as a "noir Batman movie," with an emphasis on the hero's ability to solve crimes and detect things. People forget that Batman doesn't really have a superpower. He's a self-trained crimefighter, who has an unnatural will to fight, but relies on his intellect to bring down hardened criminals. The current run of Batman movies got away from that aspect of the character, and Reeves has an opportunity to lean more into Batman's detection skills, and less on his bloodthirsty distrust of the "menace" that might be 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 (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.
What About J.K. Simmons As James Gordon?
Will ANY members of the Ben Affleck Batman movies carry over into Matt Reeves' interpretation? While we couldn't see Jeremy Irons reprising his role of Alfred for a younger Bruce Wayne, it might make some sense to keep J.K. Simmons on board as Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon. 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 helped make the character an incredibly tough cop and reliable ally. He wasn't given nearly enough to do in Justice League, and a supporting role in The Batman could rectify the waste of Simmons' talents.
Naturally, a lot will change on The Batman (including, even, that title) as Matt Reeves finally gets up and running with his leading man, and supporting characters. But for now, this is what we know regarding the recent developments on the project. It's happening. And we know when! Now let's find out "who," and take it from there. Meanwhile, be sure to bookmark our DC Portal Page to stay up to date on all the developments for upcoming DC movies.