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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.
What Is The Batman Movie 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). That being said, 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. The truth is, however, that it’s simply too early top tell, especially when we haven’t seen a trailer or learned of any concrete details involving the film’s plot.
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?
As mentioned earlier, Ben Affleck retired as Batman at the beginning of 2019, then, 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. It remains to be seen if the Riddler will be the primary antagonist in the film or how he will be portrayed, but with Matt Reeves writing and directing a character portrayed by the talented Dano, we’re in for a treat.
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. 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. How this research plays into the movie remains to be seen, but fingers crossed we see some action based on Frank Miller’s amazing Batman origin story.
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.
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 production, it's incredibly difficult to tell what type of Batman we, as an audience, will see when the film finally premieres, especially when you consider that we’ve only seen a few pictures of Batman and the Batmobile at this point Obviously it will be a younger version of the character since Robert Pattinson is in his mid-30s, 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 Planet of the 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.
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.
When Will We See The Batman Trailer?
We are still more than a year out from the October 1, 2021 release of The Batman, so it’s safe to guess that a full trailer won’t be released until next summer at the earliest. There is always the possibility of a teaser popping up at some point by the end of 2020, but even that seems early, so we might not see anything major until at least the Super Bowl in February 2021.
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.