Because The Batman is the 11th live-action theatrical feature film to star DC Comics’ Caped Crusader, there’s a lot riding on this movie to stand out from its predecessors. While we already have some inkling of how that will be accomplished within the story itself, such as Bruce Wayne’s detective skills being highlighted, it’s been revealed that behind the scenes, The Batman will be taking a cue from the Star Wars franchise with the way it films certain scenes.
After having to pause production for nearly half a year due to the current health crisis, The Batman has recommenced principal photography in the United Kingdom, (and is also shooting in the United States). As revealed by Industrial Light & Magic chief creative officer Rob Bredow during the virtual VIEW conference (via THR), this will include The Batman making use of virtual production, which filmmaker Jon Favreau has relied on in recent years with The Lion King remake and The Mandalorian.
In the case of the latter Disney+ Star Wars series, ILM worked with Jon Favreau to construct an LED wall powered by the Unreal real-time game engine. This led to ILM launching its Stagecraft virtual production unit, and the Stagecraft LED set was used again for The Mandalorian Season 2. While Rob Bredow didn’t provide specific details on the work being done for The Batman, it does involve ILM providing some pre-built practical sets and setting up an LED wall around the already established sets in the UK, thus allowing virtual production to be done on these specific scenes.
This fancy moviemaking technology will also allow the ILM team to communicate with The Batman cinematographer Greig Fraser, who won an Emmy for his work on The Mandalorian Season 1 and also shot Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. For those of you wanting to get a better idea about how virtual production will factor into The Batman, watch the below video chronicling its use during The Mandalorian’s first season:
The Batman isn’t the only upcoming superhero movie that’s relying on ILM’s cool technology. Thor: Love and Thunder will also use a Stagecraft virtual production stage when it kicks off production early next year. And like The Batman, the fourth Thor movie will benefit someone who has experience with virtual production, as director Taika Waititi helmed The Mandalorian Season 1 finale, as well as voiced the assassin droid IG-11.
Set during the second year of Bruce Wayne’s crimefighting career, The Batman will follow the eponymous character, played by Robert Pattinson, exploring corruption in Gotham City and clashing with a serial killer known as The Riddler, played by Paul Dano. The main cast also includes Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as Penguin, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone. Matt Reeves is directing The Batman and co-wrote the script with Mattson Tomlin. Two sequels are already being planned, as is an HBO Max series centered on the Gotham City Police Department during Batman’s first year of existence.