Next year, a new Batman era will begin, as Matt Reeves’ The Batman will introduce the world to Robert Pattinson’s version of DC Comics’ Dark Knight. Although The Batman isn’t an origin story like Batman Begins, it will depict a younger Bruce Wayne who’s only in his second year of fighting crime in Gotham City. That, combined with Pattinson’s Batman tracking down a serial killer, makes The Batman sound quite similar to Batman: The Long Halloween, one of the Caped Crusader’s most popular stories.
Back in 2019, it was reported that The Batman would adapt The Long Halloween, and while it’s since become clear that Matt Reeves’ movie is telling a more original story, The Long Halloween was among the Batman stories Jeffrey Wright read when he was preparing to play James Gordon. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with DC writer Tim Sheridan, who penned the animated, direct-to-video film adaptations Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two, and when I brought up the similarities between The Batman and The Long Halloween, he stated it would have been weird if Reeves hadn’t drawn influence from the tale originally written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Tim Sale. In Sheridan’s words:
All that tells me is what I already knew, and I think what you already knew, The Long Halloween is a beloved classic that informs so much about not just Batman, but Gotham City and the world in which these characters that we’ve grown up with, the world they inhabit, it really fleshes it out for us. And as a filmmaker, if I’m making The Batman, I think it would be madness for Matt Reeves to not look to cues from The Long Halloween to tell his story. That’s just my opinion, so I hope that we get to see some cool stuff. I will say this though, I’m jealous of Matt Reeves that he is not going to have the kind of stuff I hear from some fans, which is ‘Why didn’t you do it exactly like it’s drawn or the way it’s done in the book?’, which is like, no one is going to say that Robert Pattinson needs to look like Tim Sale drew him.
Published as a 13-issue limited series from 1996 to 1997, Batman: The Long Halloween saw Bruce Wayne trying to apprehend a serial killer named Holiday, who, as you can infer, murdered people on holidays. Along with Batman running into familiar faces from his rogues gallery during this journey, The Long Halloween also followed District Attorney Harvey Dent working with Batman and James Gordon to overthrow the Falcone crime family, only to fall into darkness himself. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale later reunited for the follow-up stories Batman: Dark Victory and Catwoman: When in Rome.
In the case of The Batman, Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne won’t be tracking down Holiday, but rather Paul Dano’s Riddler, who’s killing people on any day he pleases. Nevertheless, The Batman does seem to maintain some of The Long Halloween’s spirit, including Catwoman and Carmine Falcone, major players in the original story, being present in the movie. This won’t be the first time a live-action Batman movie has drawn from that particular story either. The Dark Knight had shades of The Long Halloween, including putting its own spin on Batman, James Gordon and Harvey Dent’s rooftop meeting where they agreed to work together to bring down organized crime in Gotham City.
The Batman swoops into theaters on March 4, 2022, but you can see Batman: The Long Halloween directly adapted for the animated realm when Part One comes out on June 22. Part Two’s digital release will follow on July 27, and can be purchased on Blu-ray and DVD starting August 10. Keep your eyes peeled on CinemaBlend for more news about upcoming DC movies.