Batman will be back in 2021! In keeping with the character's evolution on the big screen, this won't be the same version of the Dark Knight Detective seen in films like BATMAN V SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE. This is a different take on Batman, with a new director and a somewhat surprising actor in the starring role. While the new Batman movie, which is simply titled THE BATMAN, isn't shooting yet, we already know a lot about it.
Here's everything you need to know about THE BATMAN.
[Image Credit: DC Comics]
THE BATMAN comes to theatres on June 25, 2021. The movie has not begun shooting yet, but with a planned start of production in early 2020, Warner Bros. and the crew have plenty of time to work before that debut date.
[Image Credit: DC Comics]
Because cameras have not yet begun to roll on THE BATMAN, there is no trailer for the movie at this point. You'll see a lot of fan-made trailers on YouTube, but so far everything that claims to be a trailer for THE BATMAN is not official. We don't know when to expect a first trailer, but with over a year to go before the film hits theatres, sometime in Summer 2020 seems like a safe bet.
[Image Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Matt Reeves, the director of CLOVERFIELD, LET ME IN, and DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES is writing and directing THE BATMAN. (That's him working on WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, above.) He took over from writer/director/star Ben Affleck and co-writer Geoff Johns, who were set to make the movie while BATMAN V SUPERMAN was in production. In January 2017, Affleck stepped down as director, and Chris Terrio (JUSTICE LEAGUE, STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER) was signed to write a new draft of the script.
Matt Reeves signed to direct THE BATMAN in February 2017. Eventually, he also did a rewrite of the script. Nearly two years later, Affleck fully dropped out of the film, opening the door for a new actor to star as Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego, Batman.
[Image Credit: DC Comics]
This is a good question! The Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns version of the movie is where the title THE BATMAN was first used, and it has stuck around even years after their departure. As a title, THE BATMAN is brisk and utilitarian and will work well no matter what kind of movie Matt Reeves is making. But if a new title is announced, we wouldn't be entirely surprised.
While it's too early to definitively say THE BATMAN will be any one thing, Matt Reeves has made a few ideas clear so far. In 2017, the director said "I think there's a chance to do an almost noir-driven, detective version of Batman that is point of view driven in a very, very powerful way that is hopefully going to connect you to what's going inside of his head, and inside of his heart."
Batman, of course, originally appeared in "Detective Comics," which became the namesake of DC Comics. The degree to which the character acts as a detective changes depending upon the creative team behind any given story, but that aspect of Batman has always been a core part of his story. Prior movie versions of Batman have shown him in detective mode, but comments from Reeves make THE BATMAN sound like it could explore that side of the character's skill set in more depth.
Matt Reeves has been working on THE BATMAN since 2017, which means that he has had plenty of time to field questions about his approach to the Dark Knight. Later that year, while promoting WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, for example, he said: "I have ideas about an arc, but really, the important thing is just to start... you have to start with one." He mentioned that while RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES was made with the hopes that a series would follow, the precise plan was not set in stone. "I would say that that more relates to the way that I see a Batman story, is a kind of ambition for a series of stories, but really the most important thing is gonna be to tell a vital first story."
So THE BATMAN is the first story, and it could well lead to a series. That said, we'll have to see how the first film turns out before knowing for certain that additional movies will follow, or that Reeves will make them.
[Image Credit: Cinedigm Entertainment Group]
THE BATMAN cast has been creating intense conversation since the first announcements. Robert Pattinson leads the cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and right there you've got a formula for a Batman movie that is very different from any other. It's a genius casting choice, as Pattinson has demonstrated a total fearlessness in other roles over the past few years.
Andy Serkis, who played the ape Caesar in two PLANET OF THE APES movies directed by Matt Reeves, will appear as Alfred. That casting choice suggests a very different Alfred than we have seen in previous movies, too. Unless there's a lot of digital age work on Serkis, this Alfred will be younger than most other movie versions of the character.
Zoë Kravitz will appear as Catwoman, and Paul Dano plays the Riddler, while Jeffrey Wright plays Commissioner Gordon. It's too early to know what comic book incarnations of those characters each actor will base their performances on. We don't even know what to expect from their costumes, or if THE BATMAN will feature outfits that are close to their comic book counterparts.
Additionally, new talent Jayme Lawson is playing a character named Bella, who is "a grassroots political candidate running for office in Gotham," according to Collider. And spectacular character actor John Turturro has been cast as crime boss Carmine "The Roman" Falcone. (Falcone has been played on screen in the past by Tom Wilkinson, in BATMAN BEGINS, and by John Doman on the show "Gotham.")
Colin Farrell is reportedly in talks to play the Penguin, and with that description of Lawson's character, we also expect to see the Harvey Dent character show up. He has not been properly announced or cast at this point, however. Director Matt Reeves has said "There will be a rogues gallery," so expect at least a couple more villain characters to be finalized before shooting begins.
All the comments from writer/director Matt Reeves have made clear that THE BATMAN will not be an origin story! Instead, as The Hollywood Reporter wrote when detailing the story of Robert Pattinson being cast in the lead, Batman "is written as around 30 years old, and the story is neither another rehashing of his origin nor the tale of a seasoned crimefighter ruling Gotham City. He is Bruce Wayne still trying to find his footing on his way to becoming the genius detective."
In other words, think of something along the lines of the final act of Christopher Nolan's BATMAN BEGINS. Even with that in mind, however, it sounds like THE BATMAN will be significantly different from even that last act of Nolan's first movie about the superhero.
One big question about THE BATMAN is whether or not there's any chance that Joaquin Phoenix's version of the Joker will show up. At this point, that seems unlikely, as JOKER was designed as a story that stands apart from the rest of the DC Comics movies. Still, there's always the chance that Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne will be revealed as the adult version of the boy seen in JOKER.
One rumor claims that THE BATMAN is set in the 1990s. In that case, it would be ten or more years after the events of JOKER, which would more or less line up with JOKER's Bruce Wayne as he gets close to 30. That timeline would also allow THE BATMAN to exist in the same world as BATMAN V SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE, so long as viewers could accept that Robert Pattinson grows up to be Ben Affleck.
Even if there's no direct link to JOKER, we're excited about this new vision of Batman. Matt Reeves has proven himself to be an excellent filmmaker, and Pattinson's performances are always impressive and surprising. This all makes for a dramatic revision of the hero, compared to all the other movie versions of Batman, and we're keen to investigate the movie further.
All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, except where noted.