We’re taking a look at all the facts and details that have been revealed or strongly hinted so far pertaining to “The Batman,” which is scheduled to hit theaters in 2021. But keep in mind, since this film is still in development, many things may change along the way.
Matt Reeves Is Directing
For the longest time, Ben Affleck was set to director and star in this standalone “Batman” movie. By January 2017, though, Affleck and the studio reportedly came to the mutual decision that someone else should helm the project.
Enter Matt Reeves, who officially landed the gig a month later. In addition to directing and producing, Reeves is also co-writing the screenplay with Mattson Tomlin, while acclaimed composer Michael Giacchino is doing the score.
Reeves, meanwhile, broke out into mainstream popularity when he teamed up with his childhood friend J.J. Abrams on “Cloverfield.” Since then, Reeves has directed and written the American remake of “Let the Right One In,” as well as “The Planet of the Apes” sequels.
It Has Limited Connections to the DCEU
If you don’t take the time to lay the groundwork, the structure is going to collapse. The studio learned this the hard way with “Batman v Superman,” “Suicide Squad,” and “Justice League,” which seemed more interested in teasing future sequels and spinoffs rather than focusing on the story at hand.
Thankfully, the DCEU is finally starting to realize that cinematic universes don’t flourish overnight. “Wonder Woman,” “Aquaman,” and “Shazam!” were all mostly self-contained with minimal connections to the larger universe.
“The Batman (2021)” will reportedly take a similar approach. According to Reeves, “There are ways in which all of this connects to DC, to the DC universe as well.” However, Reeves added that he was “focused very specifically on this aspect of the DC world.”
It’s Based on “The Long Halloween”
Most live-action “Batman” movies have borrowed from the essential graphic novels. According to Kevin Smith, Reeves’ “The Batman (2021)” will primarily draw inspiration from “The Long Halloween,” a classic comic limited series written by Jeph Loeb with artwork by Tim Sale.
Smith broke the news on his Fatman Beyond podcast, claiming that he got confirmation from Reeves himself. “The Long Halloween” revolves around an enigmatic killer known as Holiday, who strikes every month on a different holiday.
The comic also chronicles Harvey Dent’s evolution into Two-Face, which was already explored in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. If “Long Halloween” is providing the basis for this movie, perhaps the next “Batman” film could tackle its sequel, “Dark Victory.”
It Won’t Have Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker
Although Todd Phillips’ “Joker” has been an enormous hit for DC and Warner Bros., there are currently no plans for a sequel. We’re also unlikely to see Joaquin Phoenix bring Arthur Fleck into the DCEU anytime soon.
Even if Phoenix does don the clown makeup again, it reportedly won’t be in “The Batman.” When asked if Phoenix’s Joker would pop up in Reeves’ film, Phillips conclusively said, “No, definitely not.”
Robert Pattinson wasn’t sure how a crossover would work, saying, “It’s kind of a different world.” Given the less-than-stellar reception to Jared Leto’s Joker, it’s safe to assume that he won’t be in “The Batman (2021)” either.
Could this mean that yet another actor will take on the role in future installments? Only time will tell.
It’s a Noir-Driven Detective Story
Batman is the world’s greatest detective, but most of the live-action depictions have missed this character trait. Reeves describes his interpretation as “an almost noir-driven detective version of Batman.”
The director further stated that the film would be “point-of-view driven,” allowing the audience to experience “what’s going on inside of his head and inside of his heart.”
Reeves compared this approach to Alfred Hitchcock, who always made the audience feel as if they were in the main character’s shoes, thus intensifying the suspense.
We can see Bruce Wayne blending in well with a Hitchcockian thriller like “North by Northwest,” “Vertigo,” or even “Rear Window.” What’s especially refreshing is that Reeves’ film won’t be an origin story, as we’ve seen Batman begin one too many times.
Zoë Kravitz Is Catwoman
It may’ve been more satirical in tone, but “The Lego Batman Movie” actually foreshadowed a casting choice for Reeves’ film. In the animated feature, Zoë Kravitz provided the voice of Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman.
Now Kravitz will actually get to suit up as the leather-clad cat burglar in “The Batman.” That’s not the only connection Kravitz shares to the DC brand. Her mother, actress Lisa Bonet, is married to Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa.
Kravitz is no stranger to comic book roles, having previously played Angel Salvadore in “X-Men: First Class” and voiced Mary Jane Watson in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
As Catwoman, Kravitz follows in the footsteps of Michelle Pfeiffer and Anne Hathaway. Let’s just hope she doesn’t take notes from the Halle Berry version.
There’s a New Jim Gordon in Town
While he wasn’t onscreen long in the theatrical cut of “Justice League,” fans generally agreed that Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons turned in a solid portrayal of Commissioner James Gordon. Too bad Simmons will probably never get to play the character in a greater capacity.
Although Simmons expressed interest in reprising his role and even said he was signed on for three movies, Gordon is being recast for “The Batman.” On the plus side, Reeves has set his eyes on an equally promising candidate to play Gotham’s most dedicated cop.
In September 2019, it was announced that Jeffrey Wright of “Westworld” was in talks to play Gordon. Wright all but guaranteed his involvement on Twitter. As for Simmons, at least he’s finally back playing J. Jonah Jameson!
Robert Pattinson is The Batman
Although actors like Nicholas Hoult were eyed for the part, Robert Pattinson was ultimately cast as the next Batman in May 2019. Pattinson broke out into stardom as Cedric Diggory in the “Harry Potter” franchise and, of course, Edward Cullen in “The Twilight Saga.”
In more recent years, however, Pattinson has been branching out into critically acclaimed indie dramas like “Good Time,” “High Life,” and “The Lighthouse.” One of the reasons Pattinson was drawn to this role is because Batman’s not a straightforward hero.
Actually, Pattinson went as far to say that, “Batman’s not a hero,” but rather, “a complicated character.” This could be hinting that Pattinson’s take on Batman will be more of an antihero who hasn’t fully developed a moral code yet.
Paul Dano Is the Riddler
With “The Long Halloween” being a key source of inspiration, “The Batman (2021)” is sure to break out the hero’s rogues’ gallery. When asked if he’d reprise his role as Deathstroke, Joe Manganiello vaguely responded, “Um, maybe. We’ll see.”
Although Jonah Hill was reportedly in talks to play either the Penguin or the Riddler, he decided to walk away from the project in the end. Not long after Hill passed, it was officially announced that Paul Dano had been locked down to play Riddler.
In this version, the Riddler’s alter ego will go by Edward Nashton rather than Edward Nygma. Will Riddler be the movie’s main villain or is he just a piece in an even larger game? That’s a riddle for another day.
There’s No Connection to Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck’s Batman
After walking away from the director’s chair, it wasn’t long until Affleck decided to hang up the cape and cowl for good. This paved the way for Pattinson to step up as the DCEU’s new Batman.
Since there’s a noticeable age gap between these two actors, some speculated that Reeves’ film may take place before Zack Snyder’s movies. It’s since been reported, though, that “The Batman” is not a prequel.
While still part of the DCEU, this will apparently be a standalone film with no links to Affleck’s Batman. The DCEU is in the midst of retooling, meaning this cinematic universe could go in any number of directions. Whatever awaits, “The Batman” should be an integral stepping stone.