It’s been eight years since the last solo big screen Batman outing, but you can’t keep the Caped Crusader down for long. A new Batman film, simply titled The Batman, will be hitting movie theaters in the fall of 2021. Initially set to star Ben Affleck, who’d also direct, the film shifted gears after he departed the project. It is now in its own continuity, apart from the DCEU.
Here’s everything we know so far about the long-awaited return of Gotham’s Guardian to the big screen.
The Latest Production Updates
As of September 3, after only a brief foray back into production following a long hiatus incurred by the coronavirus pandemic, production on The Batman has once again shut down. Per Vanity Fair, star Robert Pattinson has tested positive for COVID-19. Naturally, the priority concern here is the health of Pattinson and the cast and crew at large, so here’s wishing a speedy and full recovery to the star and anyone else afflicted.
Who Is Behind the Camera?
A few months after Ben Affleck departed the project as director, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War For The Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves was then announced as his successor. Production was at first going to begin in 2018, but Warner Bros. delayed the film until Reeves—who is writing and directing the film—could hammer out a script everyone was satisfied with. Filming began in early 2020. As of DC FanDome on August 22nd, Reeves said they’d shot 25-30% of the movie so far. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed them down a bit.
Who Is Starring?
Not long after Matt Reeves was signed on, Ben Affleck stepped down as Batman. Our new Batman/Bruce Wayne is none other than Robert Pattinson. The former Twilight star will be playing a younger version of Batman, closer to the start of his career. In January 2020, Matt Reeves revealed the first camera test of Robert Pattinson in the Batman costume and released it via Twitter.
Using Twitter, Reeves has confirmed a number of the film’s cast members and their characters. After appearing in Lord of the Rings, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Planet of the Apes and Star Wars, Andy Serkis is making his transition to the world of DC films as Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
The role of that fine feathered felon known as the Penguin is apparently going to Colin Farrell. Although usually portrayed as short and portly, with Farrell in the part we might be getting our first sexy and dapper version of Oswald Cobblepot.
Paul Dano will be playing the role of the Dark Knight’s iconic adversary, the Riddler, a.k.a. Edward Nashton. In the comics, he then changed it to Edward Nygma. If you’re wondering if he can play a good smarmy villain, look no further than his work in There Will Be Blood.
Catwoman, a.k.a. Selina Kyle, will be played by none other than Big Little Lies‘ Zoe Kravitz. She tested with Robert Pattinson, and won the role against the likes of actresses such as Ana de Armas, Ella Balinska, and Eiza Gonzalez. Kravitz actually played the role once before, as she voiced Catwoman in The LEGO Batman movie.
Tony and Emmy-winner Jeffrey Wright, who you know from James Bond, The Hunger Games franchise, and Westworld, was formally announced by the director on Twitter as Bruce Wayne’s chief ally in the Gotham police force, James Gordon. No word yet on if Wright will keep his great beard or go with the classic Jim Gordon mustache-only look.
Veteran actor John Turturro is also joining the cast as Gotham City crime boss Carmine Falcone. The character first appeared in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One comics, shown as the last vestige of the old mafia families which still held power in Gotham before the costumed criminals arrived. Falcone appeared in Batman Begins played by Tom Wilkinson, in a film which also drew inspiration from Batman: Year One.
While it is unknown just who he is playing at this point, sources at The Hollywood Reporter are speculating that Peter Sarsgaard is possibly playing none other than Harvey Dent, a.k.a. Two-Face. That remains unconfirmed however.
According to a report from Collider, actress Jayme Lawson, a recent Juilliard graduate, has landed a significant role in the film. Sources at io9 have learned that Lawson will be playing a character named Bella, who is “a grassroots political candidate running for office in Gotham.” There aren’t any significant DC Comics Batman universe characters named Bella, but this could be an all-new character. Similar perhaps to Rachel Dawes in Christopher Nolan’s films. Or Bella could be a code name. Only time will tell.
Barry Keoghan has also reportedly been cast, per A.V. Club, in the upcoming film. The Killing of a Sacred Deer will play Stanley Merkel, the Gotham cop comics might readers remember as Jim Gordon’s first partner.
Who Will The Villains Be?
We know that more than any previous Batman feature film, this one will feature a metric ton of classic Batman rogues. Included for sure are the Riddler, the Penguin, and Catwoman. Reeves noted at DC FanDome that though this movie isn’t an original tale for Batman, it is for those three rogues. They’re not the villains we know quite yet.
And there are also rumors of appearances by Two-Face, Mad Hatter, and Firefly. Additionally, some rumors state those villains will still not be all we see in this film.
What Will The Batman Be About?
Given that this film is said to be a noir style mystery, many fans think it will be an adaptation of—or at least inspired by—the comic book series The Long Halloween. That seminal miniseries featured nearly all of Batman’s villains, and had the Dark Knight following the trail of a killer in a year long detective story.
Reeves hasn’t said anything about The Long Halloween though. He has said the movie will focus on Batman’s second year of wearing the cape and cowl. Batman is far from being perfect. He’s not having the effect he wants to have on Gotham. A series of murders begin happening in Gotham (as seen in the teaser), and they tie into the history of the city. So while this movie is emphatically not an origin tale, Reeves said the movie does touch on Batman’s origins. As Bruce learns more about Gotham’s corruption, Bruce has to reconcile it with how his family—the Waynes—fit into the mess. It’s a detective story; there’s a mystery. But The Batman is also an incredibly personal story
Will We Get a Cool New Bat-vehicles?
What’s a Batman movie without a Batmobile? Matt Reeves has unveiled a first look at the new Batmobile via his Twitter account. This is a return to the classic car version of the Dark Knight’s iconic ride, as opposed to the tanks of recent Bat-films. And you can see a decent shot of Robert Pattinsion in these new images as well. To paraphrase Batman Forever, “we dig the car.”
With new set photos revealed, we also see a capeless Batman riding a motorcycle through a graveyard. His outfit looks very inspired by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Zero Year run on the comic.
Snyder and Capullo’s run is one of the character’s best, so if they are taking inspiration from that, then fans are in for a serious treat.
When Is It Coming Out?
The Bat-Signal was originally set to light the sky once more on June 21, 2021. However, due to the COVID-19 production shutdown, The Batman moved to an October 1, 2021, release.
Featured Image: Warner Bros.
Originally published on September 24, 2019, with updates on January 7, February 21, July 22, August 22, and September 3, 2020.