Fans are eagerly anticipating a fresh look at Robert Pattinson’s Caped Crusader this weekend, as a brand new trailer for The Batman is due to launch at DC FanDome 2021.
The virtual event celebrates all the exciting projects that the comic book franchise has coming down the pipeline, from blockbuster movies to cult favourite television shows and action-packed video games.
The Batman is arguably the most high-profile title on the line-up this year, with director Matt Reeves promising to show-off plenty of new material to fans, including a closer look at his reimagined Gotham City.
The acclaimed filmmaker had originally hoped to construct Bruce Wayne’s fictional home using real-world locations, but ultimately had to rely on The Mandalorian-style LED backdrops due to production issues caused by the pandemic.
Warner Bros clearly has very high hopes for The Batman, which is expected to be one of the biggest films of 2022, as they have recently started work on their second HBO Max series set to spin out of the blockbuster.
The show is in the very early stages of development at the time of writing, meaning there’s a chance it may not go ahead, but it would delve deeper into the life of Colin Farrell’s dark new take on The Penguin.
As we prepare for all the action from DC FanDome, read on for everything we know about 2022’s The Batman so far.
The Batman release date
The Batman is currently scheduled for release on Friday 4th March 2022, having been one of many blockbusters to suffer multiple lengthy delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Previously, it had been pencilled in for a release in June 2021, before moving to a Halloween-themed October date, and then jumping another five months to its current spot in the calendar.
The project first got underway on 27th January 2020, but The Batman filming was halted as the pandemic spiralled into a global crisis that March, with three-quarters of the movie still left to film (via Deadline).
Fortunately, work was able to resume in September 2020, after then-Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden MP announced that major productions would be able to film in England as long as they operate in a tightly controlled “bubble”.
Just days later, the movie went on hiatus once again after star Robert Pattinson tested positive for COVID-19, but fortunately he recovered from the illness and returned to work after his isolation period.
In March 2021, more than a year after cameras started rolling, director Matt Reeves announced a wrap on The Batman’s principal photography, meaning there’s every hope it will be able to make its current release date next year.
Four months later, Pattinson, Farrell and Reeves reunited for reshoots that took place over multiple weeks in the cities of Glasgow and York, according to The Daily Record.
Reshoots are very common for major blockbuster movies and not necessarily a cause for concern, so fans have no reason to worry about the quality of the reboot at this stage.
The Batman cast
Robert Pattinson leads the cast of the hotly anticipated movie as billionaire socialite Bruce Wayne, who has a secret side-hustle when night falls, becoming the brutal crime-fighting vigilante known as Batman.
Variety broke the news back in May 2019, revealing that Pattinson had faced stiff competition from the likes of X-Men star Nicholas Hoult, but ultimately secured the gig off the back of indie film buzz from Good Time and The Lighthouse.
This latest incarnation of the Batman will have his work cut out for him from the beginning, with Matt Reeves’ movie set to feature several key figures from his iconic rogues gallery.
Paul Dano has been cast as classic antagonist The Riddler/Edward Nashton, who appears to be the main villain in this entry if last year’s teaser trailer is any indication.
Meanwhile, Big Little Lies star Zoe Kravitz has landed the role of Catwoman aka Selina Kyle, a cat burglar who has been a friend, foe and even lover to Batman at various points in the comic books.
This isn’t her first run-in with the character as she had previously been considered for 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises (losing out to Anne Hathaway), while she also lends her voice to Catwoman in The Lego Movie and its spin-off The Lego Batman Movie.
We got our first look at Kravitz in action in the debut teaser trailer for The Batman, where she sports an early lo-fi version of the character’s trademark look.
Fresh off his physical transformation for BBC Two’s The North Water, Colin Farrell will be near-unrecognisable once again as he portrays crime boss Oswald Cobblepot – better known as The Penguin.
In a recent interview on the Happy, Sad, Confused Podcast, Farrell revealed that he has a relatively minor role in the film, although we wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up returning for the inevitable sequel.
“I’m only in it for five or six scenes, so I can’t wait to see the film because it won’t be ruined by my presence,” he said. “Really, it’s a freebie for me. I’ll get a little bit uncomfortable for the f**king nine minutes I have, and then the rest of it, I cannot wait to see how [Matt Reeves, director] brought this world to life.”
Fans were shocked to learn that Farrell was the star hidden underneath prosthetics in the moody teaser, but the considerable make-up does bring his appearance closer in-line with how the character is depicted in the comic books.
Another recurring villain in the DC universe has also been confirmed for The Batman, with The Plot Against America‘s John Turturro set to play mob boss Carmine Falcone. But don’t worry, Bruce Wayne will have some friends too.
Fresh off his recent voice role in Marvel’s What If…?, where he played cosmic witness to the multiverse The Watcher, Jeffrey Wright is returning to Earth to play Gotham City’s Commissioner Gordon.
The character, who has recently been portrayed by Gary Oldman, JK Simmons and Ben McKenzie, is a close ally to Batman, as well as the eventual father of Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (who is not expected to appear in this chapter).
Discussing the project, Wright told The Hollywood Reporter: “It was gothic. It was sleuthful, if that’s a word. It was mysterious, and it was tricky. It was tricky because of the conditions that we were working in.
“It was isolating for those of us who were away from home, out of the country, over in London. I experienced more quarantines than I would wish on anyone, going back and forth over the last six months. So it was a pretty dogged one to try to pull off.”
Another essential figure in the Bat-family is Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth, with this latest incarnation of the character skewing younger than what we’ve seen previously, with Venom 2 director Andy Serkis taking the role.
The Batman marks a reunion for Serkis and Reeves, who previously collaborated on the critically-acclaimed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and its 2017 sequel, where he played motion-capture character Caesar.
Rounding out the supporting cast are Peter Sarsgaard (Dopesick) as Gotham’s District Attorney Gil Colson, Alex Ferns (Chernobyl) as Commissioner Pete Savage, and newcomer Jayme Lawson as mayoral candidate Bella Real.
In March 2020, The A.V. Club broke the news that twins Max and Charlie Carver, known for appearing together in MTV’s Teen Wolf series, had also joined the cast in undisclosed roles.
Later that year, Eternals star Barry Keoghan was announced as Jim Gordon’s GCPD partner Stanley Merkel in the official video description for the first trailer.
When is The Batman set?
The film will be set during the second year of the Caped Crusader’s existence, with Bruce Wayne in the midst of his crime-fighting days and finding his feet as a vigilante – so don’t worry, it’s not another origin story.
Director Matt Reeves confirmed the timeframe at 2020’s DC FanDome, during a discussion of the distinctive Batsuit, which we got a close-up look at in the officially released camera test.
“It’s very practical, the idea is that [Batman] made it himself,” Reeves said at DC FanDome in August 2020. “It needs to look like he can move, but it’s still evolving. He’s in Year Two of being Batman.”
“It’s early and Batman’s still a vigilante,” the directed continued. “[Gotham’s people] wonder, ‘That guy sounds a little dangerous.’ He’s not yet the symbol of hope. He’s still a growing legend. People wonder whether he exists. It’s one of the things he will confront in the story.”
What is The Batman about?
The movie will be helmed by director Matt Reeves, best known for his work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and its sequel, and will see Batman go up against a serial killer known only as The Riddler.
Speaking about the film’s plot at DC FanDome 2020, Reeves said: “The whole idea is that this is all an experiment in the movie. The idea that we’re in Year two, it’s the Gotham experiment; it’s a criminal, logical experiment, trying to figure out what he can do to finally change this place. And in our story, as he’s in that mode, that’s where you meet him and you see that he’s charting what he’s doing and he doesn’t seem to have any effect on what he wants to happen.”
Reeves also seemed to hint that the film would delve far more into the history of Gotham’s corruption – and how that might connect back to Batman’s origins after all, but in a new and unexpected way.
He continued: “And that is when the murders start to happen, and then the murders begin to describe sort of the history of Gotham in a way that only reinforces what he knows about Gotham, but it opens up a whole new world of corruption that goes much farther. But as that story starts to come out, without being an origin tale for him, it ends up being something that touches on his origins.
“So you start to describe this epic history of corruption in Gotham that you start to understand, ‘Well, where did my family sit in that?’ And in that sense… is a way to take a story, a point-of-view story, a mystery,” added Reeves. “It’s got, of course, action, and all that kind of stuff, but at the end of it, it’s incredibly personal for him even though it’s in the story where he’s trying to understand and unravel this mystery.”
Robert Pattinson has also teased details about the movie, promising fans that it will be “radically different” to the numerous Batman movies that have come before it.
“For some reason, Batman has always stood out as one of the major characters of the 20th century, and so many people connect with it on such a deep level for so many different reasons,” said at CinemaCon 2021. “From the first conversation I had with Matt about it, I just knew that there was something radically different [here].”
Naturally, fans have been speculating wildly about possible plot points, with one interesting theory positing that the new Batman costume could have the gun that killed Bruce Wayne’s parents built into it.
In an earlier comic book storyline by Kevin Smith, Batman melts down the gun and uses the metal for his chest plate, so it’s quite possible that this idea could be incorporated into the new live-action version.
The Batman trailer
The first trailer for The Batman dropped in August 2020 at the first ever DC FanDome event, introducing the world to Robert Pattinson’s caped crusader.
Impressively, at the time this teaser was released, only 25 per cent of the film had been shot, meaning there would have been quite limited material for the editors to work with – yet they still managed to break the internet.
And that trailer is not all that DC Fandome gave us, as we also had a glimpse behind the scenes of the movie – check out what that revealed below:
The Batman HBO Max spin-offs
Warner Bros are investing heavily in their new Batman film franchise, with two spin-off streaming shows reportedly on the way to HBO Max.
The first to be announced was a prequel series focusing on the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD), which would presumably be a more grounded and gritty interpretation than what we saw in FOX’s Gotham.
“The Gotham PD series will go into the corruption of the Gotham Police Department,” Matt Reeves said at the DC FanDome in August 2020. “It goes back to Batman Year One… we’ll see these characters from a perspective we’ve never seen before.”
Initially, Boardwalk Empire’s Terence Winter was to act as showrunner on the series, but he quit the job in late 2020 over creative differences (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Two months later, Giri/Haji creator Joe Barton was announced as his replacement, assuring a fan on Twitter that his show is going to be “very different” to Bruno Heller’s Gotham, which ended its five-season run in 2019.
In September 2021, a separate The Batman spin-off series was revealed to be in development for HBO Max, which hopes to focus on Colin Farrell’s Oswald Cobblepot (who will go on to be known as The Penguin).
Variety said that the project is in “very early stages” of development, with Farrell yet to sign a deal to reprise his role, but Agents of SHIELD writer and producer Lauren LeFranc is attached to pen the script.
It is understood that The Batman director Matt Reeves will executive produce both shows, which should help keep his growing corner of the DC Universe tonally consistent.
What other Batman films have there been?
The Dark Knight is one of the most-depicted superheroes in cinema, with various iterations of the character played by different actors cropping up over the last few decades.
Excluding 1940s serials, the first time Batman turned up on the screen was in a spin-off from the popular 1960s TV series starring Adam West, with Batman: The Movie released in 1966 and remaining a cult classic to this day.
Following this the character was adapted by Tim Burton for 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, where he was played by Michael Keaton opposite foes like Jack Nicholson’s Joker, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman and Danny DeVito’s Penguin.
After Burton and Keaton departed (though Burton remained as producer) Joel Schumacher took over for the Val Kilmer-starring Batman Forever (1995) and its sequel Batman and Robin (1997), which starred George Clooney after Kilmer had scheduling conflicts.
Following the poor critical and commercial response to the film (which is still remembered as one of the worst-ever superhero movies) Batman didn’t return to screens again until Christopher Nolan’s reboot origin story Batman Begins, which starred Christian Bale and sparked two critically-acclaimed sequels – 2008’s The Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
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Following that trilogy the character was rebooted again for Warner Bros’ connected DC universe, with Ben Affleck cast for 2016 crossover movie Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Affleck’s Batman also appeared in villain-based spin-off Suicide Squad (also in 2016) and 2017 team-up movie Justice League, the poor performance of which ended up inspiring Affleck to pass the baton to Pattinson.
For a lighter version of the caped crusader, check out 2017’s The Lego Batman movie, which saw Will Arnett reprise his role as Lego Batman from The Lego Movie for a critically-acclaimed, fourth wall-breaking riff on the DC Comics franchise.