By Ani Bundel
There have been a lot of Batmans running around the DC Universe lately. (Batmen? Batsman? Discuss.) There’s the Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy, the hinted-at Batman in Batwoman in the Arrowverse, the proto-Batmans in Gotham and Joker, not to mention the LEGO Batman. Plus, there’s the original Keaton Batman and Batfleck, both of whom are now scheduled to return in The Flash‘s big-screen adaptation of Flashpoint. (Not to be confused with the Arrowverse’s Flash.) But all of these Batmen will take a backseat to The Batman. This is the film starring Robert Pattinson (Battinson?), aka RPatz (RBatz?), the latest Caped Crusader to carry the franchise into the future, and the first trailer for The Batman was revealed today during the DC Fandome event.
Robert Pattinson’s casting was a hot topic among the fandom from day one. The actor, who got his start as Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter franchise, moved on to star in the Twilight films, turning him into the teen heartthrob of the late aughts. Since then, he’s spent the last decade rejecting mainstream franchise films, taking roles in the most offbeat indie oddities he can find. His return to a major franchise, starring as one of the most well-known comic book superheroes in history, is a reminder the actor doesn’t do things by halves, a trait most hope he brings to the Batman role.
Production on The Batman began in Scotland less than a month before the pandemic caused a worldwide shutdown in filming. (Rumor has it once filming can recommence, director Matt Reeves may move to closed sets for the remainder of principal photography.) With little footage ready to go, fans weren’t sure if a trailer was coming for The Batman panel. But DC FanDome managed once again not to disappoint.
— The Batman (@TheBatman) August 23, 2020
Robert Pattinson introduced Matt Reeves as the final interview of the night. He talked about the durability of the character. Reeves also revealed The Batman isn’t an origin story, nor is it about an established hero. This version of the film will drop fans into a space that hasn’t been explored much after Bruce Wayne takes up the cowl, but before he’s settled into it. Reeves also compared his film to a mystery procedural, as Wayne is uncovering just how deep the corruption goes in Gotham, and how his family was a part of it.
He also praised the extensive cast who surround Pattinson in this new iteration of the world of Gotham. Zoe Kravitz‘s Selina Kyle, for instance, has not discovered her Catwoman side yet. Andy Serkis‘s Alfred Pennyworth is at a point in his life fans haven’t seen either. And of course, Reeves talked up Colin Farrell as Penguin, one of the most anticipated of the forthcoming Rogue’s Gallery in the film, as well as Paul Dano‘s turn as The Riddler. He also promised Gotham wouldn’t look like New York in this version, revealing that he’s using lesser filmed cities like Liverpool as his backdrops.
Reeves also gave a bit of an overview of the HBO Max series that will tie into The Batman world. He described it as a deep dive into Gotham’s deeply corrupt police force and their experience of Batman’s emergence or “Year One,” as Reeves termed it. Considering the current political landscape and the need to confront how police procedurals present law enforcement, Reeves’ forthcoming TV series could be more timely than anyone could have guessed.
As the last panel of the day, The Batman was a fitting end to a successful event. Unlike SDCC, which failed to find a way to inject a sense of urgency into its pre-taped YouTube panels, DC FanDome made clever use of tight editing and fan-oriented shorts to create a cohesive daylong experience. Even when there wasn’t actual news dropped in the headliner events, it grabbed unexpected cameos to make fans feel a sense of surprise and tuning in was worth their time. The Batman panel was no exception, bringing a trailer that was one of the best of the weekend and getting fans excited all over again for yet another reboot of the franchise.
The Batman is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on Oct. 1, 2021.