The upcoming standalone Batman movie has been so long coming that you’d be forgiven for assuming it may never happen. But just as details have been scarce for what’s currently called The Batman, writer and director Matt Reeves has surfaced to not only confirm the movie is happening, but also tease a potential release date and what fans can expect from his take on the Caped Crusader.
This standalone Batman movie first materialized in October 2014, when filming on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had wrapped and fans were eager to see Ben Affleck’s take on Batman. Warner Bros. was eager to get Affleck to direct The Batman, but the Oscar-winning Argo filmmaker remained non-committal until 2015, when it was revealed that he was also working on the screenplay with Geoff Johns. Then in January 2017, in the wake of Batman v Superman’s disappointing performance and some public personal troubles for Affleck, it was announced that Affleck would no longer direct The Batman and would simply assume starring duties.
Since that time, details have been scarce. WB hired War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves to write and direct The Batman in February 2017, and he’s been working on the screenplay ever since as rumors have swirled that this will be more of a reboot, with Affleck no longer playing the Caped Crusader.
In a new interview with THR, Reeves neither confirmed nor denied Affleck’s involvement in The Batman, but did tease his noir-tinged take on the story that will also be detective-driven:
“It’s very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale. It’s told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it’s going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films. The comics have a history of that. He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, and that’s not necessarily been a part of what the movies have been. I’d love this to be one where when we go on that journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime, it’s going to allow his character to have an arc so that he can go through a transformation.”
It should be noted that previous filmmakers have stated their intention to make more of a detective Batman story, but thus far that’s never come to fruition. So it’d be terrific if Reeves actually does make good on this promise, as it’d be yet another way The Batman can stand out from the many other film adaptations of the Caped Crusader.
Reeves confirms that the film is currently titled The Batman, but that title is not final. Moreover, he offered a bit of a timetable while seemingly teasing that there will be multiple villains:
“There will be a Rogues Gallery. The casting process will begin shortly. We’re starting to put together our battle plan. I’m doing another pass on the script and we’ll begin some long-lead stuff to start developing conceptual things.”
As for when The Batman release date will be, Reeves says he could conceivably see the film hitting theaters in late spring or summer of 2021, but that Warner Bros. has been kind enough not to tie the project down to a concrete release date:
“We haven’t been dated. I wouldn’t commit to this, but we’re thinking the movie would probably be for 2021, late spring or summer. Warner Bros. has been incredibly supportive and given me a lot of time and shared the same passion that I do for this story.”
Indeed, the new Warner Bros. mandate post-Justice League is to not put the cart before the horse, and let projects to develop until they’re ready to shoot—not rush them towards a release date. That’s why Birds of Prey is currently in production instead of Suicide Squad 2. The script was in better shape than that sequel, and while Suicide Squad is a tested IP, Warner Bros. made the decision to go with the intriguing Birds of Prey instead.
Speaking of which, Reeves stresses that he’s not involved with any other DC films other than The Batman, noting WB’s strategy of downplaying the interconnectedness of the superhero movies in favor of creating interesting standalone films.
So yes, The Batman is still on track and could be in theaters as soon as two years from now. Maybe. The project has had so many ups and downs that I’m hesitant to get too excited, but I’m certainly enthused by everything Reeves has to say here. Now, about that casting…