Matt Reeves and the future of Gotham
Matt Reeves successfully launched a new corner of the DC Multiverse in March 2022, when The Batman released in theaters, receiving mass praise from fans and critics alike. This success has granted Reeves the opportunity to expand his universe in new and exciting ways.
The ending of The Batman left the door open for further development for Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne/Batman. In this first film, we saw a very broken and emotionally damaged Bruce Wayne, a refreshing take given how audiences are used to seeing the playboy philanthropist Bruce Wayne onscreen. However, now there’s room for Pattinson’s Wayne to develop that persona as he begins to realize he can’t hide in a cave forever, since people may begin to determine who the true identity of the caped crusader is.
Fans have strongly campaigned for Mr. Freeze to be the villain of the next film, setting up an interesting conflict against Batman, and a winter backdrop of Gotham. My imagination simply goes wild thinking of the beautiful visuals Greig Fraser and Matt Reeves could craft with that stunning winter setting in Reeves’ iteration of Gotham. Many have recommended Giancarlo Esposito for the role of Freeze, or even Mark Strong who DC fans may recognize as Dr. Sivana from 2017’s Shazam. Both are great picks, but we’ll have to wait to learn more about the plot as the script is just being written, once again by Reeves and Matt Tommison. Fans can expect a 2024-2025 release, but until then, there’s more Reevesverse projects being developed to hold you over.
The Penguin HBO Max spin-off series has been officially greenlit, and is looking to begin filming in February. Colin Farrell is once again returning as Oswald Cobblepot, while other casting details are unknown. Story details are scarce, but it’s been confirmed that the series will take place a week after the events of The Batman, in the aftermath of the flood the Riddler unleashed on Gotham, and in the midst of a power vacuum in the criminal underworld of Gotham. It’s been said by Farrell that the series could be going into some R rated territory, which would be a nice departure from the PG13 nature of the first film. This project is expected to release in 2023.
That’s not all folks. It’s been confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter that Matt Reeves is meeting with other writers and directors to help expand this universe with films, not just series, focused on some members of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Some of these characters being talked about are Scarecrow, Professor Pyg, and Clayface. Warner Brothers must’ve learned a lesson from 2019’s Joker to learn that these villains could carry a film of their own.
Clayface being brought into this universe is especially intriguing, since what was once seemingly a very grounded universe is now getting more fantastical, that is if they go the comics route where Clayface is an anthropomorphic shape shifting body of clay, and not a serial killer that happens to cover himself in clay during his crimes. Director Mike Flanagan was previously interested in directing a Clayface film for WB, even going as far as pitching one to the studio as a horror/tragedy. Given Flanagan’s phenomenal track record in the horror genre, in series like Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Hill House, and more, he’s definitely more than qualified for the job and there’s no doubt he’d create something really special. Hopefully he gets a second chance for his vision through Matt Reeves. Seeing a Flanagan horror film in the Reevesverse would surely be something special.
Aside from these newly announced projects, an Arkham Asylum series for HBO Max that Reeves described as a “haunted house” is in development. This would likely include the return of Paul Dano’s Riddler, and Barry Keoghan’s Joker, who we saw briefly in the shadows near the end of the film, as well as in a deleted scene that Reeves released after the film came out. There’s also the GCPD series that Reeves said is on hold right now, but hopes to make one day. It’s said that this series was shelved in favor of the Arkham show.
While all of these new films and series are extremely exciting for fans of Matt Reeve’s Batman universe, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the first issue of the Paul Dano penned “Riddler: Year One” comic drops this month! The series will cover the events that led to Edward Nashton’s evolution as The Riddler we see in the 2022 film.
This universe is a gold mine for Warner Brothers and DC, so to see the studio taking full advantage with Matt Reeves right at the helm, is really exciting. There’s so much coming our way, and who knows what else is in store. But we’ll be along for the ride.