Directed by: Matt Reeves
The Batman is a 2022 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman. Produced by DC Films, 6th & Idaho, and Dylan Clark Productions, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is a reboot of the Batman film franchise. The film was directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Peter Craig. It stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / Batman alongside Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell. The film sees Batman, who has been fighting crime in Gotham City for two years, uncover corruption while pursuing the Riddler (Dano), a serial killer who targets Gotham's elite.
Development began after Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) in 2013. Affleck signed on to direct, produce, co-write, and star in The Batman, but had reservations about the project and dropped out. Reeves took over and reworked the story, removing the DCEU connections. He sought to explore Batman's detective side more than previous films, drawing inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock, the New Hollywood era, and comics such as "Year One" (1987), The Long Halloween (1996–97), and Ego (2000). Pattinson was cast in May 2019, with further casting in late 2019. Principal photography took place in the UK and Chicago between January 2020 and March 2021.
The Batman premiered at Lincoln Center in New York on March 1, 2022, and was theatrically released on March 4. It was delayed twice from an initial June 2021 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film has grossed over $301 million against a $185–200 million budget, making it the third-highest-grossing film of 2022, and received praise for the performances, cinematography, Reeves' direction, visual style, action sequences, and story, though some criticized its runtime. It is intended to launch a Batman shared universe, with two sequels planned and two spin-off television series in development for HBO Max.
On Halloween, Gotham City mayor Don Mitchell Jr. is murdered by a man calling himself the Riddler. Reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has operated for two years as the vigilante Batman, investigates alongside the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD). Lieutenant James Gordon discovers a message left for Batman by the Riddler, but commissioner Pete Savage berates him for allowing a vigilante to enter the crime scene and forces Batman to leave. Soon after, the Riddler kills Savage and leaves another message for Batman.
Batman and Gordon discover that the Riddler left a thumb drive in Mitchell's car containing images of Mitchell with a woman, Annika Koslov, at the Iceberg Lounge—a nightclub operated by the Penguin, mobster Carmine Falcone's lieutenant. While the Penguin pleads ignorance, Batman notices that Selina Kyle, Annika's roommate, works at the club as a waitress. Batman follows Selina home to question Annika, but the latter soon disappears, so he sends Selina back to the Iceberg Lounge to search for answers. Through Selina, Batman discovers that Savage was on Falcone's payroll, as is district attorney Gil Colson. Selina shuts off communication when Batman presses her about her relationship with Falcone.
The Riddler abducts Colson, straps a timed collar bomb to his neck, and sends him to interrupt Mitchell's funeral. When Batman arrives, the Riddler calls him via Colson's phone and threatens to detonate the bomb if Colson cannot answer three riddles. Batman helps Colson answer the first two, but Colson refuses to answer the third—the name of the informant who gave the GCPD information that led to a historic drug bust ending mobster Sal Maroni's operation—and dies. Batman and Gordon deduce that the informant may be the Penguin and track him to a drug deal. They discover that Maroni's operation transferred to Falcone, with many GCPD officers involved. Selina inadvertently exposes them when she arrives to steal money. As the Penguin flees, Selina discovers Annika's corpse in a car trunk. Batman captures the Penguin but learns that he was not the informant.
Batman and Gordon follow the Riddler's trail to the ruins of an orphanage funded by Bruce's murdered parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, where they learn that the Riddler holds a grudge against the Wayne family. Bruce's butler and caretaker, Alfred Pennyworth, is hospitalized after opening a letter bomb addressed to Bruce. The Riddler then leaks evidence that Thomas, who was running for mayor before he was murdered, hired Falcone to kill a journalist for threatening to reveal embarrassing details about Martha's history of mental illness. Bruce, who grew up believing his father was morally upstanding, confronts Alfred, who confirms the allegations but states that Thomas did not intend for Falcone to murder the journalist and planned to turn him over to the police once he found out. Alfred believes that Falcone had Thomas and Martha killed to prevent this.
Selina tells Batman that Falcone is her father, though Falcone does not know it. She learns that Falcone strangled Annika because Mitchell told her that Falcone was the informant and decides to kill him. Batman and Gordon arrive at the Iceberg Lounge in time to stop her, but the Riddler kills Falcone as he is arrested. The Riddler is soon unmasked as forensic accountant Edward Nashton and incarcerated in Arkham State Hospital, where he laments about failing to kill Bruce. He does not realize that Bruce is Batman, whom he idolizes and took inspiration from when targeting the corrupt. Nashton proposes a partnership, but Batman rejects him. Searching his apartment, Batman learns that Nashton has stationed car bombs around Gotham and cultivated an online following that plans to assassinate mayor-elect Bella Reál.
The bombs destroy the breakwaters around Gotham and flood the city. A shelter is set up in an indoor arena, where Nashton's followers shoot, but fail to kill, Reál. They are stopped by Batman and Selina. In the aftermath, Nashton befriends another inmate, while Selina deems Gotham beyond saving and leaves. Batman aids recovery efforts and vows to inspire hope in Gotham.
By May 2019, Robert Pattinson, Nicholas Hoult, Armie Hammer, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were on a shortlist to replace Affleck as Batman, with Pattinson the frontrunner. Reeves considered Pattinson after seeing his performance in Good Time (2017) and wrote the script with him in mind, but was unsure if he would be interested. Pattinson had eschewed large franchise films since his work on the Twilight series, as he found those roles dull and wanted to avoid paparazzi attention. This meant he had not appeared in Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which made him desirable to Warner Bros. The other major contender, Hoult, appeared in the Marvel Comics-based X-Men films, but those are separate from the MCU and Hoult was unrecognizable for much of them due to prosthetics and makeup.
Pattinson became interested in the role a year in advance and "kept obsessively checking up on it". A longtime Batman fan, he had ideas about how to bring a unique portrayal of the relationship between Batman's superhero activities and his identity as Wayne compared to previous film adaptations, and he was interested in the character's lack of superpowers. Reeves spent hours reviewing Pattinson's and Hoult's previous work before meeting with them in April. They were the only contenders for the role by May 20, and both flew to Burbank, California, for a screen test. Pattinson wore Val Kilmer's Batsuit from Batman Forever (1995) during his test since it was the only existing costume that fit him. The audition was challenging because the suit was small and difficult to move in, but Pattinson and Reeves found it a "transformative" experience. Pattinson was cast on May 31, with a salary of $3 million.
Pattinson's casting was met with backlash from some Batman fans, with a Change.org petition calling to reverse the decision. Pattinson said he found the response less vitriolic than he had expected, and felt that being an underdog meant he did not have expectations to meet in his performance. Christian Bale, who played Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005–2012), supported Pattinson, encouraging him to "make [the role] his own" and ignore critics. Bale likened the fan revolt to the backlash Heath Ledger faced when he was cast as the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008). To prepare, Pattinson studied Batman's history, reading comics spanning from the Golden Age of Comic Books to Tom King's 2016–2019 run on Batman. He trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with instructor Rigan Machado, wanting to undergo physical change in a similar way to superhero actors like Chris Hemsworth, Dwayne Johnson, Robert Downey Jr., and Chris Evans. He received advice from the Dark Knight Trilogy director Christopher Nolan while working with him on Tenet (2020).
Jeffrey Wright entered negotiations to play James Gordon in September, and Jonah Hill entered negotiations to play either the Riddler or the Penguin. Wright was cast in October, and is the first actor of color to portray Gordon; he felt his casting reflected how diverse America has become since Batman's introduction in 1939, and said none of Gordon's qualities "require that he be white". In preparation, Wright read Batman comics, such as The Long Halloween, and based his performance on police officer-turned-Mayor of New York City Eric Adams. Later in the month, Hill exited negotiations for the film. According to Variety's Justin Kroll, Hill wanted $10 million—more than double the amount that Pattinson would earn—while Kit reported that Warner Bros. and Hill could not decide which role he would take. Paul Dano was cast as the Riddler after Hill exited talks. To prepare, Dano researched serial killers and chose to read this material in public places since he found it disturbing and did not want to read it alone. He used the Beach Boys' founder Brian Wilson, whom he had portrayed in the 2014 biopic Love & Mercy, as the basis of his performance, and was also influenced by Nirvana's songs. Reeves himself wrote the Riddler's character with Dano's portrayal of Wilson in mind.
Also in October, Zoë Kravitz was cast as Catwoman following a screen test with Pattinson; she had previously voiced the character in The Lego Batman Movie (2017) Casting director Cindy Tolan suggested Kravitz, and Reeves chose her over actresses such as Ana de Armas, Ella Balinska, and Eiza González, who also auditioned for the role, as well as Zazie Beetz and Alicia Vikander. Kravitz was reluctant to join another superhero film after working on X-Men: First Class (2011), but was a fan of the Catwoman character and felt "connected to her emotionally and also aesthetically"; Kravitz felt that her honesty with Reeves played a large role in her selection, and explained that she wanted Reeves to know what working with her would be like. Kravitz provided advice on how to develop Catwoman's character, and began training with instructor David Higgins two months before shooting. She also studied footage of cats and lions fighting to develop her movements while practicing with stunt coordinator Rob Alonzo. Kravitz drew inspiration from "Year One" and Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal of Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992).
In November, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell, and John Turturro were respectively cast as Alfred Pennyworth, the Penguin, and Carmine Falcone. Reeves approached Serkis regarding the role during the post-production of War for the Planet of the Apes, and he was eager to work with Reeves again. Farrell looked to the Godfather character Fredo Corleone for inspiration and worked with dialect coach Jessica Drake to develop the Penguin's voice. Jayme Lawson also joined the cast as a politician, while Peter Sarsgaard was cast in December. During filming, Gil Perez-Abraham, twins Charlie and Max Carver, Rupert Penry-Jones, and Jay Lycurgo were revealed to be cast in undisclosed roles; Lycurgo, who portrays a criminal in the film, shot his scenes a year before he joined the DC series Titans as Tim Drake. Con O'Neill was revealed to be appearing after filming concluded.
Reeves was unsure if the Joker's appearance would be kept in the theatrical release, or if the actor playing him would be able to reprise the role in the future. Consequently, he felt the actor who played the Joker needed to be "fearless". Reeves met with Barry Keoghan, who was eager to take up the offer. The production team attempted to keep Keoghan's role a secret by announcing that he was portraying the "Year One" character Stanley Merkel when he was cast in July 2020, but Keoghan's brother revealed the truth on social media ahead of the film's release.
Sets and props
The design team began working on the Batcave and Batmobile designs before the script was finished, as Reeves had a clear vision of what The Batman's world would look like and wanted the three to reflect each other. The Batcave was based on private underground railways in New York City that wealthy families used around the early 1900s, which Reeves described as a "way of saying, 'How can we root all these things in things that feel real, but also extraordinary?'" The Batcave also serves as the foundation of the film's depiction of Wayne Manor, which Reeves described as decaying, representing Batman's uninterest in his family's wealth.
Reeves envisioned a grounded, handmade design for the Batmobile, with James Chinlund and Ash Thorp creating the vehicle design to have an engine that resembles a bat. Reeves wanted the Batmobile to feel like a "wild beast" and to move away from the tank-like design popularized by Nolan's Dark Knight films in favor of one that looked like a muscle car. He looked to Stephen King's novel Christine (1983), about a car possessed by supernatural forces, for inspiration: "I liked the idea of the car itself as a horror figure, making an animalistic appearance to really scare the hell out of the people Batman's pursuing." Four Batmobile units were built, with the primary driving unit powered by a V8 engine that generated 650 horsepower. Another unit was built on a Tesla chassis for indoor and night shots.
Costume design was led by Jacqueline Durran, and Pattinson's Batsuit was designed by supervisor Dave Crossman and concept artist Glyn Dillon over the course of a year. Reeves wanted the Batsuit to be practical and feel as if Batman used spare parts to create it on his own, and the design team looked to tactical gear from the Vietnam War for inspiration. Pattinson played a large role in designing the costume; he wanted to be able to move and fight in it, and was inspired by the depiction of Batman in the Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight storyline "Shaman" (1989) by O'Neil and Edward Hannigan. The final suit is more flexible than previous Batsuits, to the point that Pattinson "immediately started doing somersaults in it just because you could" when he put on the first prototype. Pattinson asked Bale for advice during the design process, and he jokingly advised to "make sure you're gonna be able to relieve yourself" while wearing the suit. Commentators noted that Pattinson's Batsuit seemed to take inspiration from the one drawn by artist Lee Bermejo in comics like Noël (2011) and Damned (2018–2019). Bermejo was not consulted regarding the design, but was proud to see a Batsuit similar to his in a film. Makeup artist Maria Donne modeled Bruce Wayne's hairstyle after musician Kurt Cobain, while his eyeliner when suiting up as Batman featured a mix of pigments and products that would sustain rain and sweating.
To portray the Penguin, Farrell wore prosthetics and a fat suit created by makeup artist Mike Marino. Farrell chose to wear a fat suit over gaining weight because he had suffered health problems when he gained weight for the television series The North Water (2021). Farrell's costume does not feature the Penguin's traditional monocle and top hat, and Warner Bros. disallowed him from smoking tobacco as he does in the comics. Farrell fought to allow him to carry a cigar instead of cigarettes, but Warner Bros. would not relent. Farrell was frequently described as "unrecognizable" in costume, to the point that Wright and Penry-Jones initially did not recognize him on set. It took between two and four hours to apply the prosthetics, and Farrell tested the costume at a Burbank Starbucks, where he "got a couple of stares" ordering a latte in-character.
On designing the Penguin's look, Reeves worked with prosthetic makeup artist Michael Marino and described it as "almost like a throwback Warner Bros. gangster" similar to actors John Cazale, Sydney Greenstreet, and Bob Hoskins. Reeves was initially hesitant towards making Farrell look unrecognizable, as he wanted the character's design to reflect the film's realistic tone. He accepted the design after being shown Marino and Farrell's tests with the makeup on. Farrell described wearing his makeup as "absolute liberation," adding, "When the piece moves as well as the piece that was designed for the Penguin moved, my eyebrows moved to my cheeks and my smile, it was fucking insane. I didn't have any fear that Colin could be seen through."
The Riddler's costume was based on sketches of the Zodiac Killer; it retains the character's traditional green coat while adding a combat mask, which Dano wanted to show that the Riddler "probably felt a lot of shame or self-hatred or pain". Dano also covered himself in plastic wrap since he felt the Riddler would take extreme precautions to avoid leaving DNA at crime scenes. He became concerned about the effect this costume was having on him during filming since his head was "throbbing with heat... It was like compressed from the sweat and the heat and the lack of oxygen." Catwoman's costume was designed to lay a foundation for what would become her comic book outfit while feeling "as practical as possible". Marino also designed the facial prosthetics that Keoghan used to portray the Joker; although the Joker only appears in silhouette in the final cut, Reeves still had Marino develop a full design. Reeves wanted him to resemble Conrad Veidt's The Man Who Laughs (1928) character Gwynplaine that inspired the Joker's portrayal in the original comics. Reeves made the Joker's perpetual grin the result of a biological condition, rather than a facial scar as in previous films, to distinguish the new incarnation.
Principal photography began in January 2020 in London, under the working title Vengeance. Greig Fraser served as cinematographer; he previously worked with Reeves on Let Me In (2010). Cemetery scenes were filmed at the Glasgow Necropolis in Scotland in mid-February, before the production relocated to Liverpool in March. Filming in Liverpool took place at St George's Hall in Liverpool, doubling for Gotham City Hall, Anfield Cemetery, and the Royal Liver Building.
Reeves was a meticulous director and described The Batman as "the most intricate narrative I have ever, ever tried to tackle". Pattinson said Reeves asked for many retakes and adjusting to such an approach took some time. Kravitz described Reeves as "the most specific person and director I've ever worked with", citing a particular instance in which he told her not to close her mouth since he thought it needed to be open to convey a certain emotion. Reeves showed the different takes to the actors after filming to illustrate the "make-or-break nuances" he had seen. One scene, in which Batman and the Riddler communicate via videotelephony, took over 200 takes. Pattinson guessed that Reeves was "editing the entire movie, every single take", which Reeves said was correct and not something that other actors he had worked with had observed. Reeves developed this style of filming, in which he spent more time on fewer angles, while directing the television series Felicity.
For fight scenes, Reeves wanted to depart from the "kinetic, quick-cutting" sequences that previous Batman directors like Tim Burton and Nolan had shot. He wanted viewers to "actually see what's happening... in a way that is utterly convincing." Reeves originally planned to film the Batmobile chase sequence on a Liverpool freeway, but instead filmed it at the Dunsfold Aerodrome after determining that a race track would allow for more control. To convey the chase from Batman's perspective, Fraser "strapped cameras to cars and motorbikes, even though it was technically really hard to do... We fought against logistics. We fought against time. We fought against everything that told us to not do it that way." Fraser used different camera lenses and covered them in silicone to simulate rain and dirt and immerse the viewer.
Reeves filmed fake scenes with Keoghan portraying Merkel to prevent his actual role from leaking, and during the actual Joker scenes, Reeves kept Keoghan's face out of focus to signify that the Joker was still in his formative stages. For some scenes, Industrial Light & Magic provided the StageCraft virtual production technology that Fraser helped develop on the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian, with a wall of LED panels allowing visual effects backgrounds to be rendered in real-time. The wall was built around existing practical sets.
Production was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning two months after filming started. When the pandemic began, Warner Bros. did not plan to suspend shooting, unlike other major studios. However, it eventually did so on March 14, 2020. Warner Bros. stated that the hiatus would just be for two weeks, but Reeves announced on March 25 that filming had been suspended indefinitely. Production was unlikely to restart until at least mid-May, and Warner Bros. pushed the release date back to October 1, 2021, in April. On April 1, the production's dialect coach, Andrew Jack, died from COVID-19.
Around a quarter of filming was completed before the suspension, and Reeves began looking over that footage to help plan for the rest of filming. Reeves did not rewrite the script, but used the time to explore the film's tone. On May 12, the UK government said high-end film productions could resume shooting as soon as employers put COVID-19 safety measures in place. A month later, The Batman was given permission to restart production in July at the earliest. Clark said Jack's death haunted the crew as they prepared to resume production. By September 3, filming had resumed for three days at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, only to be put on pause again after Pattinson tested positive for COVID-19. The filming crew then entered a two-week quarantine, after which filming was set to resume, while construction on the sets and props at Leavesden Studios continued. Following this, Reeves became concerned that he would be unable to finish the film if he contracted COVID-19, so he wore a mask, scuba goggles, and a head covering on set.
Filming resumed on September 17, after Pattinson was cleared to return to set. At this point, the film had approximately three more months of filming and was expected to finish by the end of 2020. Filming was limited to England, and crew members were required to live close to the production area and not leave the surrounding community until production ended. Pattinson compared filming during the pandemic to a "military operation. We had earpieces in to have direction a lot of the time to kind of limit the amount of interactions." Some scenes were filmed using a remote control camera, which Pattinson found strange since he could not tell if there were any crew members around. Kravitz added that production became "impersonal" since mask mandates and other precautions meant the crew could not interact much In early October, the film's release was pushed to March 4, 2022, due to the production delays. Exterior shots and stunt scenes for Gotham City were filmed in Chicago in October 2020, and production wrapped on March 13, 2021.
The Batmobile chase was the first scene that sound editor Will Files worked on, and used a bottle rocket sound effect as the basis for how the car sounded. Files worked with Douglas Murray and Andy Nelson to complete the sequence. The Batmobile's main engine noise came from a Ford big block engine, while the supercharger sound effect was a reversed World War II Jeep recording.
Warner Bros. held test screenings in late 2021; some early screenings showed a four-hour-long cut. Test audiences were not told they were seeing The Batman until entering the theater. The first cut was longer than Reeves intended, and he described it as rough, saying, "I was not all the way through the cut of the movie. There was so much of the movie yet to be touched". Reeves was "terrified" going into the first test screening, but was relieved when test audiences enjoyed the complex narrative. He felt it "kind of validated that this was a direction that an audience would be excited about," and future test screenings were met with improving reception. Reeves "made [his] way, bit by bit through the cut and [made] tiny adjustments to make sure that little things that maybe [were] not clear enough [were] clearer." Later test screenings showed two cuts, with an unknown actor, possibly Keoghan, included in only one. The final screening took place during the week beginning November 29, after which Warner Bros. executives decided which cut they preferred. Reeves kept the penultimate scene—in which the Joker befriends the Riddler in Arkham—because he felt it heightened the stakes of Batman and Catwoman's final conversation while completing the Riddler's story arc, but he cut the Manhunter-inspired scene for being unnecessary and disrupting the pacing. The final cut runs at 176 minutes including credits, making The Batman the longest Batman film and the third-longest superhero film after Zack Snyder's Justice League and Avengers: Endgame (2019).
In January 2022, The Batman received a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association, despite wide speculation and internal discussions at Warner Bros. that its somber tone and violent content would lead to it being the first theatrical Batman film with an R-rating. The film was able to receive a PG-13 rating because it does not include excessive profanity or nudity. Rebecca Rubin of Variety opined that an R-rating could have hurt the film's box office potential by preventing many young males from seeing it, noting that the two previous R-rated DC films, Birds of Prey (2020) and The Suicide Squad (2021), both underperformed commercially. Reeves said that he always intended to make The Batman PG-13 and that there was not an alternate R-rated cut. He added that a PG-13 rating was one of the only studio mandates he faced.
Dan Lemmon served as the visual effects supervisor, after previously collaborating with Reeves on the Planet of the Apes films. Visual effects vendors included Weta Digital, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Scanline VFX. ILM and Chinlund designed the film's depiction of Gotham, and Reeves requested that they designed it in a way that could be used as a light source. Chinlund proposed stationing the Bat-Signal on an abandoned building rather than on top of the GCPD building.
In October 2019, Reeves announced that his frequent collaborator Michael Giacchino would be composing the film's score. Later that month, Giacchino said he had already finished writing the main theme for the film because he was so excited to do so; because this music was written much earlier in the production than is usual for a film, Giacchino and Reeves were able to use it in promotional materials. Giacchino said he felt total freedom to write the music that he wanted for the film, agreeing with Reeves that this was their vision of Batman similar to how different comic book and graphic novel authors and artists over the years had been able to create different takes on the character. Giacchino completed the score in October 2021, and his main theme was released as a single on January 21, 2022. Giacchino's theme for the Riddler was released as a single on February 4, and his Catwoman theme was released as the third and final single on February 17. The full soundtrack album was released on February 25. "Something in the Way" also features throughout the film, and was noted to have a similar baseline to Giacchino's score. He acknowledged this, but said it was a lucky coincidence.
The Batman is intended to be the first of a new Batman film trilogy and establish a Batman-focused shared universe separate from the DCEU. Key cast members signed on for future films as of November 2019. In December 2021, Pattinson said he had ideas for developing Batman's character in further films, while Clark said The Batman would lay a foundation for future films to build upon. Pattinson and Reeves expressed interest in introducing Robin and featuring the Court of Owls, Calendar Man, Mr. Freeze, or Hush as villains in a sequel.
Canceled GCPD series
In July 2020, HBO Max gave a series commitment to a police procedural television series centered on the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD), with Terence Winter set to write and serve as showrunner. Reeves, Winter, Clark, Daniel Pipski, and Adam Kassan were executive producing the untitled series. At the virtual DC FanDome event in August 2020, Reeves said the series would be a prequel to The Batman, taking place during the first year of Batman's career and focusing on the corruption in Gotham and the GCPD. He said the series would be told from the perspective of one particular crooked cop, with the story being a "battle for his soul", taking inspiration from Prince of the City (1981).
In November 2020, Winter left the project due to creative differences, and Joe Barton was hired to replace him in January 2021. HBO still had creative issues with the project, especially with its protagonist being a corrupt cop, and they encouraged Reeves to focus on existing comics characters instead. In March 2022, Reeves said the series was no longer moving forward, though he hoped to revisit the premise in the future. Wright revealed there had been discussions about him appearing in the series but he did not entertain the idea before the film's release.
By September 2021, HBO Max was developing a spin-off series focused on the Penguin. Lauren LeFranc was hired as showrunner, with Reeves and Clark serving as executive producers. Farrell signed on to reprise his role in December, also serving as an executive producer. Reeves compared the series to The Long Good Friday (1980) and Scarface (1983), with it charting Penguin's rise to power in Gotham's criminal underworld following the events of the film. The spin-off was the furthest along in development by March 2022, and Reeves said it would come before a sequel to The Batman. HBO Max ordered The Penguin as a limited series that month.
Untitled Arkham series
When revealing that the GCPD spin-off series was not moving forward in March 2022, Reeves explained that it had led to work on a new idea based on Arkham Asylum. He said the series would build upon Arkham's introduction in the film and explore the origins of different characters related to it. He envisioned a horror tone, with Arkham being depicted as a haunted house.
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