The Batman is getting another HBO Max spin-off series centered on The Penguin, according to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab).
Per the publication's sources, Warner Bros. have begun to develop a TV show that will focus on the rise of Oswald Cobblepot – The Penguin's real name – within Gotham's criminal underworld.
Colin Farrell, who will portray Cobblepot in the forthcoming Batman film, is said to have been tapped to reprise the role for the HBO Max series. THR claims, though, that Warner Bros. is yet to strike a deal with Farrell's representatives.
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The Batman director Matt Reeves, as well as producer Dylan Clark, are in line to executively produce the spin-off series. Lauren LeFranc (Agents of SHIELD, Hemlock Grove) is reportedly attached to pen part of the TV show, too.
If The Penguin HBO Max show is confirmed by Warner Bros, it'll be the second Batman spin-off series that's currently in development for the streamer.
A Gotham Police Department (PD) show is already being made for HBO Max, with Joe Barton (Girl/Haji, Encounter) in place as the series' showrunner. It's unclear if Jeffrey Wright and Robert Pattinson, who play Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne in The Batman, will be part of the Gotham PD show.
The Batman is set to be released in theaters on March 4, 2022.
Analysis: Building on The Batman's world is a smart move
Warner Bros. is hard at work developing a number of Batman spin-off productions but, right now, Gotham PD and The Penguin are the only ones that tie into The Batman movie.
Regardless of how many spin-off TV shows (or movies) end up linking back to The Batman, it's a smart move on Warner Bros' part to flesh out this particular reboot of the iconic DC comics superhero.
Unless a film's runtime is over two and a half hours, some simply don't have the time for much in the way of world building or side character development. For an origins story like The Batman, which will focus on Bruce Wayne's first year as the Caped Crusader, there are even fewer opportunities to expand on these areas. The primary focus of origin movies has to be its protagonist, antagonist(s) and the film's main plot.
Spin-off productions allow studios, showrunners and other creators to build on the world that movies like The Batman tease. TV shows, in particular, can really dig into characters' personalities and motivations, different areas of a city or world, and show what life is like away for ordinary citizens rather than the superheroes themselves.
Warner Bros' desire to branch out into TV shows based off of The Batman, then, is a good idea. Gotham PD will allow audiences to see how the city's police officers deal with, or turn a blind eye to, Gotham's various criminal enterprises. The Penguin, meanwhile, will show us the other side of the coin and bear witness to how Batman's most well-known villains came to be.
It's difficult to do any of that in great detail in a movie. In contrast to their big screen cousins, TV shows can examine their characters and worlds in, say, 10 one-hour episodes, providing more time to investigate events and individuals in the wider world.
If The Batman is as big a success as we expect it to be, audiences will want to watch more content set in its world. Gotham PD and The Penguin are primed, then, to do just that.
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