The Batman is the long-gestating Caped Crusader movie directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, the last two Planet of the Apes movies). Originally announced back in October 2014, The Batman started as a Ben Affleck project, back when the actor was signed up to play the Dark Knight in Batman Vs Superman and Justice League.
Now, it's a standalone movie – and Robert Pattinson will debut as Bruce Wayne, with an amazing ensemble cast backing him up. Co-written by Reeves and rising screenwriter Mattson Tomlin, expect more of a noir-inspired detective story than we've seen from past Batman movies. You can now get a taste of it from the trailer, unveiled as part of DC's FanDome event.
Below, here's everything we know about The Batman's release date, cast, Batmobile and story.
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The Batman release date: 2021
The Batman will release on October 1, delayed from its original release date of June 25, 2021. It was filming in the UK until the coronavirus led to production being shut down, but it's set to resume in September 2020.
The Batman trailer: here's the DC FanDome footage
The Batman trailer gives us a dark, moody look at Matt Reeves' take on the Caped Crusader. Debuting at the virtual DC FanDome event in August, we see Pattinson as a decidedly emo Bat, James Gordon visiting a crime scene, and our first glimpses at The Riddler, Penguin (a rather different-looking Colin Farrell), and Catwoman in action. Sound-tracked by the mournful vocals of Nirvana, tonally The Batman recalls the Nolan films, but it looks surprisingly good considering it's only 30% shot. We'll have to wait and see whether there's an appetite for it later this year.
A fun, interactive part of the trailer told non-comics fans everything they needed to know about The Riddler. The crime genius left a cryptic message on a card for Batman with the written head-scratcher: "What does a liar do when he's dead?" With it came a series of symbols that match the solution of the riddle, and it was quickly solved on Twitter. It was still a nice touch, and one that chimes with Reeves' desire to get Bats back to more detective work. Lies and lying seem to be an important theme, too, as we see one of Riddler's victims strapped in duct tape with 'No More Lies' written on it.
The Batman cast: Robert Pattinson stars as Bruce Wayne
Robert Pattinson is starring as Bruce Wayne/Batman in this movie, with Andy Serkis serving as his Alfred. The movie's villains are The Riddler (Paul Dano) and The Penguin (Colin Farrell) – while crime lord Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz) could be categorized as such, too.
Here's a quick list of the ensemble cast that's been confirmed so far:
- Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth
- Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman
- Paul Dano as the Riddler/Edward Nashton
- Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál, a mayoral candidate
- Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon
- Peter Sarsgaard as DA Gil Colson
- John Turturro as Carmine Falcone
- Barry Keoghan as Stanley Merkel
Twin actors Max and Charlie Carver have been cast in the movie, too, in unknown roles. There are numerous pairs of DC characters the actors could be playing: Tweedledee and Tweedledum are the most recognizable 'twin' characters from Batman lore.
The Batman's Batmobile has been revealed
🦇🏎 #TheBatman pic.twitter.com/qJFNprk1utMarch 4, 2020
The Batman's Batmobile has been revealed by Reeves, both to create buzz for the movie and likely to stop paparazzi photos of the car from leaking as filming continues. It looks like a sports car that's been fitted with a rocket engine – it's a wild contrast to recent Batmobiles, which were more tank-like in the Nolan and Snyder movies. See it in action in the trailer further up this page.
The Batman's Batsuit features a gun welded into the Bat symbol
The Batsuit was revealed by Reeves through a brief bit of moody test footage, with noir-ish music provided by the movie's composer, Michael Giacchino. The main detail to take away from this video is the Bat symbol on Pattinson's chest – it's a handgun that's been sliced in half and turned into the famous logo.
Speculation – and common sense – points to this gun being the one used by Joe Chill to kill the Waynes. If that's true, it's pretty goth – and very Batman.
The Batman story: here's what we know
The Batman is set during the second year of the Caped Crusader's career, according to a story on The Wrap. That should bypass the need to see another Batman origin movie, which Christopher Nolan's films covered definitively in Batman Begins.
Indeed, the presence of Catwoman, Penguin and the Riddler in this film suggests we're fairly deep into DC Comics lore, here. Expect this to be a Batman movie that features some actual detective work, too. "It's very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale," Reeves told THR, explaining that he's going for a 'thrilling' but 'emotional' movie.
"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."
That does sound very different to past Batman movies, and you get a real sense of the movie's noir flavor in the Batsuit test footage.
The Batman: what happened to Ben Affleck's version?
https://t.co/0NsNzCtGipAugust 29, 2016
This Batman film has had a long road to production. Back in summer 2015, Ben Affleck was slated to co-write and direct a movie with that title, reprising his role as the Caped Crusader from Batman Vs Superman. The movie was to feature Deathstroke as the villain, with Affleck even releasing the test footage above on Twitter.
Deathstroke briefly pops up in the post-credits sequence of the Justice League movie, played by Joe Manganiello as he is in the footage above. Affleck dropped out of directing The Batman in January 2017, and finally ended his involvement with the movie officially in early 2019.
Affleck ultimately left the movie due to his struggles with alcohol. "I showed somebody 'The Batman' script," Affleck told the NY Times. "They said, 'I think the script is good. I also think you'll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.'" The piece also mentions that the troubled Justice League shoot had "sapped his interest" in the Batman role, which is fair enough.
Does the world need another Batman movie?
This new version focuses on Batman as a detective in his younger days, which is a big shift from Affleck's older version of the character. The choice of villains immediately conjures up thoughts of 1992's Batman Returns, but expect The Batman to have its own specific tone.
With so many versions of Batman on-screen over the past three decades, it makes sense that Reeves would want to differentiate his adaptation from past efforts. The world probably doesn't need another Batman movie – but a noir-infused film with a cast this good will firmly draw a line under the Justice League version of the character, which can't hurt.