Nothing lasts forever.
Over the summer, it was announced that The Batman director Matt Reeves is developing a spin-off series for HBO Max, focusing on the Gotham City Police Department that will be introduced in the upcoming DC Comics film. The HBO Max series is also said to take place a year before The Batman, a time in which Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is in his first year of crime-fighting. This news was not only surprising but groundbreaking for DC, with Batman being the perfect character to serve as a launching pad for a brand new cinematic universe that has the potential to dethrone the MCU.
Marvel Studios has had a decade-long reign on the big screen that truly started with the massive success of the first Avengers film. This all eventually led to the culmination of the Infinity Saga and the highest-grossing film of all time with Avengers: Endgame. With one era closed, Marvel Studios is now expanding its universe with a venture into television for Disney Plus and the eventual inclusion of the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool and the other Fox-owned Marvel characters.
Warner Bros. and DC notably struggled to launch their own cinematic universe, but have recently found their footing by taking a different direction and embracing a standalone approach that is simultaneously taking a deep dive into the multiverse. Arguably the most successful film for the studio so far is the Todd Phillips-directed Joker, which grossed over a billion dollars to critical praise.
Matt Reeves seems to be taking a similar approach with Robert Pattinson’s The Batman by having a distinctive take on the character outside of a shared universe. However, it was revealed that Reeves’ Batman will get more than just a trilogy of films with the filmmaker now developing a series set in that universe centered on the police department that will bring another layer of depth to his world-building.
A Gotham Central series on HBO Max only seems to be the tip of the iceberg for what Reeves can do with the Gotham City he is crafting for The Batman with Robert Pattinson. While we don’t know too much about the upcoming film, it’s clear the director is looking to take the next logical step with the most successful standalone comic book franchise of all-time, which is why I think it can surpass the MCU as the early signs of expansion start to come to fruition.
Historically speaking, there isn’t a more beloved comic book character than Batman and the MCU came off the heels of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy being the crown jewel of comic book movies (some could argue it still might be). Since 2012, we haven’t had a proper Batman solo film and if Reeves is able to capture audiences with his interpretation in the same way Nolan did, the potential is endless.
Batman is one of the few characters that you can build out a cinematic universe purely based on his world. Despite having plenty of Batman films already, there’s a lot that we have yet to see and elements that are begging for reinterpretation, with Paul Dano’s Zodiac Killer-Esque version of The Riddler serving as an early example of this. I have previously talked about why Reeves’ plans for Robert Pattinson’s Caped Crusader need to include Robin in some capacity, but there is so much more that could be told across film and TV.
The GCPD seems like a logical start for The Batman‘s first spin-off, given Reeves’ desire to give us a point-of-view driven detective story that might not give us a lot of time to explore the other aspects of the universe in a grounded setting. There are so many elements of The Batman established in the 81-year lexicon that warrant a compelling spin-off tale and Joker proves it.
There’s an entire Bat-family of characters that are waiting for their do, both in a supporting role and in a film or series of their own. A major reason why Marvel Studios has been so successful as of late is because of its ability to explore different tones. A Robin film warrants a different tone than a Batman film or a series focused on the corrupted law enforcement in Gotham City. We also know that a Batgirl film is in development and it wouldn’t be a shock if that project was now being retrofitted to fit Reeves’ universe. There are so many heroes and villains that can add so much to Batman’s rich world and make it one of the best cinematic universes to date.
We could get stories about the various members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery as well, focusing on icons like Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, the Court of Owls, and so many others. Imagine if a massive film like the Joker connected to a larger cinematic universe? The aftermath of that could be a massive win for Warner Bros. and planning that from the start might be something Reeves and co. have in store for audiences.
Warner Bros. greenlighting a TV series before a film hits theaters is a massive sign of confidence. Not to mention, many people associated with the film have had nothing but praise for Reeves’ script. There’s also the trailer that debuted during the DC FanDome event, which wowed the internet. While the DC Extended Universe can certainly give the MCU a run for its money as well, The Batman can truly start off with a bang that is the size of Iron Man, if not bigger, once it does arrive in theaters amidst these uncertain times.
Based on recent set photos, we also know that Superman exists in the universe Reeves is crafting in some capacity. The Batman might not just be the start of a universe centered on characters associated with Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight, we could also see a brand-new take on a shared DC universe separate from the one started by Zack Snyder in Man of Steel.
Marvel Studios has been the top franchise in Hollywood for a few years now, but nothing lasts forever. There’s no telling what the future will hold for comic book movies, but it’s clear that the cinematic universe with stories told in different mediums is the next step in franchise storytelling. With a character and a world as massive as Batman and Marvel Studios’ heavy hitters behind them, a Batman cinematic universe could be the next franchise to capture the zeitgeist in a similar way the MCU has.
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