It sounds like Warner Bros. and DC Films may be merging two successful ideas into one in the near future. The Batman is the studio’s highly anticipated reboot for the Caped Crusader, with Robert Pattinson filling the lead role of Bruce Wayne/Batman and Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) writing and directing the film. Casting has been underway over the past few months as the film aims to start shooting in the first quarter of 2020 in London, and Reeves has assembled a terrific ensemble of baddies to face off against Pattinson’s Batman. There’s Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler, and Colin Farrell as The Penguin, to name a few, and now a new report suggests any one of these colorful villains could get his or her own spinoff movie in the wake of The Batman’s success.
In Variety’s recent report on the future of WB/DC, they note that contrary to previous rumors, the bulk of The Batman’s plot does not take place in Arkham Asylum. Instead, only a handful of scenes take place at the infamous holding cell for Gotham’s criminally insane. However, the report notes that Warner Bros. and DC hope that if The Batman is a success, it could lead to any of these villains headlining their own spinoff movies.
One assumes a major factor in this idea is the immense success of Joker, the R-rated, gritty origin story for the titular DC Comics character. Director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix insist that Joker does not take place in the same universe as The Batman and thus is not connected to whatever spinoffs and sequels Reeves’ film creates, but it does sound like WB is keen on the idea of giving supporting characters from The Batman their own movies in the vein of Joker. It’s unclear how that might work—Joker’s success is in being an intense character study unconcerned with DC interconnectivity, so would a Penguin movie delve into the origin story of the character or would it simply be a semi-sequel without Batman?
Variety notes that key cast members in both The Batman and the upcoming Harley Quinn spinoff Birds of Prey have contract options to appear in sequels or standalones, but it sounds like WB is thinking a bit outside the box in terms of side-stepping a traditional sequel in favor of honing in on a specific character or two for a follow-up that’s connected to the original film, but also creatively free to take things in a bit of a different direction.
None of this is for certain, and it all comes with the caveat that years ago, Warner Bros. announced ambitions plans for its DC properties that failed to come to fruition when Batman v Superman and Justice League went bust (see: The Flash and Cyborg are still waiting for their standalone movies). As always, the future of DC will depend on the success or failure of the movies it’s releasing, so a lot is riding on not only The Batman, but also Birds of Prey, The Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman 1984 to pave the way forward.