It sounds like we may be saved from having to watch Thomas and Martha Wayne perish for the umpteenth time. While we know that the upcoming film The Batman is a reboot of the titular character, with Robert Pattinson putting his own spin on the Caped Crusader after Ben Affleck’s two-film stint as Bruce Wayne/Batman, the film’s director insists his movie isn’t an origin tale per se.
The Batman was originally supposed to be Affleck’s standalone debut as the character. After Batman v Superman and Justice League, Affleck was intending to star in and direct this standalone, with a script he co-wrote with Geoff Johns. But after Affleck stepped down from directing the film for personal reasons, Matt Reeves took over both directing and scripting duties. At the time, Warner Bros. maintained that Affleck would still star in The Batman for Reeves, but it’s now become clear that Reeves was writing a script for a new take on Batman and WB just didn’t really feel like announcing even more bad DC news re: Affleck’s departure from the role.
All’s well that ends well, and Reeves’ film has an absolutely stacked ensemble and a tremendous lead in Pattinson, and speaking with Nerdist he explained that his film isn’t a full-on origin story like Batman Begins but will address the origins of the character in a different way:
“I wanted to do not an origin tale, but a tale that would still acknowledge his origins, in that it formed who he is. Like this guy, he’s majorly struggling, and this is how he’s trying to rise above that struggle,” Reeves explained. “But that doesn’t mean that he even fully understands, you know. It’s that whole idea of the shadow self and what’s driving you, and how much of that you can incorporate, and how much of it you’re doing that you’re unaware of.”
So while Pattinson’s take on the character isn’t old and grizzled like Affleck’s, it does sound like The Batman will pick up with the character having already donned the cape and cowl. But through his struggles, we’ll learn why he put on the suit to begin with.
The War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker added that when he initially pitched The Batman to Warner Bros., his thematic thrust was humanism:
“I’m going to pitch the version of Batman that I would do, which is going to have a humanist bent. And who knows if they’ll have any interest? If they don’t, then I won’t do it. And that’ll be okay,” Reeves explained. “I was really lucky that they said yes.”
In addition to humanism, the other major thematic thrust of the piece will be corruption as it relates to Gotham City:
“There’s something in there that feels very psychological, very emotional, and it felt like there was a way of exploring that along with the corruption in this place, Gotham. That feels very current. I think it always does. There’s almost no time when you can’t do a story about corruption. But today, it still seems incredibly resonant and maybe, from my perspective, maybe more so than maybe at other time.”
Given how resonant Reeves was able to make the Apes movies, I think Batman is in great hands here. The film is still scheduled to be released in June 2021, but production was shut down over coronavirus concerns, so it’s possible that when things pick back up, Warner Bros. is forced to push that date back a bit.
Whatever the case, I’ll be first in line to see The Batman whenever it opens.