After taking over as heads of DC Studio, James Gunn and Peter Safran began working on a 10-year plan that supposedly united theatrical releases, TV shows, animation, and even video games into a single cohesive story. It’s not going to be easy to make different DC Extended Universe properties fit together, which has been leading to a wave of speculation in the media. More recently, Variety reported, Robert Pattinson’s Batman might become the definitive Dark Knight in the following years, which Gunn dismissed as incorrect on Twitter.
Released earlier this year, director Matt Reeves’ The Batman became one of the biggest DC successes, both in terms of critical reception and box office numbers. Unsurprisingly, Warner Bros. signed a deal with Reeves to work on a sequel and different spinoff series. While no one knows if the series focused on Arkham Asylum and the Gotham City Police Department is alive, Colin Farrell will come back as the Penguin in a series set to bridge The Batman and its untitled sequel. In short, as previously reported, Reeves’ corner of the DC universe seems to be safe amidst multiple waves of cancelations and internal restructuring derived from the Warner Bros. Discovery merging.
Nevertheless, it would be surprising if Reeves’ vision for Gotham City would become the official one for the future of the DCEU. So far, Pattison’s Batman exists in a self-contained universe without superheroes. In fact, it’s easy to argue that The Batman was so successful because it could create a gritty and grounded version of the Dark Knight mythos independently of other DC properties. It’s also hard to imagine Pattison’s Batman sharing the screen with Jason Momoa’s Aquaman or Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, which could mean Gunn and Safran might clean the DCEU slate for their 10-year plan, instead of trying to make everything work together.
From a financial perspective, it would make sense to build a new universe around Reeves’ The Batman. Since the movie passed the box office test, Gunn and Safran could easily convince Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav with shiny numbers. Also, the company wants to lower the budget for superhero movies and has reportedly been shutting down Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom reshoots. So, a gritty superhero universe could be less dependent on an extensive post-production process, cost less for Warner Bros. Discovery, and still offer fans a cohesive and beloved vision of the DC universe. The move would also corroborate early comments by Zaslav, who said the DCEU couldn’t have multiple Batmans in the next few years. So it’s easy to understand why the initial report gained so much traction. However, as Gunn said on Twitter, “this is entirely untrue.” Director Reeves also corroborate Gunn‘s version of the story.
What ‘The Batman’ Becoming Canonical Would Mean for the DCEU?
If Pattinson’s Batman became the leading DCEU Dark Knight, that would mean some things would have to be left out of the 10-year plan. For starters, canonizing Pattison’s Batman would mean burning Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight, another nail in the coffin of the Snyderverse. Considering how Momoa might not play Aquaman in the new DCEU, Wonder Woman 3 was scrapped, and Man of Steel 2 is nowhere near being developed, it sounds like most of the DCEU productions already released, and which connect to the Snyderverse will be erased from canon by Gunn and Safran. That’s probably a good decision since Zack Snyder’s plans for the DCEU were stretched by Warner Bros. in so many different directions that we need a cleaner landscape for DC Studios to thrive. Still, Pattison‘s Batman doesn’t seem to fit with other successeful properties, such as Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad and David F. Sandberg‘s Shazam!
Besides that, Todd Phillips’ Joker cannot exist in the same timeline since The Batman also has its own version of the Clown Prince of Crime. Since Joker: Folie À Deux is already in development, Gunn and Safran will probably keep Phillips on board. While they could maintain Phillips‘ movies on a different timeline, the goal is to unite everything into a single banner. That means we ultimately must prepare for some painful cuts soon, and maybe expect a new Batman to emerge in the DCEU, instead of an old one being recycled by Gunn and Safran.
As Gunn and Safran reveal more details about their plans for the DCEU, you can expect to read all about it here at Collider. Check out our interview with Gunn about Peacemaker and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. You can also check Gunn‘s original tweet below.