The Batman Gets Some Much-Needed Updates From Matt Reeves

Batfleck points a grapple gun at the rumor mill.
Batfleck points a grapple gun at the rumor mill.
Image: Warner Bros.

Director Matt Reeves has so far been pretty hush-hush about plans for his upcoming DC Entertainment film, The Batman. Finally, he’s opened up about the movie’s status, what role Ben Affleck might play, and the story we can expect. In short: Don’t believe those Year One rumors.

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After a Television Critics Association panel about his Fox vampire series The Passage, Reeves finally gave a long-awaited update about how The Batman is coming along. As reported by /Film, Reeves said he’s working on getting the first draft in the next couple of weeks, after deciding not to go with Affleck’s version, and hopes to begin filming spring or summer 2019, though there’s no official production start date at this point.

Reeves is still working on his Batman story arc, but said he’s making a “very point-of-view noir-driven definitive Batman story” where the Caped Crusader is investigating a case that takes him into the heart of Gotham. Reeves said he performed a “deep dive” into all his favorite comic books to inform the journey his film is taking. He also confirmed that not only is The Batman not an origin story or a continuation of the Christopher Nolan saga, it’s also not based on any specific comic—in particular, the Year One arc, squashing rumors that were making the rounds last week.

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Year One is one of the many comic books that I love. We are definitely not doing Year One,” Reeves said. “We’re doing a story that is definitively Batman though, and trying to tell a story that’s emotional—and yet is really about him being the world’s greatest detective and all the things that for me, since I was a kid, made me love Batman.”

Of course, one of the biggest lingering questions has been: Is Batfleck removing the cowl? Reeves said he’s talking with Affleck but wouldn’t answer questions on what role he’ll play in The Batman, if any. It doesn’t sound like Affleck has left the Batcave for good, and Reeves has previously insisted that The Batman takes place within the DCEU. But Reeves’ latest statements are more coy about the subject, which could be leaving the door open for someone else to assume the role.

“There are ways in which all of this connects to DC, to the DC universe as well,” Reeves said of The Batman. “We’re one piece of many pieces, so I don’t want to comment on that except to say that I’m focused very specifically on this aspect of the DC world.”

We do know the Joker is getting extensive attention from Warner Bros., but aren’t quite sure how those stories will connect, if at all, either. More on The Batman as we know it.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

The last few DC movies have given us plenty of reasons to be skeptical about this one, but Matt Reeves has made a career of directing projects that have sounded ruinous until the moment that they turn out to be pretty good:

  • A found footage Godzilla movie (minus Godzilla) with kooky viral marketing also inspired by The Blair Witch Project.
  • The English-language remake of a vampire movie that American audiences actually watched when it was in Swedish, now with more eighties stuff.
  • A sweeping epic sequel to the surprisingly watchable and surprisingly low-key Planet of the Apes prequel.
  • An eccentric follow-up to the surprisingly watchable epic ape sequel that seems inspired by Heart of Darkness or maybe Exodus, depending on the scene. Prequels together strong.

All of these movies sound just unbelievably terrible, and then they kinda work. Some of them more-than-work. The ape movies were smarter and more moving than we had any right to expect from a summer franchise based on a 70s camp classic.

I’m going to buy a ticket for this awful-sounding Batman movie to see whether Reeves can keep his streak going.