THE BATMAN May Film Next Year, Studio Rumored To Have Asked For More Action
Rumors sprang up last weekend that we may discover the identity of the new Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’ The Batman and, as usual when it comes to potential news about the Dark Knight, the internet went wild with anticipation.
It seems that something may have been misinterpreted or that someone could have been misinformed, though, because it looks like the production timeline for The Batman has once again shifted, and the wait continues.
See, on April 24th I casually mentioned on twitter that I was told there’d be some sort of Batman news “soon.” I’ll repeat now what I said then: I have no idea what kind of news it is. For all I know it could be something as simple as a logo, or an official title (cause I’m of the mind that “The Batman” is only a placeholder). All I do know is that I expect it to come from some sort of official channel; Not from a scoop site.
I don’t know what happened from there, but a few days later I hopped onto twitter and saw everyone talking about how “They’re gonna announce the new Batman this week!” To go along with that, some colleagues of mine had heard that a trade was working on a major Batman story.
I know nothing about those last two rumors, but regardless, it sounds like we should forget them.
According to Justin Kroll of Variety:
“[I’m] hearing the script is still being polished up and that there’s a possibility shooting begins at the top of 2020 instead of fall 2019. Which means it’ll probably still be a minute before we find out who the next Caped Crusader will be.“
So it doesn’t sound like the Batman news I’ve heard is on the way will be the big reveal. When I pressed my friend to specify what they meant by “soon” I was told “May/June.” So we’re going to get something, but probably not the thing we’re all dying to know.
But let’s unpack the rest of what Kroll said, as well as some additional insights from Collider.
Production Starting Later
I’ve seen some sites characterize this as a delay. I heartily disagree with that.
As far as I’m concerned, nothing is a delay unless it was either officially announced by the studio, or it impacts the release date. In this case, the studio never announced “Hey, we’re filming Batman on such and such day,” and this will have zero bearing on the release date.
They purposely gave themselves the far out release date of June 25, 2021 to give the production enough breathing room to account for shifts like these. Remember, this isn’t a film that’s going to need a ton of CG. It won’t have one of those big world-destroying third acts that comic book films often do. It’s more of a gritty, psychological character piece. So it’s not going to need the massive amount of post-production these kinds of films often do.
As I’ve been saying for a long time, WB/DC are not in any kind of rush with The Batman. Therefore there’s nothing about this update that surprises me. Especially not the reason for the shift in production start.
Reason For Script-Polishing
Over at Collider, they rounded out Kroll’s update by adding that the supposed reason for the script needing more work is that the studio has requested “more action.”
That rumor directly correlates to something I wrote at the end of 2018.
In December, I wrote a column based on insights I’d been given about Reeves’ script for The Batman. In the piece, I went on at length about how the script plays more like a detective thriller along the lines of Se7en. You can read that full column RIGHT HERE, but suffice it to say…I wrote it because I’d basically heard, “Bro, this thing has hardly any action in it.“
So to hear that the studio got a little queasy about that and requested some more spectacle, again, doesn’t surprise me. (And it shouldn’t surprise any regular Revenge of The Fans readers either.)
Personally, I would’ve been perfectly fine with a Dark Knight film that had minimal action but sky-high personal stakes and intrigue.
I’m sure Reeves will find that balance. After all, his two beloved Planet of The Apes films had their share of action and still managed not to lose sight of their central characters, themes, and plots.
I know, I know. Some of you read that part about the studio asking for more action and got deja vu to when the previous leadership got way too hands-on with revamps for Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. But this isn’t that.
It’s perfectly reasonable, expected, and customary for the studio to offer notes. Every director knows this. What they do with those notes is up to them, or possibly addressed in the language of their contracts. In Reeves’ case, he has full creative control in his deal so he’ll ultimately only compromise as much as he’s willing to.
And it’s important not to assume the worst. What happened here could be as simple as this:
- When he initially got the job, it was during the overhaul of the DCEU where one of the priorities was to cut down costs. They were having a very hard time turning the kinds of profits they were hoping for, so Reeves was probably asked to keep The Batman reasonable in the budget department.
- Now that they had a one billion dollar winner in Aquaman (which cost only $160M to make), and learned that their $98 Million Shazam! probably would’ve benefited at the box office if it had more spectacle, they probably went to Reeves and said, “Hey, it’s okay to think a little bigger. We’re going to beef up your budget.”
So this shift in start time to refine the script could very well be a great sign for The Batman– both as a movie, and as a collaboration between Reeves and WB/DC.