We're starting to see more and more of The Batman. Batsuit? Check. Batmobile? Check. A list of villains that would make the guards at Arkham Asylum lie awake at night? Check. Matt Reeves' 2021 DC movie is impressing from all angles having just started filming and, below, we're going to recap all the essentials, including the full and confirmed cast list, and even the very first teaser of Robert Pattinson's Caped Crusader.
The Batman fast facts
- The Batman release date: 25 June, 2021
- The Batman director: Matt Reeves
- The Batman writers: Matt Reeves, Mattson Tomlin
- The Batman cast: Robert Pattinson, Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, John Turturro, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard, Jayme Lawson
The Batman release date
The Batman release date is June 25, 2021. As announced in January, The Batman will come just before James Gunn’s Suicide Squad reboot, which is due out on August 6, 2021.
If you discount Batman v Superman, this is the first solo Batman movie in nine years (The Dark Knight Rises released in 2012), making it the longest gap between Bat-Flicks since Tim Burton’s Batman arrived onto the scene.
The Batman trailer
There's been no official trailer – but Reeves has revealed an apparent camera test for The Batman, which features Robert Pattinson in the Batsuit. This video is moody, immediately bringing to mind Marvel and Netflix's Daredevil series. The coloured lighting, the slow-building music, the out-of-focus shot that slowly forms into Pattinson in the Batman suit. It's the opposite of DC's colourful and loud, yet still brilliant, Birds of Prey.
There's actually a surprising amount we can learn from the footage, with nods to Frank Miller’s origin comic, Year One, and the Arkham games. Here's our deep dive into how the Batman games and comics have influenced Pattinson's Batsuit
The Batman cast
First, the main man: Robert Pattinson will be playing Batman/Bruce Wayne. However, it was a long road to get there.
In May 2019, Deadline reported that director Matt Reeves had two people on his Batman wishlist: Robert Pattinson and Nicholas Hoult, who had previous superhero experience as Beast in X-Men. After much debate on social media, Pattinson was eventually cast as Batman a few weeks later.
Speaking about his upcoming role, Pattinson told The New York Times: “His morality is a little bit off. He’s not the golden boy, unlike almost every other comic-book character. There is a simplicity to his worldview, but where it sits is strange, which allows you to have more scope with the character."
He's also working on the Batman voice, having revealed a surprising inspiration for his disguised growls: Willem Dafoe.
Joining Pattinson will be Westworld’s Jeffrey Wright, who is playing Commissioner Gordon. He was previously linked to the role via The Hollywood Reporter. Reeves confirmed it on Twitter in September 2019.
Tweet! #Gordon 🦇 pic.twitter.com/O4PBX7MmuHOctober 30, 2019
Fleshing out the cast further is Catwoman, played by Zoe Kravitz. Signing on in October, Kravitz may have beaten several others to the role. Hobbs and Shaw’s Vanessa Kirby was at one time mooted as a frontrunner for the role of Selina Kyle, yet Kravitz won out in the end.
Also jumping onboard board The Batman is Paul Dano, who will be playing The Riddler. The news broke just a day after Jonah Hill decided to walk away from talks about playing an unnamed Batman villain, believed to be The Penguin. More on him in just a minute.
The Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood actor is now tasked with bringing the character of Edward Nygma (renamed Edward Nashton for The Batman) to life. It’ll be the first time The Riddler has appeared in a live-action Batman movie since Jim Carrey took on the role in Batman Forever.
Colin Farrell and Andy Serkis were tapped to play The Penguin and Alfred Pennyworth respectively. Serkis has been confirmed by Matt Reeves, though Farrell wasn't officially brought in as The Penguin until January 2020. Again, Reeves tweeted out the news.
Wait — is that you, #Oz ? 🦇 pic.twitter.com/xHj9m6OXhfJanuary 6, 2020
Meanwhile, yet another villainous figure is entering the fray: John Turturro will be playing mob boss Carmine Falcone. The character also appeared in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, portrayed by Tom Wilkinson in Batman Begins.
Peter Sarsgaard is joining The Batman as Gotham District Attorney Gil Colson, though a recent duality-themed Instagram post has fans wondering whether he'll be playing Two-Face. Rounding out the cast is Jayme Lawson as Gotham mayoral candidate Bella Real.
Finally, in what appears to be the last set of casting announcements, Max and Charlie Carver will play mystery roles.
Hey Matt. https://t.co/xuKujFS6PdOctober 14, 2019
The Batmobile has been revealed
Alongside the screen-test featuring the Batsuit comes a look at the Batmobile, as well as a fuller look at Robert Pattinson's cape and cowl.
🦇🏎 #TheBatman pic.twitter.com/qJFNprk1utMarch 4, 2020
As you can probably tell, Matt Reeves' version of Bats' vehicle does away with the high-tech gadgetry of previous iterations in favour of a lean American muscle-style V10 car.
The Batman villains include Riddler, Penguin, Carmine Falcone, and Catwoman
Riddler, The Penguin, and Catwoman (if you want to count the anti-heroine as more of a villain) have been confirmed for The Batman, meaning the Caped Crusader will have his hands full with those looking to terrorise Gotham. But there could be more on the way.
Carmine Falcone will also be rocking up in Gotham's underworld. He'll be played by The Night Of actor John Turturro.
Forbes had also namechecked “Two-Face and a host of other villains” as being scheduled to appear, alongside the then-unconfirmed Riddler and Catwoman. That hasn't materialised... yet. Peter Sarsgaard joining the cast as D.A. Gil Colson, however, fills a very Harvey Dent-shaped role. If the whispers grow louder and turn into something tangible, even Arkham Asylum could struggle to hold the heaving villainous cast.
The Batman plot – and rumours
Nothing has been confirmed when it comes to The Batman plot just yet, though director Matt Reeves has spoken briefly about the story.
“It’s very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it’s going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films. The comics have a history of that. He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, and that’s not necessarily been a part of what the movies have been. I’d love this to be one where when we go on that journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime, it’s going to allow his character to have an arc so that he can go through a transformation.”
Tracking down the criminals is a plot thread worth hanging on to – as it’s been mentioned explicitly in a recent rumour on Kevin Smith’s FatMan Beyond podcast. According to the Clerks star, The Batman will be taking cues from The Long Halloween, a famous Batman comic series that involved The Dark Knight tracking down a villain who causes chaos across several holidays.
The Batman director
Matt Reeves signed on to direct The Batman back in 2017 – after Ben Affleck stepped down as director. Affleck eventually left the cape and cowl behind, but Reeves stayed and has been helming the project ever since.
His most famous work to date is Cloverfield, with his work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes also widely acclaimed.
The Batman set photos
One sneaky member of the public has snapped a series of set photos from The Batman set on-location in London. There's even a quick glimpse of what appears to be Robert Pattinson on a motorbike.
Can confirm 100% as he never revealed his face but is this Robert.....!? 🦇 pic.twitter.com/MX90S7bqolJanuary 6, 2020
The Bat-Bike (patent pending) was also spotted in Glasgow, which gives a better look at the Batsuit, including the top half of the cowl which was left mysteriously unseen in the first cryptic teaser for The Batman.
Looks like billionaire Bruce Wayne's Batman suit can't even deal with Glasgow rain. Here are some exclusive @PAImages shots of filming for the upcoming The Batman movie in the city's Necropolis https://t.co/kefDovb56a pic.twitter.com/l9XNTn2zVCFebruary 21, 2020
Is The Batman linked to the DC Extended Universe?
With Joker having been such a success, there’s been some question over whether future DC movies will have fewer ties to the DC Extended Universe. The Batman will apparently link in with other DCEU movies, rather than being a DC Black release. That should mean Pattinson’s Batman could face off against Jared Leto’s Joker rather than Joaquin Phoenix’s Clown Prince of Crime, but at this stage nobody seems too sure.
Before the script was complete, Reeves commented during the 2018 TCAs: “There are ways in which all of this connects to DC, to the DC universe as well. 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.” So, is it or isn’t it connected to Justice League/Aquaman/Wonder Woman/Suicide Squad/Birds of Prey? Hopefully, we’ll get a definite answer soon enough.
Find out about the best iterations of Batman's arch nemesis with our best Joker rankings. Plus, see how Bats has fared previously in our newly-updated list of the best superhero movies, in this multiverse or the next.