What We Know About HBO Max's Batman Extended Universe
Matt Reeves, director of Robert Pattinson's The Batman, recently confirmed that the movie will kick off its own extended universe, separate from the one that (for now, anyway) includes Ben Affleck's The-less Batman. This 'verse will take the form of a bunch of HBO Max shows starring not just "off-shoot characters but main ones, too, from the movie" -- you know that guy who gets a bomb duct-taped to his neck to provide an excuse for the obligatory "Batman saves a random kid" scene? He could get a show! And the kid too! And the bomb! Exciting times.
One of the shows will be about the Penguin's "rise to power," and Colin Farrell has officially signed up to re-apply his nose extension and vaguely British schoolboy-looking make-up.
Reeves seemed to compare the character to an even more ridiculously-accented Tony Montana: "I saw there being this kind of 'American dream in Gotham' sort of story, almost like Scarface; the rise of this character who we all know will achieve mythic status." After all, few ideas are more mythic than a little guy in a top hat shooting at Batman with an umbrella machine gun. If nothing else, this could finally give us the avian-oriented gangster drama many of us envisioned upon seeing the scene with the ducks on the first episode of The Sopranos (another show Reeves made sure to namedrop while talking about the Batmanverse in general).
As revealed in 2020, Reeves is also executive producing a show about the Gotham City Police Department. Before you start picturing Brooklyn Nine-Nine but on Gotham, consider the fact that the first showrunner HBO went to for this was Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter, so we're guessing it's gonna be less "the gang throws a surprise birthday party for Commissioner Gordon" and more "corrupt officials backstabbing each other (possibly in the literal sense)." Winter later stepped down, but something about new showrunner Joe Barton gives us the impression that he's not very interested in doing happy-go-lucky copaganda ...
According to Reeves, Gotham PD will take place during Batman's first year of Batmanning (making it a prequel to The Batman) and will follow a corrupt cop on a "battle for his soul." Per Warner Bros.' official description, the show will “build upon the film’s examination of the anatomy of corruption in Gotham City” -- all this emphasis on “corruption” kinda gives us the impression that this will be a dense drama about what a bureaucratic nightmare this city must be, like The Wire but with actual WMDs.
As for whether Jeffrey Wright's Commissioner Gordon will appear: well-connected Batfan Kevin Smith claims the character plays a big role, to the point that “it's like the Jim Gordon show.” There have been no official announcements about Wright joining the cast, though, so maybe Gordon will be standing just off-camera in every scene or have his face covered by convenient pieces of scenery. By the way, if the sole mention of a Commissioner Gordon series is already giving you Gotham flashbacks, rest easy: Barton called the shows "very different" and said he "wouldn't be that interested in remaking a show that ended like 5 minutes ago" in a now-deleted tweet.
Reeves is also executive producing the animated series Batman: Caped Crusader, a spiritual sequel to THE Batman: The Animated Series. This one probably won't take place in the same universe as the movie, but who knows -- maybe they'll pull a What If and spend most of their budget on voice acting to get Pattinson and the rest of The Batman gang.
Those are the only shows that have been confirmed so far, but given that Reeves talked about "main" characters and there aren't a lot of them, it wouldn't be that crazy if we got a Catwoman series with Zoe Kravitz or a spin-off for Andy Serkis' Alfred (especially since Serkis' whole reason for signing up was that he enjoyed playing an ape for Reeves in the past). Also, given the size of Batman's Rogues Gallery, there's always the possibility that Reeves will use these shows to introduce new characters later to be used in movies like Marvel has been doing with their Disney+ stuff. Or, hell, just explore weird corners of Gotham City for the heck of it and forget about ever having these characters meet Batman. Hey, if Sony can create a whole Spider-Man Universe without Spider-Man, everything's possible.
Top image: Warner Bros. Pictures