To no one’s surprise, a sequel to The Batman is officially in development, as announced in Warner Bros. Cinemacon 2022 panel.
The Matt Reeves-directed reimagining of the Dark Knight Detective has grossed over $750 million at the global box office. Plus, it has garnered the highest first week release on its debut on the HBO Max streaming service.
What does the announcement of The Batman sequel reveal regarding plans for the Bat-Verse and the rest of the DCEU? Read on for the details below.
During the CinemaCon 2022 held at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Toby Emmerich took to the stage. The Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman officially stated The Batman 2 will begin development. As part of the announcement, Emmerich confirmed director Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson will return:
One film that unquestionably hit that sweet spot this year was Matt Reeves, The Batman. Matt took one of our most iconic and beloved superheroes and delivered a fresh vision that clearly resonated with audiences and with your incredible support, shattered box office records around the world, which is one of the reasons I'm excited to break the news that Matt, Rob Pattinson and the whole team will be taking audiences back to Gotham with The Batman 2.
— CinemaCon (@CinemaCon) April 26, 2022
Emmerich specifically named Pattinson and Reeves returning, but the rest of the cast were not. Although it is safe to assume the team Emmerich mentions will include Andy Serkis (Alfred) and Jeffrey Wright (James Gordon), Colin Farrell and Zoë Kravitz are reportedly working separate on HBO Max spinoffs. Moreover, director Matt Reeves has stated that the sequel plans might not involve either The Riddler (Paul Dano) or The Joker (Barry Keoghan).
Director Matt Reeves followed up Emmerich’s announcement with expressing his gratitude for the support:
I just want to echo what Toby said and thank you all for your tremendous support for The Batman. We could have gotten here without the faith enthusiasm and hard work. Of everyone in this room and your amazing teams here around the world. Every part of this journey has been thrilling for me as a filmmaker and a huge fan of this character and I'm excited to jump back into this world for the next chapter.
What will The Batman sequel be about?
The climax and epilogue of The Batman had Gotham City under a crisis. Much of the urban areas are flooded due to the endgame of The Riddler, as revenge for the corrupted Renewal initiative. It is very likely that the sequel will involve how The Batman and his allies resolve the situation.
However, it might not be an immediate follow-up. As The Penguin spinoff will deal with Oswald Cobblepot’s power grab in the wake of the Gotham flooding, events in The Batman sequel might occur long after. There is also the Arkham Asylum spinoff, which will involve other inmates and possible origins of the rest of Batman’s rogues gallery.
Since Reeves has mentioned that the Joker might not be part of the sequel, a different main villain will likely be introduced. Internet speculation has mentioned Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow, Ra’s al-Ghul, Bane, and The Court of Owls.
Jonathan Crane was previously played by Cillian Murphy in the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy. However, he was mostly a secondary villain, with merely a cameo in the second and third films. Putting The Scarecrow as the main villain in the sequel would open up interesting possibilities with the fear-obsessed psychiatrist.
One of the criticisms about The Batman is how inept Pattinson’s version is in combat. If the sequel brings in Ra’s al-Ghul and The League of Assassins, this could serve as a plot element for Bruce Wayne to upgrade his methods to include ninja training. It would also provide a way of introducing a new love interest in Talia al-Ghul, should Zoë Kravitz be absent due to her Catwoman spinoff being set in Blüdhaven.
Bane presents a different opportunity. In the original DC Comics, Bane was raised in prison. His motivation is seeing the entire world as a prison and he need to be the man in charge. To this end, he employed the use of the drug Venom to enhance his physical abilities. What if the device Bruce Wayne used to recover during the climax of The Batman was a Venom injector?
Finally, The Court of Owls would help tie together the plot threads dropped in The Batman. Revealing the underlying conspiracy in Gotham’s elite was the main thrust of The Riddler’s plans. What if these elites answered to the shadowy cabal that has overseen Gotham City for hundreds of years? The Court of Owls also employed The Talons, which has similarities to the League of Shadows. So similarly, this may motivate Bruce Wayne to become more effective in combat and stealth.
While fans and industry insiders have different opinions, Matt Reeves himself has expressed interest in a grounded version to Mr. Freeze:
In my view, I just feel drawn to finding the grounded version of everything. So to me it would be a challenge in an interesting way to try and figure out how that could happen, even the idea of something like Mr. Freeze, that such a great story, right? I think there's actually a grounded version of that story, which could be really powerful and could be really great.
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) February 15, 2022
Mr. Freeze was infamously portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a more comical light in Batman and Robin. If Reeves pushes through with using the villain in The Batman sequel, it might play with the Emmy award-winning story in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice".
No target release date has been set for The Batman 2.