Every ‘The Batman’ Spin-Off Series So Far
In 2022, we saw the Robert Pattinson renaissance with the release of Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Set roughly around the second year of Bruce Wayne’s tenure as the Dark Knight, Reeves’ take on his story and Gotham City garnered stellar reviews from press and audiences alike. The movie draws heavy inspiration from ‘70s crime noirs and highlights Batman’s detective skills amidst a backdrop of corrupt cops, a mob, and seemingly ceaseless crime. One can probably make the argument that, of all its elements, the film’s best feature is its take on Gotham City itself. Unlike its predecessors, The Batman’s Gotham feels lived in and fleshed out, making it the perfect backdrop for multiple spinoffs. And luckily for all of us, that is exactly the case; here’s a rundown of every title we can expect.
The Penguin is the first of The Batman’s spinoffs that HBO has confirmed to be in development. The show will follow Colin Farrell again donning his heavy makeup to play Oswald Cobblepot and entail his infamous rise amongst Gotham’s mob elite. As of this writing, we have yet to receive word on an official release date but Farrell recently confirmed in a red-carpet interview with Variety that they’re set to start filing this February 2023.
In the same talk, the actor shared that he had no idea the character would get his own spinoff: “The only thing I had an idea was that I wasn’t nearly getting to explore the character as much as I wanted to. There was all this extraordinary work done by [prosthetics artist] Mike Moreno and Mike Fontaine, his team. … I just thought it was the tip of the iceberg, pardon the pun, that we were getting to do the six of seven scenes that we did in the film.”
As for the show’s plot, Matt Reeves has confirmed exclusively to Collider that the series will pick up where The Batman left off and set the stage for The Batman II. If you can recall, the 2022 film ends with Carmine Falcone getting caught by Gotham City Police, only to later end up dead at the hands of Paul Dano’s Riddler. Given that Falcone holds the top spot in Gotham’s criminal hierarchy, his death rendered the position vacant. The series will most likely lean into this and show the Penguin scheming his way to the throne and take over the city’s underground syndicate.
One of HBO Max’s head of originals, Sarah Aubrey, hinted at what audiences can expect in an interview with Variety: “The goal of this is to show what Oz’s life is like and that’s very much in the streets of Gotham, trying to get up and over as only the Penguin can. As a hustler and a strategist with his own ambitions. It is a great example of having the time over eight episodes to tell a longer-arc character story with a lot of delicious twists and turns and new characters. It’s very much going to be about Gotham at that street level, because he’s not flying around like Batman does. We are all embracing that as a very specific experience for audiences to have.”
As for the show’s cast, it’s been confirmed that Farrell will be joined by Cristin Milioti, who will be playing Sofia Falcone, Carmine’s daughter. In the comics, she first appears in the limited series Batman: The Long Halloween (which was one of Reeves’ source materials for The Batman) and made her live-action debut in the series Gotham, where she was played by Teen Wolf’s Crystal Reed. Considering where the film left off, we can most likely expect that Milioti’s Sofia will be butting heads with Farrell as they fight for control over Gotham. Milioti is, of course, best known for playing Tracy, the titular mother on How I Met Your Mother as well as her recent romcom Palm Springs. Marvel alum Rhenzy Feliz has also been recently confirmed to join the show’s cast in an undisclosed role. Other actors who have been attached to the project include House of Card’s Michael Kelly and actress Deirdre O’Connell.
The show is reportedly set to run for eight episodes, Matt Reeves taking on the role of executive producer alongside Lauren LeFranc as its showrunner. Some of LeFranc’s prior work includes credits from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Chuck.
Unnamed Arkham Asylum Show
The unnamed Arkham show is actually a spinoff of a spinoff (we’ll talk about it more below) that will focus on Gotham’s infamous Arkham Asylum. In an interview with The Cyber Nerds, Reeves describes the dilapidated mental institution as a “haunted house” and likened it to an independent character in and of itself, much like The Batman’s treatment of Gotham City as having a life of its own.
“The idea, again the way that Gotham is a character in the movie, I really want Arkham to exist as a character,” Reeves said. “You go into this environment and encounter these characters in a way that feels really fresh. And so in our work on Gotham, that story started to evolve, and it started feeling [like], ‘Wait, we should really lean into this.’ And then that’s kinda where that’s gone.”
It’s also worth mentioning that in the film, the Riddler makes suggestions about Martha Wayne and her family’s history of mental illness, hinting that Bruce’s mother may have spent time in Arkham. We could presumably expect flashbacks involving her and Bruce’s father, Thomas, as well.
The GCPD (Cancelled?)
So, this one’s the spinoff that spawned the Arkham Asylum show as mentioned above. Originally, the show was set to zone in on the Gotham Police Department, particularly on a corrupt cop. Considering that The Batman is more of a “year two” story, the now-scrapped procedural cop show was supposedly going to serve as a mini-prequel to the film. Reeves credited Sidney Lumet’s “Prince of the City” as his primary inspiration and had even tapped Boardwalk Empire’s Terence Winter to oversee the project. Speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast, however, Reeves has unfortunately confirmed that due to a few bumps and creative differences, the show will be shelved for now.
“One thing that we’re not doing that I was gonna do—so there’s the Gotham police show, which, that one actually is put on hold. We’re not really doing that,” the director shared. “It wasn’t going to be a Batman story, it was going to be about this corrupt cop. And it was going to be about how the worst gang in Gotham were the GCPD. And [the cop] was going to come across paths, he would have touched paths with Gordon who would have been—it would have been someone to measure him against. But it would be a battle for [the cop’s] soul.”
According to Reeves, the studio executives agreed that the concept was promising but did not like the idea of anchoring the show’s narrative on a corrupt character, which also makes perfect sense. He added: “So I was like, ok. So maybe someday we’ll do that show.”
(featured image: Warner Bros. Pictures)
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