Matt Reeves Says ‘The Batman’ Won’t Be Part of the DC Extended Universe
Just yesterday, Deadline published a report that Warner Bros. was developing an origin story movie for the Joker. Included in that piece was the noteworthy comment that this was the first movie “under a new banner that has yet to be named in which WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters.” In recent years, everything Warners has done (at least in live-action) with its DC superheroes has been made within the confines of the shared DC Extended Universe. The Joker news suggests a move away from the everything-is-connected approach that has been so popular with comic and toy movies lately.
I have a vision for a way to do something with that character that at least feels like it resonates with me personally, and a perspective that can grow outward into other things. When they approached me, what they said was ‘Look, it’s a standalone. This isn’t part of the Extended Universe.’
Reeves also told Kim Masters that he’s “also totally fine not doing Batman” and is only really interested in making a movie (or potentially three movies) about the character if it’s his version and his vision.
The director also noted that he’s “only just beginning” work on The Batman, so a lot could change; the movie could wind up in the DCEU after all, or Reeves could drop out, or someone else could conceivably play Batman. (There’s already been a lot of rumors about that.) What’s important in the here and now, I think, is these two tidbits combined, which suggest that after years of trying to copy Marvel’s formula, Warners and DC might be shifting gears in an interesting way.
Yes, comic books tend to exist in shared universes, where all the characters can meet and interact. But after decades of reboots and revisions, there are, particularly in the DC Comics, a myriad of alternate universes, and alternate versions of every character. Some of my favorite DC books as a kid were Elseworlds stories, typically annuals and mini-series, that were freed from continuity and had a ton more freedom of content to have fun with the characters. After so many Batman movies already, it’s an important question: How do you make this film different from all the others? Applying this anything-goes approach could be one way, and potentially a really exciting way.