“The Batman: Every Set Photo (So Far)”
Matt Reeves’ The Batman is currently filming in London, and as it happens with big productions, set photos have already been shared online. DC’s movie universe – unofficially titled DC Extended Universe – is going through major changes after its first wave of films didn’t perform as expected, and while some characters will remain the same (Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Shazam, and Aquaman), others went through a process of recasting. Such is the case of Batman, who will now be played by Robert Pattinson.
The new Batman film, simply titled The Batman, will focus on a younger Bruce Wayne and his days as detective, but it won’t be an origin story. Though the film is part of the DCEU, it holds no direct connection to previous films in this universe, but it will include some nods to it, although minimal. Very little is known about the plot of The Batman, but many have speculated it will take inspiration from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s limited comic book series The Long Halloween, more so because various villains have already been cast, such as Catwoman (Zöe Kravitz), The Penguin (Colin Farrell), and The Riddler (Paul Dano), as well as Peter Sarsgaard in an undisclosed role rumored to be Two-Face.
There’s a lot of anticipation around The Batman, not only for its different approach to Gotham’s hero but because of the actors that have joined so far and the potential storyline (supported by the fact that the film will have scenes in Arkham Asylum). The Batman has a release date of June 2021, so fans will still have to wait to get official photos and teasers, but they can get an idea of where the story will go by the set photos that have been shared so far.
The first batch of The Batman set photos showed members and cars from the Gotham Police Department, a news van for Gotham Action News, and a truck for Gotham Water & Power. No actors from the main cast were spotted, only those playing members of the GCPD, so there’s not much context. Naturally, there are already a couple of ideas on what they could have been filming. Many fans have speculated this was all about a crime scene, given the presence of the GCPD and Gotham Action News, and could therefore be one of the cases Bruce Wayne (well, Batman) will investigate.
Others believe that the addition of Gotham Action News and other media could point at the appearance of journalist Vicki Vale, a classic character from Batman comics. Her role was similar to that of Lois Lane in the comics of Superman, as she reported on Batman’s activities for a newspaper, was his love interest, and was frequently on the trail of his secret identity. Vale was portrayed by Kim Basinger in the 1989 film Batman, and hasn’t appeared on the big screen ever since. There’s no word on Vicki Vale’s potential appearance in The Batman, but the presence of Gotham Action News leaves the door open for a cameo or an active role in a sequel.
Of course, one of the things fans are more eager to see is Robert Pattinson’s Batman look – and that’s precisely why Warner will do everything it can to avoid it leaking. Still, another batch of set photos revealed the first look at Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne (not Batman). Pattinson was seen in all black clothes at the entrance of a building, next to a reporter, and later in a motorcycle. Very much like the previous set photos, there’s not much context for these ones, only speculation. Some fans believe these could be photos from Bruce’s return to Gotham after his training, as he’s not sporting a “richest man in Gotham” look. However, given that Reeves has insisted that The Batman is not an origin story, this can be ruled out.
Bruce riding a motorcycle instead of one of his luxury cars as he usually does has also raised some questions among fans. Many have pointed out its similarity to an image from Scott Snyder’s Batman: Zero Year, in which Batman rides a motorcycle into battle. It’s worth noting that this storyline features the Penguin and the Riddler too, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the film is taking some inspiration from it, without actually being based on it. Or it could just be that Bruce’s days as detective were a bit simpler and a motorcycle was a better choice for him. Anything is possible at this point.
The same group of photos that revealed Bruce riding a motorcycle offered the first look at Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a. The Penguin. This is another character fans are really looking forward to see how he will be characterized – will he have a more comic book accurate look, like that of Danny DeVito in Batman Returns, or will it be a more modern take? These set photos don’t give a clear idea of what Farrell will look like as the Penguin, but it’s a good start. One of the photos shows Farrell in a black coat, with an umbrella (very much like in the comics), and with silver hair.
Days later, Farrell was spotted off-set with that same hair color (and a mustache), which understandably made fans believe this was their closest look to his Penguin appearance in The Batman – after all, it matched the previously shared photos. However, Farrell denied this was his look for The Batman, saying he hasn’t even started filming. He explained that he likes to “do something – it might even be as simple as paint a nail black or get a haircut” after an intense film production, so the silver hair was unrelated to his role in The Batman. It’s hard to say if Farrell is telling the truth or messing with fans. If true, then the man who appears in those set photos isn’t him and isn’t the Penguin… but there’s also Reeves’ tweet confirming Farrell plays the Penguin, which funny enough happened after those set photos were revealed.
On the other hand, it’s unlikely Farrell would have gone for an intense look like that in-between projects just because, more so because getting to that color requires a more elaborate treatment than just dying it. Whatever the case, Farrell’s Penguin look, along with Pattinson’s Batman suit, will remain a mystery until a closer and clearer photo – official or not – is released. While all of The Batman set photos revealed so far don’t offer much (or any) context, the details shown in them do help get an idea of where the story could go and make the anticipation for it even bigger.
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