New 'Birds of Prey' Details Reportedly Explain Batman's Disappearance from Gotham

Yesterday's Birds of Prey casting news provided an interesting detail about the state of Gotham City, but it sounds like it might not be as big of a deal as some are thinking.

Deadline's reporting of Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead's casting as Black Canary and Huntress revealed that the film will be set in a version of Gotham that "isn't protected by Batman". According to SuperBroMovies' Daniel RPK, Batman's potential absence from Gotham probably won't be that big of a deal, only making it into the film as a one-off line about how "no one has seen" him in two years.

Given the current timeline of the DCEU, Bruce Wayne/Batman's (Ben Affleck) status within Birds of Prey does make a lot of sense. Birds of Prey will most likely be our latest look at Gotham City since a few scenes in Justice League, meaning that there's an over-two-year gap where we don't know what's happening in the city. Given that Batman had an instrumental part in forming the Justice League, it isn't too hard to see him turning his focus to that group, even if we don't yet know what they've been up to for the past few years. There's also a chance that Bruce could still be alive and well in Gotham, but he's just not making his presence as well-known as he did in some of his earlier DCEU ventures.

Plus, since the film's foe is expected to be Roman Sionis/Black Mask - a childhood friend of Bruce's in the comics - it makes sense that the film is skirting around the question of why Batman wouldn't be involved with stopping the villain in the first place.

Either way, it sounds like Batman won't be too much of a cause for concern within Birds of Prey, focusing instead (rightfully so) on the film's female-centric ensemble.

“It’s really exciting, and even the process of going through getting the role and everything was a very different experience than I’ve typically been through,” Winstead revealed in a recent interview. “Being with the other actresses and a female director and just the whole energy behind this is so unique, so I’m really happy about that.”

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Upcoming DC Extended Universe films include Aquaman on December 21st, Shazam on April 5, 2019, Wonder Woman 1984 on November 1, 2019, and Birds of Prey on February 7, 2020.