Just like The Suicide Squad will get a TV spinoff on HBO Max centering on Peacemaker, the upcoming Matt Reeves movie The Batman is set for a spinoff centering on the police of Gotham City. Despite a synopsis that sounds suspiciously like the fan-favorite DC comic Gotham Central, and the fact that the series was actually announced as being Gotham Central by industry trade Deadline, one of the writers who shaped that series says that isn't the studio's plan. According to Ed Brubaker, the upcoming series may feel a bit like Gotham Central but will not feature the characters created by himself and Stumptown creator Greg Rucka, but instead will feature new characters created by Matt Reeve for his movie.
Brubaker made the revelation during a conversation on Fatman on Batman. Speaking with hosts Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin, Brubaker broke down the journey of Gotham Central to...well, often almost being on the screen.
"They've been circling Gotham Central for so long. you know, Gotham was originally supposed to be Gotham Central," Brubaker said. "I was told by the people at DC, 'you need to get all your paperwork in to make sure you're covered for all the Gotham Central characters, because in a month they're going to announce Gotham Central as a TV show,' and then at the last minute they decided to change it to Gotham, and make it into little-kid Bruce Wayne for some reason, which is like, 'okay.'"
"When I worked on Westworld we were in the same building as Gotham and so I would run into [showrunner] Bruno Heller in the elevator sometimes and we went to lunch," Brubaker added. "He was like, 'yeah, I really wanted to make Gotham Central, and then they just said this is what it is, and so this is what it is.' But I was just like, 'tell me stories about Rome.' That to me, when that came out and then it wasn't Gotham Central, I was like, 'oh man, they're never going to make Gotham Central now,' but then they announced this new one, where I was like, 'maybe they are going to make Gotham Central now.' And Rucka's getting everything -- The Old Guard, and he's got this Gal Gadot movie, and Stumptown was a hit until COVID happened. So I was like 'maybe they're really going to make Gotham Central this time,' and so I reached out to a producer who works for Matt Reeves and he says, 'no, that's not really Gotham Central. They're making sure that they don't call it Gotham Central and it's more of a spinoff from the movie. It's like the James Gordon show."
Given the fact that Marvel and DC routinely go out of their way not to pay creators for their contributions to the film and TV projects they produce -- Brubaker has experienced this with characters and stories he created during his Captain America run -- Kevin Smith expressed frustration on Brubaker's behalf that people aren't paying him. Brubaker, though, seems like he isn't as upset about that as he could be.
"I didn't even think about it when I was like, 'Is this Gotham Central?' and it's like, no, it's Gotham Central but with different, made-up characters from the movies, so I was like 'It's Gotham Central but with characters that Matt Reeves created instead,'" Brubaker said. "And Im like, whatever. Gotham Central was such a ripoff of Homicide: The Book, because Rucka and I were both obsessed with David Simon's Homicide book. We were being offered a revamp of Batman and the Outsiders and we talked and both of us had no ideas for Batman and the Outsiders and we just wanted to write about the cops in Gotham City."
Brubaker said that they took editor Bob Schreck out to lunch and pitched him the opening scene of the first issue, in which Mr. Freeze freezes one of the characters' partner and then shatters him, and Schreck agreed to do the book on the spot.
Brubaker also related the story of how Gotham Central got its name. Apparently, former DC editor Mike Carlin was determined to call the book Gotham: Murder City, which nobody else liked, and had rejected the "Gotham Central" title. While they were working on trying to come up with a better option everyone could agree on, then-DC chief Jenette Kahn joined the conversation, and Brubaker went over everyone's head and got her to side with him by sketching out what the Gotham Central logo would look like on a cover.
You can see the full interview and much more in the YouTube video above.