The Batman writer-director Matt Reeves promises a noir-driven, mystery-heavy tale highlighting the Dark Knight’s detective skills — could its story be influenced by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween?
The 13-issue limited series, long seen by many as a defining adventure in Batman’s storied 80-year history, is set early on in the crime fighter’s career and leans into Bruce Wayne’s mantle as “the world’s greatest detective” who must decipher the identity behind a mysterious new gimmick killer known only as Holiday.
As the killer claims victims on holidays over the course of a year, Batman confronts high-profile members belonging to his prolific rogues gallery — Joker, Penguin, Scarecrow, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, the Mad Hatter, Solomon Grundy, Riddler and ultimately Two-Face — while caught between warring mob families.
During his investigation, Batman is forced to turn to criminally insane and date-obsessed Arkham Asylum inmate Julian Day, the Calendar Man, to assist in his efforts to catch the elusive killer.
“We’re not doing any particular [comic book],” Reeves said last summer of the project when shooting down rumors his film was adapting origin tale Year One.
“It’s just exciting to be focused very specifically on a tale that is defining for him and very personal to him. Obviously we’re not doing an origin tale or anything like that. We’re doing a story that is definitively Batman though, and trying to tell a story that’s emotional and yet is really about him being the world’s greatest detective and all the things that for me, since I was a kid, made me love Batman.”
More recently, Reeves characterized his take on the caped crusader as a “point of view-driven, noir Batman tale” that depicts “more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films.”
“The comics have a history of that. He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, and that’s not necessarily been a part of what the movies have been,” Reeves told THR in January.
“I’d love this to be one where when we go on that journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime, it’s going to allow his character to have an arc so that he can go through a transformation.”
Reeves added the film will feature a rogues gallery, but has yet to spill which costumed criminals his younger Batman will encounter. The Penguin previously emerged as a rumored pick for the role of main villain.
When highlighting his favorite Batman comic books in April, Reeves pointed to Batman: The Long Halloween and sequel Batman: Dark Victory, as well as Batman: Ego, the works of celebrated comic book artist Neal Adams, and Batman co-creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger — any or all of which could influence The Batman.
“I’ve talked about making it a very point of view noir-driven definitive Batman story in which he is investigating a particular case and that takes us out into the world of Gotham,” Reeves said.
“I went on a deep dive again revisiting all my favorite comics. Those all inform by osmosis. There’s no continuation of the [Christopher] Nolan films. It’s very much trying to find a way to do this as something that for me is going to be definitively Batman and new and cool.”
Tentatively titled The Batman, the project will not star Ben Affleck — whose 20-year crime-fighting veteran headlined Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League — as studio Warner Bros. is now reportedly on the hunt for a “familiar face” to don the cape and cowl.
The film is dated to open June 25, 2021.
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