The Batman 2 has not yet been officially greenlit by Warner Bros. As details of big changes to the DC Films franchise under the new Warner Bros. Discovery merger continue to shake out, it looks like The Batman sequel isn't as sure of a thing as when The Batman 2 was first announced publicly during DC/WB's panel at CinemaCon 2022. In the latest report from Variety, we're now hearing that "Writer-director Matt Reeves is on track for a sequel with star Robert Pattinson, but the project remains in development and does not yet have a greenlight – any future film is years away."
Back in the spring of this year, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich told the CinemaCon crowd something quite different about The Batman sequel:
"Matt [Reeves] took one of our most iconic and beloved superheroes and delivered a fresh vision that clearly resonated with audiences and with your incredible support, shattered box office records around the world, which is one of the reasons I'm excited to break the news that Matt, Rob Pattinson and the whole team will be taking audiences back to Gotham with The Batman 2," Emmerich stated.
Who knows what the exact timeline was for The Batman 2's production – it's a moot point now, as Toby Emmerich stepped down from his position soon after CinemaCon. As we've known seen throughout the summer, new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is coming from a very different playbook on how to build the DC Films franchise.
"There will be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC... We think that we could build a long-term much stronger, sustainable growth business out of DC. And as part of that, we're going to focus on quality. We're not going to release any film before it's ready... We're not going to release a film unless the focus is going to be, 'How do we make each of these films in general as good as possible?'... We have some great DC films coming up — Black Adam, Shazam, and Flash – and we're working on all of those. We're very excited about them."
The question of where Batman fits into the DC franchise seems to be at the forefront of DC/WB right now. Zslav has made big sweeping changes that seem focused on the Batman side of things: the Batgirl movie was shelved despite being completed, and Michael Keaton's version of Batman – originally set to be a key supporting figure in The Flash before becoming DC's "Nick Fury" by appearing in Batgirl, Aquaman 2 and other films. Ben Affleck's Batman has been brought back in to make an appearance in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom after he first appears in Flash: whether Affleck is stepping back into the cowl full time or just finishing an arc to make way for a new Batman, remains to be seen.
How Zaslav views The Batman franchise and its independent place in the DC franchise is also unclear. The Batman earned $700 million early this year, which is very respectable in a post-pandemic theatrical market, but still short of the billion dollars Marvel has been able to still earn with Spider-Man: No Way Home and (very nearly with) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Zaslav clearly wants DC films to be billion-dollar earners as well – so wehther he has faith in The Batman is unclear.
As far as we currently know The Batman franchise is still continuing to expand into an HBO Max TV series focused on Colin Farrell's Penguin after the events of the first film. So it's not altogether shocking to hear that The Batman 2 could still be years away, if The Penguin series needs to come down the production pipeline, first.
We'll keep you updated on the status of The Batman 2.