The Batman's Batverse Explained: Gotham PD, The Penguin Spinoffs

The Batverse begins with The Batman. The mystery-thriller, about a vengeful Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) in year two of his costumed crime-fighting crusade, reveals the origins of Batman's rogue's gallery: Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), Penguin (Colin Farrell), and the Riddler (Paul Dano). Part of the expanding Batverse built around filmmaker Matt Reeves' reboot, the characters have a future in planned sequels and two announced spinoff series in development at HBO Max. Like Earth-2 of the comic books, The Batman begins a new world separate from the DC Extended Universe where Ben Affleck has donned the cape and cowl of a more experienced Batman.

"On one Earth, you have [Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot] and [Aquaman's Jason Momoa] and [The Flash's Ezra Miller] as this Justice League and you can continue telling these stories, while on another Earth, you can have a more grounded, real, Year Two Batman," Walter Hamada, president of DC Films, said at DC FanDome 2020. "There is that one Earth, that greater Earth with this existing Justice League, and another that's sort of happening with that Year Two Batman. And, of course, there's outliers like Joker that don't exist on either Earth, but that's OK. Matt Reeves can continue to build out his Gotham."

All are part of the wider DC Multiverse, which will lead to some timeline changes when Michael Keaton's Batman returns in The Flash. Over in the standalone Batverse, Reeves executive produces two untitled spinoffs for HBO Max: one about the Gotham City Police Department and another about Oswald "Oz" Cobblepot's power grab as the Penguin

The Gotham PD series is set in the world Reeves created for The Batman and builds on its "examination of the anatomy of corruption in Gotham City, ultimately launching a new Batman universe across multiple platforms," HBO Max said when announcing the spinoff in 2020. "The series provides an unprecedented opportunity to extend the world established in the movie and further explore the myriad of compelling and complex characters of Gotham."

Jeffrey Wright, who plays Lieutenant Jim Gordon in The Batman, recently exclusively told ComicBook "there have been some conversations" about Gordon's role in the series. Set in the first year of Batman's crusade, the spinoff from showrunner Joe Barton (Giri/Haji) acts as a prequel to The Batman, but it's currently unknown if Pattinson's shadowy vigilante will appear. 

"The idea of the story was a story in which Gotham has that sort of depth of corruption, and then the idea that we could actually do a series that is going deeper into an aspect of it, which in this case is the corrupt police department and the inner workings of the city," Reeves revealed of the G.C.P.D. series during DC's FanDome event. "The idea is we go back to Year One, and Year One is the beginning of the emergence [of Batman] and is the first appearance of this masked vigilante that starts to unsettle the city. You start to see the story through the point of view of these corrupt cops, and one in particular, and the story is actually a battle for his soul."

The Farrell-led Penguin spinoff following Cobblepot's rise to power in Gotham's criminal underworld was envisioned by Reeves as "being this kind of 'American dream in Gotham' sort of story, almost like Scarface; the rise of this character who we all know will achieve mythic status," he previously told Entertainment Weekly. Lauren LeFranc (ImpulseMarvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is writing the script. 

"What I really wanted this movie to do is create a Batverse," Reeves told EW of The Batman. "You don't do a story and go, 'This is Chapter 1' because you might not get to do Chapter 2. So, the story had to stand on its own. But the thing about it is that the Bat world is so rich with character that as you're starting to come to an end, you can already start thinking about the next thing. Because the idea, of course, is that Gotham's story never ends." 

Starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Paul Dano as Edward Nashton/the Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as GCPD's James Gordon, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gotham D.A. Gil Colson, Jayme Lawson as mayoral candidate Bella Reál, Andy Serkis as Alfred, and Colin Farrell as Oswald "Penguin" Cobblepot, The Batman opens exclusively in theaters on March 4.