The Batman director Matt Reeves reveals new details about Gotham PD, the television spinoff that has since shifted into the "haunted house" series Arkham Asylum. WarnerMedia's HBO Max ordered the spinoff in July 2020, describing the Gotham City Police Department-centric show as an "examination of the anatomy of corruption in Gotham City." Along with The Penguin, a second spinoff following Oswald "Oz" Cobblepot's (Colin Farrell) rise to power after the events of the film, Gotham PD was to launch the television side of the budding Batverse created by Reeves to extend the world established in The Batman.
On the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast, Reeves confirmed Gotham PD is "on hold" as the television spinoff has "evolved" to focus on Arkham Asylum, the psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane that eventually incarcerates most of Batman's (Robert Pattinson) rogue's gallery.
"One thing that we're not doing that I was gonna do — so there's the Gotham police show, which, that one actually is put on hold," Reeves said. "We're not really doing that."
Gotham PD was to act as a prequel to The Batman, taking place in "Year One" of Bruce Wayne's (Pattinson) crime-fighting crusade. In the film set in Batman's second year, the Dark Knight encounters early versions of Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), Riddler (Paul Dano), and Penguin.
"The series was going to be kind of like [Sidney Lumet's neo-noir crime-drama] Prince of the City, where it was going to be year one," Reeves said. "Because the movie is year two, and I wanted it to be the first appearance. But it wasn't going to be a Batman story, it was going to be about this corrupt cop. And it was going to be about how the worst gang in Gotham were the GCPD. And [Batman] was going to come across paths, he would have touched paths with Gordon who would have been — it would have been someone to measure him against. But it would be a battle for his soul."
While WarnerMedia was receptive to the idea, Reeves suggests the studio wanted a television spinoff to be centered on a more famous character. The Batman ends with Riddler making friends with an Unseen Arkham Prisoner (Barry Keoghan), locked away after an encounter with Batman. (Spoiler warning: Reeves has confirmed Keoghan's shadowy character is the Joker, who has a history with Batman.)
"It's super cool to me. And they didn't not like the idea," Reeves said. "They just wanted it to be, they wanted to center a show on a character who was more — I get it. And so I was like, OK. So maybe someday we'll do that show."
Terrence Winter (Boardwalk Empire) was set as showrunner of the Gotham PD spinoff but later exited over reported creative differences. Reeves executive produces the Arkham series, which replaced Winter with Giri/Haji creator Joe Barton last year.0comments
"The GCDP thing, that story has kinda evolved. We've actually now [moved] more into the realm of exactly what would happen in the world of Arkham as it relates coming off of our movie, and some of the characters… almost leaning into the idea of… it's like a horror movie or a haunted house that is Arkham," Reeves said in a separate interview with The Cyber Nerds. "The idea, again the way that Gotham is a character in the movie, I really want Arkham to exist as a character. You go into this environment and encounter these characters in a way that feels really fresh. And so in our work on Gotham, that story started to evolve, and it started feeling [like], 'Wait, we should really lean into this.' And then that's kinda where that's gone."
Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell, The Batman is now playing exclusively in movie theaters.