The Batman, Warner’s long-planned post-Christopher Nolan cinematic solo feature for DC’s Dark Knight, has been forced to undergo extensive alterations, thanks to the highly-publicized exit of the last portrayer of the iconic crimefighter in the (cinematic) DC Extended Universe, Ben Affleck. However, with Robert Pattinson now confirmed as the new Batman, it appears that the project will get a new lease on life – three times over!
While the original plans for The Batman project centered on the idea that the hero, as played by Ben Affleck – who is now 46 – is an older, more seasoned version of the character who was, for all intents and purposes, at the end of his grapnel-shot rope with all the physically-punishing nocturnal ass-kicking, the casting of the 33-year-old Pattinson clearly telegraphed a new direction. Indeed, a report from Deadline takes this notion a step further, revealing that the new film – still brandishing the title, The Batman – will kick off a new trilogy, centered on “the formative stages” of the eponymous vigilante. – That’s definitely a new detail.
Matt Reeves, who was named director while the film still had Affleck, is remaining onboard to helm the Pattinson-led iteration of The Batman. Yet, Reeves might as well be a new director, since he will go back to the drawing board from original plans, which had him working off a script he had co-written with star Ben Affleck. That version was to have Batman tangle with mercenary Deathstroke, as played by Joe Manganiello. However, a subsequent rumor in the post-Affleck, pre-Pattinson era of the project pointed to a Batman Returns-like rogues gallery of Catwoman and Penguin; a configuration that’s unlikely to manifest, given the film’s new early-Batman focus.
While Robert Pattinson’s casting reveals the new film’s focus on a more youthful version of the Caped Crusader – something that might shock Twilight-traumatized detractors – it’s hardly a novel notion. Keep in mind that director Christopher Nolan came into 2005 relaunch Batman Begins with a similar modus operandi focused on the character’s origin story – loosely inspired by writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli‘s work on the 1987 run of DC’s Batman: Year One – with the casting of star Christian Bale, who had only just turned 30 (that’s three years younger than Pattinson), when the film started production in March of 2004. Like Pattinson, Bale was shaking off the image of an early-career role – as a child actor in 1987’s Empire of the Sun – and recently fielded a doors-opening breakthrough role in 2000’s American Psycho.
The Batman is, at least for now, still scheduled to hit theaters on June 25, 2021.