In a development that should relieve fans, The Batman, Warner’s developing DC Extended Universe reboot movie, is now back on track after a COVID scare earlier this month from a positive test, reportedly from star Robert Pattinson, resulted in the production coming to a standstill.
Warner has issued a statement announcing its return to production on director Matt Reeves’s The Batman, although the studio remains ambiguous on the details, especially since it never officially confirmed the now-accepted notion originally reported by Vanity Fair that the on-set positive case that caused the shutdown was star Robert Pattinson himself. Yet, we can take the news—which arrives after a conventional two-week wait for COVID symptoms—as confirmation that said case was isolated. As the carefully-worded statement reads:
“Following a hiatus for COVID 19 quarantine precautions, filming has now resumed on The Batman in the U.K.”
However, with no official confirmation from Warner (or, for that matter, any agents,) that Pattinson was indeed the COVID case in question, the studio has likewise failed to provide a substantive update on the star’s condition. Consequently, we don’t currently know if The Batman’s return to production will focus on scenes that don’t include the star on the call sheet, or if he was somehow spared from a lengthy illness and has recovered enough to get in front of the cameras. While the latter notion seems unlikely, it’s not impossible, especially given the frustratingly inconsistent pathology of the virus.
Regardless, the two-week duration of the latest hiatus ultimately paled in comparison to what the film’s Leavesden, Hertfordshire, England production has already endured during the 2020 pandemic. Indeed, The Batman was about 25% into production when it became another name added to the list of industry-wide shutdowns back in March. With no visible light at the end of the tunnel a month after that pause, Warner moved back the film’s slated release date of June 25, 2021 to October 1, 2021. Thus, it had to be disheartening to the cast and crew when the exciting August announcement from DC’s FanDome virtual event that the film was resuming production was almost immediately nullified by the early-September on-set COVID case. Thankfully, the ensuing pause only lasted roughly a fortnight.
The Batman will, of course, see Pattinson’s Dark Knight opposite one of the most impressive ensembles ever assembled for a franchise outing, joined by a rogues gallery consisting of Colin Farrell as The Penguin, Zoë Kravitz as The Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, along with allies such as Andy Serkis as Alfred and Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon. For now, it does seem that the film’s most recent release date of October 1, 2021 was able to hold in the face of this latest reminder—albeit a brief one—of just how terrible 2020 has become.