DCEU Batman TV Series Suffers Setback with Exit of Showrunner

HBO Max’s untitled spinoff series to The Batman has seen the exit of showrunner Terence Winter.

Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon in The Batman
Photo: Warner Bros.

The multi-medium plans of Warner Bros. to complement upcoming Robert Pattinson-starring DC Extended Universe movie reboot The Batman with an HBO Max live-action television series has hit a slight snag with the exit of showrunner Terence Winter.

Creative differences have caused an irreparable rift between Winter—who was initially tapped as showrunner, writer and executive producer—and The Batman director Matt Reeves, who is onboard as an executive producer, according to THR. It would seem that the series Winter envisioned did not match what Reeves, his fellow producers and Warner had in mind. Thus, with the series designed to share some type of tonal and thematic synergy with the 2022-scheduled DCEU movie, the reported clash of visions with the movie team left Winter as the odd man out.

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While official comments on Winter’s exit have yet to surface, his exit stands in stark contrast to the seemingly harmonious collaboration described in the initial announcement of the series from this past July, in which Reeves lauded that “getting to work with the incredibly talented Terence Winter, who has written so insightfully and powerfully about worlds of crime and corruption, is an absolute dream.”

The untitled series, which bears the working title, Gotham Central, will take shape as a noir-toned urban drama centered on the jaded and corrupt members of the Gotham Police Department, set to showcase the Year One period of Batman’s shadowy crimefighting career from their point of view, in essence serving as a prequel of sorts to The Batman, which we know will take place during Year Two. Consequently, with the show set to be grounded in the seedy world of crime, Winter—who brought pertinent experience from HBO shows like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire—seemed like a smart choice to steer the creative ship during the outset.

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However, with Gotham Central being a project directly connected to Warner’s investment in the DCEU continuity (and all the accompanying notes-driven “suggestions” from the company’s cadre of producers and studio suits), Winter might have been stuck in the kind of stifling situation that some creative-types find untenable; a phenomenon that’s actually become quite common in the era of the comic book tentpole. Indeed, the billion dollar cinematic universe stakes for the series become crystal clear with the idea that Jeffrey Wright is reportedly set to reprise his role in The Batman as Police Commissioner James Gordon on the series.

For now, the exit of Winter has left the series with a major vacancy, with no replacement announced as of yet. Reeves remains onboard, joined by a gaggle of co-executive producers in Daniel Pipski (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series), Adam Kassan (Tales from the Loop) and Rafi Crohn (Tales from the Loop). Yet, whoever gets this coveted showrunner gig will have to take on a heavy burden, since Gotham Central seems to be a key element of grandiose plans towards, as the official description put it, “ultimately launching a new Batman universe across multiple platforms.” No small task indeed.

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Gotham Central (final title to be determined) didn’t have a solid production or release date before the exit of Winter, and certainly doesn’t have one now. However, the film it is meant to complement, The Batman, is currently (after months of juggling,) scheduled to hit theaters for a hopefully-post-COVID populace on March 4, 2022.