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The Batman won’t be yet another Dark Knight origin story, says director

But it will acknowledge the origins

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Robert Pattinson as Batman stands next to his black Batmobile in a still from The Batman (2021) Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

The Batman of the upcoming film The Batman is not the Batman from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Batman Begins or The LEGO Batman Movie, but The Batman director Matt Reeves thinks you know enough about Batman that he doesn’t have to go over everything about Batman before diving right into his Batman movie. Ya dig?

In an interview with Nerdist for his new Amazon series Tales from the Loop, Reeves explained that The Batman won’t tread the complete saga of how his version of Batman came to be, which should bring a sigh of relief to everyone who’s been watching Bat-films for the past two decades.

“I wanted to do not an origin tale, but a tale that would still acknowledge his origins, in that it formed who he is,” Reeves said. “Like this guy, he’s majorly struggling, and this is how he’s trying to rise above that struggle. But that doesn’t mean that he even fully understands, you know. It’s that whole idea of the shadow self and what’s driving you, and how much of that you can incorporate, and how much of it you’re doing that you’re unaware of.”

Ben Affleck was originally signed up to write, direct, and star in The Batman as a standalone sidequel to the Snyderverse films. That didn’t happen, and when Reeves came on board, most of the ideas seemed to have gone out the window. Robert Pattinson is now under the cowl, the film has a stacked cast of villains, and there’s reportedly no connectivity to the wider DC movie universe. Reeves pitched his version of a Batman movie, which he says will center on his questions about the reality of the hero’s situation. From the sound of it, the film could very well line up with what last year’s Joker was putting out.

“I’m going to pitch the version of Batman that I would do, which is going to have a humanist bent,” he said. “There’s something in there that feels very psychological, very emotional, and it felt like there was a way of exploring that along with the corruption in this place, Gotham. That feels very current. I think it always does. There’s almost no time when you can’t do a story about corruption. But today, it still seems incredibly resonant and maybe, from my perspective, maybe more so than maybe at other time.”

What does “acknowledge his origins” look like in a non-origin story? Early photos captured on the set of The Batman hinted at a more cobbled-together costume than anything Zack Snyder or Christopher Nolan envisioned for the millionaire playboy crime fighter. Pattinson’s version could easily be football gear with kevlar spray. As noted by our comics editor Susana Polo, the look is reminiscent of the design in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Zero Year storyline, which followed Batman on his earliest adventures, against the original Red Hood, the villainous Doctor Death, and finally against the Riddler, who turned Gotham City into one giant puzzle. We may not see Batman’s complete origin story in this movie, but we may watch a hero finding his footing in a new career.

The Batman is expected to hit theaters on June 25, 2021. Production shut down due to coronavirus concerns in March, so it’s unclear whether dates will shift as Hollywood adjusts the release calendar.

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