Warner Bros.’ new slate of movies and TV based on DC Comics is expansive, from a deep space adventure with Supergirl to deep swamp horror with Swamp Thing. There’s even a new Batman movie, starring a new Batman and Robin!
But that may leave fans of 2022 blockbuster The Batman wondering where that leaves the film’s sequel and previously announced spinoff TV shows, and fans of Joker wondering about its sequel. The answer is it’s they’re still there — just elsewhere. Or, to be specific: Elseworld.
What is Brave and the Bold, WB’s new Batman movie?
According to Warner Bros.’ announcement — heralded by director and co-chairperson of DC Films, James Gunn — Brave and the Bold will be the first official DCU Batman movie of the studio’s new direction for DC Comics adaptations.
The flick will be an “unusual father-son story” based on Grant Morrison’s run on the comics Batman and Batman & Robin with Frank Quitely and other artists. Their time on Batman books was marked by wild new supervillains like the cannibalistic Flamingo and the plastic surgery-obsessed Professor Pyg — and Batman’s discovery that his off again on again flame, Talia al Ghul, had been hiding the existence of their son, Damian, from him.
In the comics, Talia raised Damian as a spoiled assassin, only dumping him in Batman’s lap on his eleventh birthday, causing no end of conflict as Damian came to terms with his father’s “no killing” rule. It’s certainly one of the angles the film could explore, not to mention the action possibilities you get when Batman’s baby momma is the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul and leader of the ninja-assassin consortium known as the League of Shadows.
As yet, Brave and the Bold does not have a release date, or any creatives attached, but we can expect it to hit theaters no sooner than July 2025, when Gunn’s Superman: Legacy kicks off the direction of the new DC Films interconnected universe.
Is The Batman 2 still happening? Joker 2?
Joker: Folie à Deux, the reportedly musical sequel to 2019’s Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga, started production in 2022, and remains slated to premiere on Oct. 4, 2024.
Matt Reeves’ Batman film franchise is still moving ahead as well. Unless we hear otherwise, it’s safe to assume that its spinoff TV series, The Penguin, is also still happening, as well as the two untitled The Batman TV spinoffs in development, about Arkham Asylum and the Gotham City Police department. All three shows were reportedly still in development in late October 2022, shortly after Warner Bros. announced James Gunn’s involvement in redirecting the DC Films subdivision.
Robert Pattinson is confirmed to return in The Batman – Part II, with Matt Reeves in the director’s chair again. There is no firm information on who else from the cast would return (although the actors of key characters, like Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, and Andy Serkis are almost certainly on contract for sequels), and only speculation on who the villain would be, as Pattinson and Reeves have been perfectly happy to chat to reporters about their favorite Batman villains.
So there will be two Batman franchises??
It sounds like... yeah. Brave and the Bold will represent the core direction for Batman in the film DC Universe, while The Batman and its sequels and spinoffs will be classified as a “DC Elseworlds” story, a tried and true designation from the pages of DC Comics itself.
Back in the late 1980s, when DC Comics did its own franchise-wide reboot that flattened all the parallel settings of the DCU into a single setting, any story that featured DC Comics characters but was impossible to square with that timeline was labeled an “Elseworlds” story. For example, the very first Elseworlds story, Gotham by Gaslight, was a reimagining of Batman as a Victorian-era hero on the hunt for Jack the Ripper.
The new DC Films slate is borrowing Elseworlds in much the same situation — a rebirth of priorities that still leaves space imagine the different ways a superhero’s story can be told. The “DC Elseworlds” slate will include The Batman Part II, Joker: Folie à Deux, the current animated series Teen Titans Go!, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ long-gestating Superman movie. And that’s a healthy swathe of alternate universe drama for all kinds of fans.