After numerous delays and production hold-ups, The Batman is set to hit theaters in 2022. Aside from the 2017 animated feature The Lego Batman Movie, this is the first live-action solo Batman film since The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. The Caped Crusader returns to the spotlight in his own Gotham City adventure marked by some classic villains and anti-heroes. But does this new film take place within the DCEU?
Robert Pattinson stars as Bruce Wayne/Batman, the nocturnal protector of Gotham City. In his second year of crimefighting, Batman takes on the Riddler (Paul Dano), a serial killer who leaves behind cryptic riddles as he targets the wealthy elite of Gotham. As Batman digs deeper into the horrifying truth behind the murders, he is forced to ally with Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz) to bring justice to the evil and corrupt.
Does this new story have anything to do with the DC Extended Universe of films?
Is 'The Batman' part of the DCEU?
Since 2016, Batman has been portrayed by Ben Affleck as part of the DC Extended Universe, a film franchise that originally sought to create its own sprawling cinematic narrative across different movies. While the franchise will continue into 2022 with films like Black Adam and The Flash, critical response has fluctuated over the years. The first few films have been heavily criticized for their stark tonal shifts and overstuffed narratives.
In recent years, the franchise found critical and commercial success with solo films like Wonder Woman in 2016, Shazam! in 2019, and The Suicide Squad in 2021. That being said, that hasn't stopped certain DC films from distancing themselves from the DCEU narrative entirely. For example, 2019's Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix was DC's first instance of de-emphasizing the shared universe narrative of the DCEU by telling its own standalone story.
So where does that leave The Batman? If its deceptively-modern setting is any indication, it looks like another standalone film separate from the events of the DCEU. The upcoming film takes place during Batman's second year of crimefighting. The film is also set in modern-day, signified by the use of smartphones throughout the trailers.
Meanwhile, Batman in the DCEU has been protecting Gotham for decades by the time we meet him. In Batman v. Superman and Justice League, the character has been depicted as old and experienced within the modern era. With these mismatched timelines, it's safe to assume that The Batman is another film that stands on its own within the larger DC pantheon.
The film will reportedly kick off its own continuity as well. In September 2021, it was confirmed that HBO Max is developing a series based on the Penguin — one of Batman's villains — set in the same universe as The Batman. The show will star Colin Farrell as the titular villain.
The Batman will be released exclusively in theaters on Mar. 4, 2022. The film will stream on HBO Max on Apr. 19.