When the world learned that Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves would be directing a new take on Gotham’s Dark Knight there was much excitement and positivity surrounding that decision. The Batman was highly praised and a box office success, during a period when it was difficult to do so.
We recently learned that Matt Reeves is planning an expanding world in addition to a sequel to The Batman and the previously announced Penguin series for HBO Max. It seems he is planning to expand Robert Pattinson’s Batman universe on a larger scale than previously thought.
Expanding Matt Reeves’ Batverse
The Batman has been an unbelievable success for Matt Reeves, as not only has it been a major critical and audience success, but it’s also the highest-grossing film at the box office for the director. Reeves’ idea of the Batverse was dark, gothic, and at times very neo-noir, which suited this incarnation of Batsy perfectly. Batman’s story here was very different from the ones we’ve seen in previous live-action films, as Robert Pattinson’s Batman is not at all interested in being Bruce Wayne, he just wants to be Batman and complete his plan to save Gotham.
We’ve also been introduced to many Batman-related villains, such as the Penguin, Riddler, and the Joker, but wouldn’t it be sad to only see them in the first film and then replaced in later films, never to be seen again? I definitely think it won’t be the last time, because as we saw in the film’s finale, all of Gotham has been flooded, and anarchy reigns on the streets.
So what could this mean for future sequels of The Batman, the Penguin series, and the great and illustrious future of Matt Reeves’ Batverse?
Matt Reeves’ Batverse should have films focus on villains
What’s most important about all of Batman’s comic book villains is that each of them is different in their own strange, creepy, and surprisingly interesting ways. Some of them are just ordinary crooks who have no superpowers that make them stand out aside from special guns or how delusional they are. It may not be surprising that Matt Reeves is developing films about Batman villains he wants to include in future films, wanting to integrate fans more into his Batverse, providing a deeper feel for the story arcs in The Batman sequels.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Matt Reeves is expanding his Batverse with both films and series, with three specific characters listed in the article. THR mentions Scarecrow, Clayface, and Professor Pyg, however, these projects are still early in development. Along with these three characters, I’ve added another three possible villains who may get a movie or series set in Matt Reeves’ Batverse. Since Penguin already has something in the works as a series for HBO Max, he won’t be on any of these lists.
Jonathan Crane aka Scarecrow
Jonathan Crane is undeniably one of the most terrifying villains in Batman’s gallery, not only because of his suit, which looks like a horror version of a scarecrow, but his fear toxin is one of the most substances Batman comes in contact with. You never know what form the toxin will take when it is injected into you and what you will see.
Scarecrow, while not super-powered, is one of Batman’s most formidable adversaries. As we saw in the Batman: Arkham Knight game or the Gotham series, he is one of the Dark Knight’s main and most significant enemies.
Batman always had trouble defeating the Scarecrow before developing an antidote to his toxins. In a Scarecrow movie, we could see his past, where his father experimented on him so that he would never need to be afraid again, or when he fell into psychosis because of one of his experiments.
Professor Pyg is a strange villain because he is a detached sociopath who wears the mask of a pig. His M.O. is to attack people, operate on them, and make them into animal-human puppets ready to make humans perfect again and save them from extinction.
A Professor Pyg film can be such an important part of Matt Reeves’ Batverse, because it’s unexpected and a total wild card. If it’s something like Moon Knight, a series about Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac), who is a superhero who has Dissociative Identity Disorder, that way we can have an important film for both the Batverse and the real world.
Of this entire list of three villains mentioned in The Hollywood Reporter article, Clayface is the most interesting to me. For most of his time in the comics, he was an actor with gigantic ambitions who wanted to appear in big productions and gain popularity. But when he hit one of the directors, he was fired and banned, so he became Clayface to impersonate other people.
Gaining shapeshifting abilities he then uses them in villainous ways. Eventually, he becomes a hero in the DC Rebirth comic book reboot, which came as quite a shock.
Perhaps Clayface won’t be a villain in The Batman films, but instead, an unexpected hero who will come and save Batman at some point. The use of a worldly villain may be there to confuse us, while the film will show us Basil Karlo as an actor who desperately wants to prove that he can be a hero.
Victor Fries aka Mr. Freeze
This is one of the fan-favorite characters that I hope appears during Robert Pattinson’s time as Batman. Mr. Freeze was an iconic villain in Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin as well as in the TV series Gotham.
Victor Fries is an ordinary scientist who becomes frozen because of his experiments but instead of dying, unexpectedly lives and is able to have a normal life again. Freeze wants nothing more than to save his wife from the terrible disease that is killing her, so he puts her in a freezing tube while looking for a cure.
Flooded Gotham could easily get separated into different districts with villains like Penguin, Freeze, and others in charge of different ones. That way Mr. Freeze can have one district to himself, some kind of “frosty land.”
Although Mr. Freeze is more popular in DC’s animated comic book adaptations, I’m sure that one day he will return to live-action again. Perhaps that day is closer than we think.
Christian vigilante and assassin created by the Order of St. Dumas seeking to restore justice to Gotham City through religious extremism – that’s how we can easily describe the character of Azrael. There were two people in the DC universe who were called that, and both wanted to take Batman’s place. Manipulated and brainwashed by their order, they tried to challenge Batman to see how good he is.
Many DC fans may recognize Azrael from Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight games. There, Azrael was a side character whose goal was to test Batman and eventually try to kill him and take his place or spare him and hunt down his Order. This could be a very good prequel story to The Batman 2 or 3, where Batman has to prevent mass crime in Gotham, and Azrael is some kind of double agent who helps him, only to end up betraying him.
Harvey Dent aka Two-Face
One of Batman’s most classic villains is Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face. Once a heroic and courageous lawyer who locks up criminals, Dent became of the biggest crime bosses in Gotham. Two-Face chooses either to spare someone or kill them with just by the toss of his coin. Nevertheless, Dent is one of the most tragic villains in the entire DC universe, not only because of what happened to him and his mental state but because of his future.
In The Dark Knight Returns, Harvey Dent has plastic surgery to repair his face and make him look normal again. The surgery was successful, but unfortunately, his brain never processed the change. Instead of seeing himself as two different people, one still human and the other destroyed, he saw himself as a monster whose face only represents his bad side.
A psychological film or series about Two-Face would be something very surprising, If they ever decide to do it, I think it would look something like Todd Phillips’ Joker with Joaquin Phoenix. Being a part of Reeves’ Batverse, Two-Face could establish the new forces trying to tear Gotham apart from the inside, however, he’d be hesitant about his actions until his coin decides what to do.
Matt Reeves’ future The Batman cinematic universe
All we know is that Matt Reeves is producing more projects set in his Batverse, with some of them believed to focus on Scarecrow, Professor Pyg, and Clayface. While the initial THR report indicated these projects are films, I wouldn’t be surprised if they turn into a series. Admittedly, it seems like anything is possible with the news that James Gunn and Peter Safran are Co-CEOing the film, television, and animated division of DC. Matt Reeves has proven his film to be very good, and the Penguin series is worth spending money on, so investment in the Batverse seems like a no-brainer.
What do you think about the idea of creating more films focused on Batman villains? What do you think, will they be worth watching, or will they just serve as unnecessary prequels? What are your fan casts for some of these villains? Let us know on The Cosmic Circus Discord or on Twitter.