Just give it another year and a new Batman will dominate the big screen in director Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Principal photography for the movie, which stars Robert Pattinson as the new Dark Knight, just kicked off in London. But already a number of bystander photos, Instagram videos, and other social media posts are leaking some important details regarding the mysterious new DC movie.
Since Sunday, various set photos and videos of the London set of The Batman are surfacing on places like Reddit and Twitter. The photos appear to show a press conference in the middle of Gotham City. The actual context to the scene being shot is unknown, but surrounding the area are vehicles for Gotham Police, Gotham Water & Power, and two Gotham news stations.
Unfortunately, there are no photos or videos of Pattinson wearing his new Batman costume. Fans will have to wait a little while longer before catching a glimpse of what the new (old?) Dark Knight will look like in the DCEU.
Looking at these vehicles closely and two things emerge. First, we know the period setting of The Batman. The retro police vehicles and news vans with “HD” suggest The Batman takes place in the early to mid-2000s. Police funding for a crime-ridden town like Gotham is probably low, which means Gotham PD are riding old Crown Victorias, while news stations brag about “HD” broadcasts. When in the last ten years have any TV stations promoted HD?
A second detail is a fun Easter egg. One of the news vans on the London set is marked “Gotham Action News 4.” Besides being a reference to the Superman series Action Comics, “Gotham Action News” was also the midday news program in 1989’s Batman, directed by Tim Burton. Midway through the film, Jack Nicholson’s Joker strikes with his “Smylex” poison, killing news anchor Becky Narita (played by Kit Hollerbach).
In another collection of photos shared by Twitter user @WadeGrav, who tweeted that the film is shooting just outside their office, a mysterious figure with white hair and a walking cane can be seen. The internet is wondering if this is Colin Ferrell in the role of the Penguin, but the resolution makes it difficult to identify him. In November, Deadline reported that Ferrell was “in talks” to play the Penguin in The Batman.
With so much about The Batman kept in the dark, including even its plot, these details are revealing for a film shrouded in mystery. It has only been rumored that The Batman would be a period film, and that its setting would take place in the 1990s. The Batman isn’t the first recent superhero movie to go for a similar setting; last year’s Captain Marvel also took place in the 1990s, while Joaquin Phoenix film Joker took place in the early 1980s, imagining a Gotham City that looked like New York City in its grimier days in the late 20th century.
The Batman will release in theaters on June 25, 2021.