Batman's Place in the New DCU Just got a Confusing Update
Matt Reeves’ Batverse is set to continue, but the director will play a role in James Gunn’s DC Universe too.
From the moment Matt Reeves unveiled his take on Batman, it was clear the writer-director had thought long and hard about the hero’s Gotham City home. In The Batman, Gotham was a character unto itself, a world ripe for exploration, and it wasn’t long before Warner Bros. approved a handful of spin-offs designed to flesh that world out. A Scarface-inspired series for Colin Farrell’s Penguin is due in 2024, and Reeves has reportedly been working on a show focusing on Gotham’s police department, along with its supervillain prison, Arkham Asylum.
Anticipation for each of these projects has been high, despite the Batverse’s precarious relationship with the new DC Universe. As James Gunn and Peter Safran launch their all-new DCU (complete with their own version of Batman), Robert Pattinson’s caped crusader has been relegated to his own universe, part of the “Elseworlds” label for standalone stories. The Batman was largely self-contained, so it makes sense for Reeves’ work to continue independently, even if having two Batmen in one loosely defined multiverse could confuse fans.
In a move that might make things even more confusing, Reeves apparently intends to share the wealth with the DCU. Not every series he develops will actually be a spin-off of his 2021 film; some will belong to Gunn’s DC Universe, beginning with Arkham.
There haven’t been many updates about the Batverse in recent months, but Gunn, ever active on social media, recently broke the silence. When asked whether Reeves was still producing the Batverse spin-offs, Gunn confirmed Reeves is hard at work within the Batverse and the DCU. “Right now Matt is producing Arkham as a DCU series,” Gunn said. Apparently, a Reeves-helmed DCU project was the plan from the very beginning: “It was one of the first pitches we bought when Peter [Safran] and I came on board,” Gunn elaborated. “I don’t know the permutations it went through before that time.”
In another post, Gunn teased some information about DC’s deal with Reeves. “We love Matt as a director and producer,” he said, “so he’ll be producing stories both within his The Batman universe and within the DCU.”
There’s no word on whether Reeves will help develop Gunn’s version of Batman for Andy Muschietti’s The Brave and the Bold; at the moment, it seems Reeves is only pitching in for the DCU’s take on Arkham Asylum. It’s an interesting arrangement, but does it make sense for a franchise that’s still trying to come together in a cohesive vision?
Most fans familiar with Reeves’ mysterious Arkham spin-off understandably assumed it would be part of his Batverse, so this update will blur the lines between his Gotham and the Gotham that will inevitably become a fixture in Gunn’s world of gods and monsters. The rules holding the new DCU in place are already weird enough, and it will be harder to keep the continuity straight if Gunn continues cherry-picking from the “old” DC universe. He and Peter Safran are taking big risks with their new franchise. It’s too early to tell if they’ll all pay off, but at least Batman will have new adventures either way.