DC Producer Regretful Over How HBO Max's Batman Gotham Spin-off Turned Out

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Batman, HBO Max, Gotham

Recent news confirmed that the Gotham PD series spinning off from The Batman on HBO Max was canceled, leaving more than one DC producer disappointed with the outcome.

While The Batman has been one of Warner Bros Discovery's (WBD) more successful stories of the year, its follow-up outings haven't fared as well in the months since. This includes the Gotham PD series, which was set to provide a more procedural insight into Batman's home city than any DC series that had come before it.

Director Matt Reeves recently took the time to share what DC fans would have seen in that series, explaining that it would have shown the corruption within the Gotham Police Department during Bruce Wayne's first year as the Caped Crusader. But now, the show has suffered the same fate as many others under WBD's watch as the company looks to retool its future for the entire DC universe.

Now, one of the series' producers has opened up about his own experience, expressing his own disappointment with how the Gotham PD story ended.

Gotham PD Producer Shares Regret Over Cancelation

Gotham HBO Max

Speaking with Variety, producer Joe Barton opened up about his experience working on the Gotham PD series that was recently canceled by Warner Bros. Discovery.

Comparing it to the Batgirl film that was also canceled by WBD, Barton noted that it felt "pretty chaotic" working on the series while the merger between Warner and Discovery was fully going through. But his biggest regret with the experience is simply knowing that he and his team "would have made a great show" if it had been able to happen:

Variety: "You were working on a Gotham Police Department series, which was sadly scrapped. Seeing what they did with the “Batgirl” film, is there any part of you that’s glad you didn’t have to deal with the chaos that seems to be going on over at Warner and DC?"

Barton: Like was it a bullet dodged? I don’t know. I really don’t know. It’s difficult. I mean, it does seem pretty chaotic. But then it was pretty chaotic when I was doing my thing there so in a way, I didn’t get to avoid the chaos. I think we were slightly the first wave of that chaos. I think the [Discovery merger] happened about halfway through the process, which had already been really, really rocky. I think it would have been really great and that’s kind of why I feel gutted about it, just because I know we would have made a great show. And so that’ll always be for me a regret, because I just think it would have been really super cool. But it just wasn’t to be.

But it isn't all bad for Barton, who understands that the series would have been immensely challenging to make and would have brought him plenty of stress. And while he "will always regret the show that they could have made," he feels he may live longer without having taken that challenge on:

"And I do think probably the process of making it would have been challenging. If the development of it is anything to go by, the actual fucking making of it, I think would have been – yeah, fucking intense probably. So in that respect, I’m kind of glad. It was definitely stressful. It was a really stressful period and I was working on it for a year, but I was doing it at the same time as this [“The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself”], “The Lazarus Project” and a few others bits. It was slightly mad. But yeah, I guess I will always regret the show that we could have made, but I think I’ll probably live longer without the stress it would have caused."

Barton also spoke with Telegraph about Gotham PD, revealing that he was fired from the project only two months after being told he had delivered a great script all while marketing was pushing forward for The Batman:

“I gave the script over in November and HBO called to say they loved it and they were really excited. And then in January my agent called to say I’d been fired. If you’re going to get fired from a massive franchise, don’t do it two months before the film comes out. I saw Batman everywhere.”

Using some choice language, he even reminisced on having to find shelter from rain "underneath a f—ing Batman poster" at one point, comparing it to "being haunted by Fathers 4 Justice."

When the project was first canceled in March, Barton took to Twitter to reiterate his disappointment with the news, expressing how he hopes Matt Reeves gets to make the project someday:

"Guess if you post your wins you should also post your losses. Sadly adding this to the ‘ones that got away’ column. It really would have been something special. Hope Matt gets to make it one day."

DC Producer’s Mixed Feelings on Gotham PD

While Gotham PD would have been one of the more unique superhero projects in recent memory, it didn’t get the chance to shine under WBD’s new leadership. The team’s strategy for the TV side is unclear, even with Peacemaker getting a second season, but it’s clear that nothing is exactly safe with the new regime as the rebrand progresses.

Even though Barton is relieved at not having to deal with the stress of making the show, he’s still disappointed with the fact that it never got a chance to show how good it could have been. Particularly after The Batman became one of the highest-grossing movies of 2022, it appeared that there would be a market for more stories to evolve out of it.

For now, that status is limited to Colin Farrell’s Penguin spin-off, although only time will tell what HBO Max and WBD will actually do when they continue with other DCU entries.

The Batman is now streaming on HBO Max.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.