Warner Bros. is in the final stages of preparation for its first DC Extended Universe movie of 2022 in Matt Reeves' The Batman. Starring Robert Pattinson as the franchise's second of three unique Caped Crusaders, this new movie will be the first chance for fans to explore Gotham City in a Batman solo movie. With nearly a handful of major villains in front of Bruce Wayne, he'll be in for the fight of a lifetime.
With The Batman's debut just over the horizon, the film's promotional tour is moving faster than ever to make sure fans are ready for the action. This comes with the first full look at the Riddler's face and a potential sign of the movie's inclusion of the Joker, all while plans are already in place for Reeves and company to expand the story in a sequel.
The Dark Knight's latest solo adventure becomes the 11th movie in the DCEU (not including Zack Snyder's Justice League) and adds another chapter to the extensive history of DC movies on the big screen.
Now, in a major move from Warner Bros., the company is utilizing more than four decades of DC cinematic history to help with the newcomer's promotional tour.
27 Past DC Movies Promoting 2022's The Batman
Discovered by Reddit user u/BatmanNewsChris, Warner Bros. used its catalog of DC movies on the Movies Anywhere website to promote The Batman, coming to theaters on March 4, 2022. Specifically, the company updated the poster art for 27 DC films released between 1978 and 2021 with a red background, the Bat symbol from The Batman in the left corner, and even the font used in The Batman's title card.
The late Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie kicks off the list, having premiered in 1978. This OG film starred Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent, Marlon Brando as Jor-El, and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor.
Reeve followed up his original effort with Superman II in 1980, which had Richard Lester taking over directorial duties from Richard Donner. Along with the original trio of stars, Terrence Stamp made his own impact as the classic Superman villain General Zod.
1983 marked the arrival of Superman III as Reeve, Stamp, and Hackman returned to their roles, with Lester directing a second time. Legendary comedian Richard Pryor joined this all-star cast as August Gorman.
Sidney J. Furie directed 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which would be Reeve's final time playing the Man of Steel. Hackman returned for a fourth appearance as Lex Luthor in a cast that also included a young Jon Cryer as Luthor's nephew, Lenny.
1989 introduced fans to Michael Keaton's Bruce Wayne for the first time in Batman, directed by Tim Burton. Jack Nicholson became the second actor to play the Joker in live-action, while Billy Dee Williams portrayed Harvey Dent after his time as Lando Calrissian in Episode V and Episode VI of Star Wars.
Keaton returned as the Caped Crusader in 1992 for Batman Returns, which also featured Burton as the director for the second time. Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfieffer would bring the Penguin and Catwoman to life respectively for the first time as Bruce Wayne's primary adversaries.
Val Kilmer took over the Batman role for 1995's Batman Forever under the direction of the late Joel Schumacher. Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey fought Batman on-screen as Two-Face and the Riddler, all while fighting each other off-camera, and Nicole Kidman took her first of two DC roles as Chase Meridian.
Batman & Robin made all kinds of headlines in 1997 while starring Hollywood icon George Clooney under the cape and cowl, with Schumacher directing a second time. Action legend Arnold Schwarzenegger embodied Mr. Freeze as Chris O'Donnell took on round two of playing the Boy Wonder, Robin; Uma Thurman also delivered a live-action Poison Ivy.
After the turn of the century, Halle Berry starred in what would become a career disappointment in 2004's Catwoman. The film also featured Doctor Stange's Benjamin Bratt and '90s star Sharon Stone.
Keanu Reeves delivered something of a cult classic with 2005's Constantine, one of DC's more mysterious heroes. Reeves appeared alongside Shia Labeouf and three future MCU stars in Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy), Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange), and Rachel Weisz (Black Widow).
V For Vendetta comes in as a slightly unexpected DC property after making its theatrical debut in 2005. Future MCU stars Natalie Portman (Thor) and Hugo Weaving (Captain America: The First Avenger) starred as Evey Hammond and the titular "V," respectively.
After nearly two decades off the big screen, X-Men director Bryan Singer teamed up with Brandon Routh to deliver Superman Returns in 2006. Kevin Spacey faced off against Routh as the new Lex Luthor in an outing that also starred X-Men's James Marsden as Richard White, nephew of Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White.
Director Zack Snyder took his first crack at a DC property in 2009 with the polarizing movie Watchmen. The cast included multiple actors who would later appear in the DCEU, most prominently including Patrick Wilson (Aquaman).
2011's Green Lantern has found a way to remain relevant more than a decade after its release, although the best thing to come out of it was the relationship between co-stars Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. Also featuring Shazam!'s Mark Strong and Black Panther's Angela Basset, this movie has become the butt of various jokes in both of Reynolds' Deadpool movies.
The DC Extended Universe kicked off with 2013's Man of Steel as Henry Cavill donned the red and blue suit under Zack Snyder's direction. Academy Award-winner Amy Adams would portray Lois Lane alongside a cast that featured Michael Shannon (Zod), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), and future MCU actor Laurence Fishburne (Perry White).
Snyder and Cavill teamed up once again in 2016 for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which introduced Ben Affleck's portrayal of Batman. Jesse Eisenberg brought the DCEU's Lex Luthor to life while Gal Gadot played Wonder Woman for the first time; the rest of the Justice League all made short cameos as well.
Cavill, Affleck, and Gadot shone once again in the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman, which was released in June 2016, three months after the original movie. Adding half an hour of footage to the film's original 152-minute runtime, this version of the film helped fill in a few of the plot holes fans thought existed in Snyder's first attempt at the team-up film.
2016 also featured David Ayer's work on Suicide Squad, the DCEU's third movie and the first to feature a team of villains as its protagonists. Will Smith and Margot Robbie led the way as Deadshot and Harley Quinn, leading a team in pursuit of Jared Leto's Joker.
Suicide Squad got its own extended cut in the same manner as Batman v Superman, although it only added 11 minutes of additional footage. That footage included more material with Batman and didn't use as many classically fun and peppy pop songs.
Arguably the DCEU's best movie arrived in 2017 with Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. Earning the best Rotten Tomatoes rating of any DCEU film to date, Gadot shined as the Amazonian warrior alongside Chris Pine, Robin Wright, and Davis Thewlis.
Warner Bros brought three of its first four DCEU movies together in preparation for 2017's Justice League, directed by Joss Whedon after he took over for Zack Snyder. Cavill, Affleck, and Gadot led the way as DC's Holy Trinity next to Ezra Miller's Flash, Jason Momoa's Aquaman, and Ray Fisher's Cyborg.
Momoa moved on to his own solo movie in 2018's Aquaman, which currently ranks as the DCEU's only movie with a $1 billion revenue at the global box office. This movie also featured Amber Heard as Mera alongside Star Wars' Temeura Morrison, Spider-Man: No Way Home's Willem Dafoe, and Batman Forever's Nicole Kidman.
Another highly-acclaimed DCEU movie came with 2018's Shazam! as Zachary Levi moved from Marvel's Thor franchise to the world of DC. Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer stole the show as Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman, while Mark Strong and Djimon Hounsou each took on their second superhero movie role.
Warner Bros. and DC earned more critical acclaim than ever before with Todd Phillips' Joker in 2019, which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won two of them. Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix led the charge as Arthur Fleck alongside fellow Oscar-winner Robert De Niro and Deadpool 2 star Zazie Beets in the widely-popular psychological thriller.
Margot Robbie had the chance to give Harley Quinn her own solo movie in Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (the shorter of numerous unique titles). Star Wars' Ewan McGregor portrayed the film's villain, Black Mask, alongside other stars such as Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rosie Perez.
Gal Gadot returned for her second solo movie and fourth DCEU appearance overall in 2020's Wonder Woman 1984, pushing her character 70 years after her time in Wonder Woman. Chris Pine reprised his role as Steve Trevor as Diana Prince went up against Kirsten Wiig's Cheetah and The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord.
Director James Gunn took his expertise from the MCU to the DCEU with his reboot/sequel The Suicide Squad in 2021. Bringing together nearly two dozen major stars, including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and John Cena as Peacemaker, Gunn got to unleash full mayhem in this bloody R-rated romp.
DC History Comes Alive for The Batman
DC is certainly promoting an incredible cache of movies that have captivated fans in theaters and at home for 44 years. The entire DCEU is represented thanks to its financial and critical success in the last decade, as are the earliest examples of DC's excellence in filmmaking.
However, even with more than two dozen entries getting new posters ahead of The Batman, there are a couple of notable exceptions that stick out when looking back at DC's history.
Most recently, fans flocked to HBO Max for Zack Snyder's Justice League, which doesn't appear on this list, even though two other extended versions of DCEU movies do make the cut. Also not included is Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, which remains one of the most successful superhero franchises of all time behind Christian Bale's performance as the Caped Crusader.
The Dark Knight trilogy's omission is particularly notable since every other Batman star since the 1980s found their movies getting new posters, Bale being the only one to miss out.
Whatever the reasoning behind these exclusions, The Batman has plenty of new visuals to help push its promotional tour forward as the latest addition to the DCEU. Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves will get to add their names to the company's impressive legacy as Pattinson joins a group of more than a dozen actors to play the Caped Crusader.
The Batman will release in theaters on March 4, 2022. All of the movies listed are available to stream on HBO Max.