After over a month on the job, DC Studios CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran are hard at work on mapping out the next evolution of the franchise. As part of this decade-long plan, the dynamic duo will reportedly be bringing together an all-new Justice League following reports that the team may be cast under the new regime.
Perhaps the toughest role to fill on that roster is Batman, who already has several incarnations currently. Ben Affleck retains the role in the DCEU, but that is expected to be filled by Michael Keaton after The Flash - meanwhile, Robert Pattinson's take still exists in his own universe.
Currently, The Batman director Matt Reeves is building out that world with a sequel in the works and multiple villain spin-offs on the way. But so far, there has been no sign of any other heroes existing in that world, although that may not be the case for long.
DCEU Might Get a Familiar New Batman
According to Variety, one of its sources indicated DC Studios CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran are considering bringing Robert Pattinson's Batman into the wider universe.
The news paints a bleak future for Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton's Batman, with both now potentially out going forward in favor of furthering Pattinson's role.
Gunn and Safran will present their vision for the next decade of DC storytelling that will span four mediums to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav at some point in the week beginning December 12.
The slate is not expected to begin on-screen until 2024 at the earliest, following the release of the four remaining projects that were greenlit and produced under the old leadership of Walter Hamada.
UPDATE: Gunn has responded to this report in a recent tweet, praising the reporter behind the scoop but calling the news "entirely untrue:"
"There are few reporters I love more than @adambvary - truly a good guy - but in this case, he needs to get a new source as this is entirely untrue."
Why Robert Pattinson Needs To Lead the New Justice League
Many fans, particularly those still dedicated to continuing the SnyderVerse, will be disappointed to see Ben Affleck go. But unfortunately, his Batman comes with all the baggage of a sloppy and incohesive universe - and beyond that, Affleck doesn't seem awfully interested in continuing that role in any major way.
The Flash was expected to resolve that problem as Multiversal shenanigans created a new world where Michael Keaton becomes the new caped crusader and returns in Batgirl - all while leaving Affleck and the original Justice League out there for a future Crisis on Infinite Earths event that would see that cast return.
But that plan was all created under the old DC leadership of Walter Hamada, and clearly, Gunn and Safran agree that was incredibly flawed as a Keaton-led Batman movie has since been canceled. With Keaton now in his seventies, the actor does not represent the kind of Batman that most fans want to see lead the DC world.
This is where Pattinson's Batman enters the picture as the perfect solution to that problem, as he marks the ideal hero to lead the new Justice League. Not only is his Batman early into his career and only has one film worth of story to work around, but he is also young, committed to the role, and landed well with fans.
Not to mention, DC can avoid needing any Multiverse-shifting events to reboot the franchise, and instead just build off the world Matt Reeves created in The Batman. More Justice League heroes could gradually be introduced into that world, with some played by existing DCEU stars and others recast altogether.
Some may cite the dark and realistic tone of The Batman as a reason why the likes of Superman can't exist in that world. However, Batman: The Animated Series previously took a similar take in the '90s and was eventually incorporated into the same world as Justice League, with no detriment to the original series.
Not to mention, 2008's Iron Man didn't exactly give off the immediate impression that it would expand into the massive world of the MCU filled with aliens, super-powers, time travel, and Multiversal threats over the years that followed.
How The Batman's DC Expansion Could Impact Matt Reeves' Plans
Perhaps the greatest concerns surrounding incorporating Robert Pattinson's Batman into a greater Justice League universe come from the impact it could have on Matt Reeves' Gotham plans. However, the success of The Batman likely means that those sequels and spin-offs will be safe no matter what happens.
James Gunn has already revealed that Reeves was "one of [his] first phone calls after the announcement" that he would be taking on the role of DC Studios CEO. So clearly he is eager to work with the director to continue his vision, perhaps while incorporating that into his own larger storytelling plans.
Currently, Reeves is reportedly working on The Batman 2, The Penguin, an untitled Arkham Asylum HBO Max series, as well as three villain movies starring Professor Pyg, Clayface, and Scarecrow. If he remains free to continue those plans, he will probably be more than happy to play in this broader DCU.
That's not to say that Gunn, Safran, and Zaslav won't eventually decide to pull the reins on Reeves, as all these villain spin-offs may eventually be seen as excessive, depending of course on how the early ones perform. But for now, The Penguin still seems to be pushing ahead, a positive sign.
If Pattinson's Batman were to be incorporated into the new DCU, that could lead to Reeves taking on a bigger role in building out that world. Perhaps he could even take on directing duties on the next Justice League movie, whenever that comes to pass, a task he would certainly excel at.
The Batman is streaming now on HBO Max.