Skip to main content

The Batman and Its Expanded Universe Landing on HBO Max Soon

Colin Farrell’s turn as a tough-talking Penguin in The Batman, wasn’t all acting. Turns out he was playfully miffed at being barred from arming the character with his typical cigar and umbrella.

“I fought valiantly for a cigar. At one stage I said, ‘I can have it unlit!’ They were like, ‘No,’” Farrell said in an interview.

The Riddler's signature question mark drawn into a cup of coffee in 'The Batman' film.
Warner Bros./YouTube

Looks like Farrell is going to have to be non-smoker at least for a couple of his new shoots. Matt Reeves, director of The Batman featuring Robert Pattinson as the titular superhero, confirmed in February that the film will expand into its own universe, beginning with Penguin and Arkham Asylum spinoff shows in the works. This series will chronicle Oswald Cobblepots’ “rise to power,” starring Farrell as the gangster who remained a low-level crook (though not without heinous potential) in the March release.

“I saw there being this kind of ‘American dream in Gotham’ sort of story, almost like Scarface; the rise of this character who we all know will achieve mythic status,” Reeves said in a spoiler chat.

This was a vision that Reeves didn’t think he’d have the chance to come to fruition. Initially, Ben Affleck was set to direct and star in his own Batman movie after donning the cape and cowl in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. But in 2017, the filmmaker ceded the director’s chair. This was the first step toward Reeves’ vision, as Reeves relayed to Esquire earlier this year.

“I read a script that they had that was a totally valid take on the movie,” Reeves said. “It was very action driven. It was very deeply connected to the DCEU, with other major characters from other movies and other comics popping up. I just knew that when I read it, this particular script was not the way I’d want to do it.”

Now separate from Affleck’s Caped Crusader, the Reeves-verse will roll out the Gotham quilt via HBO Max shows fleshing out main and off-shoot characters.

According to Reeves, the Gotham expose is a prequel, occurring during Batman’s first year of sporting the costume. In a statement, Warner Bros. said that the developing series will “build upon the film’s examination of the anatomy of corruption in Gotham City.” Developing is a key note here because the original idea was to follow the Gotham police department. In a March interview with The Cyber Nerds, however, Reeves revealed that the series will spend just as much time on Gotham’s bad guys.

“That story has story has kind of evolved,” Reeves said. “We’ve actually now [moved] more into the realm of exactly what would happen in the world of Arkham as it relates coming off of our movie. It’s like a horror movie or a haunted house that is Arkham.”

No word yet on whether this rot will result in more severed thumbs rather than thumbs ups, but considering it exists in the spirit of Reeves’ Bat, the answer is likely yes. Also in the works, the director takes a turn as executive producer for the animated Batman: Caped Crusader, a generational bridge from the 1990s The Batman: The Animated Series.

With The Batman now slated to stream on HBO Max on April 19, and The Batman 2 confirmed for late 2023 or 2024, there’s plenty dark new galaxy for Reeves to flesh out. Considering he referred to multiple characters getting shows and The Batman sequel likely featuring Paul Dano’s The Riddler, there’s still plenty of options like Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman, a view from Alfred’s butler post (with a game Andy Serkis), or any number of twisting alleys in Gotham’s noir setting.

Editors' Recommendations

Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
Is ‘Family Guy’ on Disney Plus in 2023?
Get the scoop on streaming 'Family Guy'
The Disney Plus sign-up menu is displayed

Whether you can watch Family Guy online via Disney Plus depends on what part of the world you call home. Simply put, Family Guy is available on Disney Plus in some areas, but not all. Why? Well, not all streaming services possess the rights to the popular animated comedy, but that's all changing as we speak.

In short, Family Guy is only available on Disney Plus if you live in one of the countries where Star is included in your Disney Plus subscription. That means countries like the U.K., Australia, and Canada have Family Guy on Disney Plus, but the U.S. misses out.

Read more
The 10 best Timothee Chalamet movies ever, ranked
He's definitely been in some incredible films
Timothee Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name.


During a time when Hollywood has tried to grasp onto older stars like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise, other young men from a new generation have attempted to carve out their path to stardom and take the movie world by storm. In this regard, not many male actors working today have experienced the success of Timothée Chalamet. With a boyish grin and a sculpted jawline, Chalamet's raw charisma allows him to play characters in a variety of genres, from wounded teenagers in LGBTQ+ dramas to heroic protagonists in sci-fi flicks. Still under 30 years old, Chalamet's career is just getting started, but he already has a grand portfolio of award-winning performances. These are the 10 best Timothée Chalamet movies ever, ranked.

Read more
Ranked: The 11 best Tom Hanks movies ever
From a toy cowboy to Mr. Rogers, Tom Hanks has played it all. Here are our favorite performances
Tom Hanks in The Post

When it comes to beloved actors in Hollywood, there are several names that come to mind. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are legends of dramatic film. Jim Carrey is a comedy icon like no other. Still, when you take into account both funny and serious work, Tom Hanks is probably America's most relatable actor. Appearing in nearly 100 films since the 1980s, Hanks has lent his talents to directors like Stephen Spielberg and Ron Howard, earning himself multiple Academy Awards along the way.

It's always a good time to appreciate the greatness of Tom Hanks. We'll go over the 10 best performances of his career, a list that is both diverse and focused. Any cinema fan is sure to find something they can enjoy when they take a look at a list of the best Tom Hanks movies, and they can look forward to more as he continues to pursue new and interesting projects today in his mid-60s.

Read more