The Batman that’s coming to theaters this March looks a lot different from The Batman that was first announced in 2015. The original plan was to have Oscar-winning multi-hyphenate Ben Affleck direct, produce, co-write and star in a movie set squarely in the DC Extended Universe. Seven years later, however, other endeavors have since grabbed Affleck’s attention, and a new roster of talent has shaped the final product—which stretches beyond the DCEU and into its own unique and moody world.
Below we dive into what—and who—makes the end result so special. Here is everything you need to know about The Batman.
Who replaced Affleck as director? Academy member Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes, Cloverfield) was hired as director, co-writer and producer, and he brings a different direction to the reboot. And when it comes to the world of Gotham, his involvement doesn’t stop there: Alongside J.J. Abrams, Reeves is also producing a new animated series called Batman: Caped Crusader.
What makes Reeves’ version of The Batman so different? Hoping for a more personal and psychological angle, Reeves chose to home in on Batman’s skills as a detective rather than as a superhero. He has called it "an almost-noir driven detective version of Batman," and cites a lot of Hitchcock films and ’70s thrillers like Klute, Chinatown and All the President’s Men as inspiration.
So who’s playing the Caped Crusader? After auditioning in the same suit Val Kilmer wore in Batman Forever, Academy member Robert Pattinson was chosen for the role. The actor's path since his breakout role in Twilight has been full of surprises: moody and daring performances in indie movies like Good Time, The Lighthouse and The Devil All the Time, as well as a central role in Christopher Nolan’s high-concept blockbuster Tenet. Looking back, that varied career feels like the perfect warm-up for Reeves’ vision of Batman.
Who else is in the cast? Big comic book characters call for big names, so we’ve got Colin Farrell as Penguin, Paul Dano as Riddler and Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman. (Kravitz was probably ready to go, after voicing the same character in The Lego Batman Movie.) Jeffrey Wright joins as Gotham City Police lieutenant Gordon, and Andy Serkis embodies Alfred, Batman’s trusty butler.
Who else worked on the movie? A few more Academy members make up the crew of The Batman, including Oscar-nominated cinematographer Greig Fraser (Lion, Dune), Oscar-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran, Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon (The Jungle Book, War for the Planet of the Apes) and Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino (Up, Spider-Man: No Way Home). Giacchino recently dropped an excerpt of the score’s main theme, and it’s epic. You can listen to it here.
When—and where—will we be able to watch it? The Batman will hit theaters on March 4, 2022, before making its way to HBO Max 45 days later. Whenever you see it, be sure to set aside a good chunk of time: The runtime clocks in at a whopping 175 minutes, which makes it one of the longest superhero movies ever.