The Batman continues to be the DC Comics movie that changes every few months. Initially, the film was to be part of the DC Extended Universe. DCEU Batman Ben Affleck was to star and direct. A screenplay featuring Deathstroke the Terminator as the top villain reached final draft stages. Supposedly, The Joker and The Scarecrow had roles in the Dark Knight solo outing. After the disastrous back-to-back failures of Batman v. Superman and Justice League, The Batman went back into development. The film quickly emerged sans Affleck. A new director, Matt Reeves, signed on and revealed the new feature wouldn’t be part of the DCEU. Affleck was out as director. He might be out as Batman. Now, rumors suggest Deathstroke the Terminator is gone as well. Reportedly, the Penguin will be the top villain in the new film.
Danny DeVito played the classic villain on the big screen in the Michael Keaton/Tim Burton feature Batman Returns. Although absent from the silver screen, the Penguin — aka Oswald Cobblepot — appears as a regular on the small screen. Robin Lord Taylor plays the younger version of the nemesis on Gotham.
To assume the Penguin completely replaces Deathstroke might be premature. Although details about The Batman are sparse, there will likely be two or three villains. The studios prefer to stack villains in superhero movies to add more fight scenes and conflict during the proceedings. Also, more villains mean more characters for revenue-generating tie-in merchandise. The drawback with too many villains is often a convoluted screenplay. With the right screenwriter, blending several villains into a screenplay might not prove to be a catastrophe. The extensive work on revamping The Batman’s screenplay will, hopefully, lead to a solid story.
Warner Bros. may not be through with the screenplay for The Batman. One reason The Batman departed DCEU continuity was, not surprisingly, due to the downward trajectory of the box office. Aquaman just crossed the $1 billion market globally and changed things. Wonder Woman 1984 should be a big hit. Shazam! remains a question mark though. Shazam! hits screens in a few months. If the comedic film is a hit, The Batman may come back to the DCEU. Or, maybe it won’t. Warner Bros. and Matt Reeves aren’t talking much about The Batman.