With about a month to go until the global fan event DC FanDome hits screens around the world, it looks like some DC Comics news might be coming early. Variety is reporting exclusively that HBO Max is developing a spinoff from Matt Reeves' Robert Pattinson-starring film The Batman that would focus on Colin Farrell's The Penguin. Farrell has reportedly been approached to star but no deal is currently in place. Lauren LeFranc (Impulse, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is reportedly attached to write the script for the project, which would focus on the supervillain's rise to power on Gotham. Reeves and film producer Dylan Clark would executive produce under their 6th & Idaho and Dylan Clark Productions banners, respectively; Warner Bros. Television would produce.
Reeves' Gotham Police Department-focused spinoff series tapped Giri/Haji creator Joe Barton (Humans, Extinction) to serve as showrunner earlier this year, replacing Terence Winter (The Sopranos, The Wolf of Wall Street). HBO Max parted ways with Winter after Winter's vision reportedly wasn't in line with what Reeves and the producers envisioned. Stemming from Reeves, Clark, and WBTV, the series is set in the cinematic universe that Reeves is creating with The Batman, further exploring the film's examination of the anatomy of corruption in Gotham City while also launching a new Batman universe across multiple platforms.
Reeves took some time out from promoting his big-screen adventure in August 2020 (before more production shutdowns, delays, and rescheduling) to do a bit more of a deep-dive into what a good chunk of all of that means. First, the series will be a prequel to the film, with the HBO Max project viewed as "Batman Year One" to the big screen's "Batman Year Two." Told from the perspective of a crooked cop, the series will examine Gotham's deep-seated history of corruption- one that "goes back many years" until a "masked vigilante…starts to unsettle the city." Reeves sees the series as defining the Gotham that viewers will be presented in The Batman, through the prism of a flawed yet possibly redeemable officer: "The story is actually a battle for his soul."
Reeves' 6th & Idaho production company will produce the series in association with Warner Bros. Television. Reeves and Winter (The Sopranos, The Wolf of Wall Street) will executive produce with Clark (Bird Box, Rise, Dawn, and War for Planet of the Apes). Based on characters created for DC by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, the series will also be executive produced by 6th & Idaho's Daniel Pipski (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series) and Adam Kassan (Tales from the Loop); Rafi Crohn (Tales from the Loop) will co-executive produce. Warner Bros. International Television Distribution will distribute the series globally.