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SYFY WIRE The Batman

Matt Reeves says Gotham PD series on hold at HBO Max, teases Scarface-inspired 'Penguin' show

One of The Batman's HBO Max spinoffs is "on hold," according to creator Matt Reeves.

By Matthew Jackson

For the past couple of years, Warner Bros. has increasingly emphasized the potential synchronicity between its DC Comics-based superhero films and the HBO Max streaming service. It's how we wound up with Peacemaker, as well as still-developing shows like Green Lantern Corps and not one, but two spinoff ideas based on The Batman. But apparently, at least for now, we'll have to make do with just one. 

In a new episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcastThe Batman director Matt Reeves told host Josh Horowitz that the first announced spinoff from the film, a still officially untitled show focused on the Gotham City Police Department, is now "on hold" at the streaming service.

“One thing that we’re not doing that I was gonna do — so there’s the Gotham police show, which, that one actually is put on hold,” Reeves said. “We’re not really doing that.”

Reeves went on to explain some of the story ideas that went into the show, which was first announced back in the summer of 2020 in the lead-up to The Batman's original planned 2021 release. Apparently, the show would have explored more of the early days of Batman's crime-fighting career, through the eyes of one particular Gotham police officer, who wasn't necessarily a hero. 

“The series was going to be kind of like Prince of the City, where it was going to be year one,” Reeves said. “Because the movie is year two, and I wanted it to be the first appearance. But it wasn’t going to be a Batman story, it was going to be about this corrupt cop. And it was going to be about how the worst gang in Gotham were the GCPD. And [Bruce] was going to come across paths, he would have touched paths with Gordon who would have been — it would have been someone to measure him against. But it would be a battle for his soul.”

A series that would have helped set up some of the earliest meetings between Batman and Jim Gordon, and established the way in which Batman views Gordon as opposed to other members of the GCPD, sounds like a fascinating exploration of Gotham crime politics. Sadly, it seems Warner Bros. eventually wanted to step back from the idea, at least in its current form. 

“It’s super cool to me. And they didn’t not like the idea,” he explained. “They just wanted it to be, they wanted to center a show on a character who was more — I get it. And so I was like, OK. So maybe someday we’ll do that show.”

But of course, the GCPD series wasn't the only idea Reeves had up his sleeve after crafting The Batman's story. There's also potential for an Arkham Asylum-inspired spinoff, as well as an already developing Penguin series focused on the rise of Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell). Here's how Reeves described the meat of that show, which he said the studio was immediately "very excited" about:

"I thought that there was a story in the wake of what happens at the end of this story, where there's a power vacuum. And that's why, right now, you see Oz at the end of the movie looking out over the city, standing in Falcone's office, and thinking 'OK.' The idea there was that he has been underestimated by everyone, but he knows. So I said 'I kinda see like an American Dream, Scarface Gotham story. Like Tony Montana, no one thinks this guy can be anything, and he has a brutal desire to prove everyone wrong.'"

The Penguin series does not yet have a release date, but watching Farrell's conception of the budding kingpin as he takes center stage feels like something packed with potential. As for that GCPD series, perhaps Reeves and company will eventually find another way in, particularly now that The Batman has struck box office gold