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SYFY WIRE The Batman

The Batman will focus on Caped Crusader's early days on the job as Gotham City hero

By Josh Weiss
Batman Year One cover

Now that Robert Pattinson (High Life) has been cast as a younger Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves' The Batman, more details are beginning to emerge about his casting and the content of the movie itself. For example, we now have a rough idea of the film's plot thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, which writes that:

"[Bruce] is written as around 30 years old, and the story is neither another rehashing of his origin nor the tale of a seasoned crime fighter ruling Gotham City. He is Bruce Wayne, still trying to find his footing on his way to becoming the genius detective."

That description fits with what Reeves told the outlet earlier this year, stating that he wanted to dig deep into the character's noir sensibilities as well as his title as the world's greatest sleuth, both of which he felt haven't really been all that explored onscreen. And since the plot will be set during the vigilante's early days, there's a good chance it will draw on Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli.

Batman Year One cover

In terms of finding the right actor to replace Ben Affleck, Reeves and Warner Bros. had narrowed the search down to Pattinson and Nicholas Hoult. Both actors had pre-negotiated deals in place, but it was Pattinson who won out after flying back to Los Angeles from Cannes to try on the Batsuit for the writer/director. This is a pre-requisite for all Bruce Wayne hopefuls, who must have the proper look while screen-testing in the iconic costume.

According to "insiders" familiar with the decision process on the movie, the choice to go with Pattinson was faster and more efficient than most searches done for a superhero blockbuster of this caliber.

“It was quick,” said a Warner Bros. insider. "Quicker than normal."

Robert Pattinson in Life

In addition, the fact that the Twilight alum, who's pursued more indie projects in recent years, hasn't appeared in any major studio comic book adaptations yet, made him a more desirable candidate (in terms of marketing and mixed IP signals) when compared to Hoult. 

The Tolkien actor has played Hank McCoy/Beast in four X-Men films from 20th Century Fox, which (recently purchased by Disney) had the movie rights to all the mutant characters as well as the Fantastic Four and Deadpool. Hoult's fourth X-Men entry, Dark Phoenix, opens in theaters this Friday, June 7.

The two were neck-in-neck during the week of May 20, which is when they were both subjected to the ultimate Batsuit test. Afterwards, Reeves and studio executives used the long Memorial Day weekend to think things over. Finally, a decision was made and Pattinson got the top job.

"[Reeves] wanted very specific things," said another WB insider. "He knew what he was looking for."

Production on The Batman is expected to commence in early 2020 before the film swoops into theaters everywhere June 25, 2021.