Why The Batman’s New October 2021 Release Date Might Be Perfect
When Matt Reeves’ The Batman began filming this past January 28 in London, we were living in a different world. Reeves’ reboot, starring Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader, was slated for a June 25, 2021 release date. The timing was in keeping with all three of Christopher Nolan’s films in his Dark Knight trilogy, which took advantage of the summer blockbuster season to great effect. Batman Begins bowed on June 15, 2005, The Dark Knight on July 18, 2008, and The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012. While no superhero franchise seems better suited for the damp and darkness than Batman, the summer has been very good to DC and Warner Bros.’s most iconic character (no offense, Superman).
Then the spread of COVID-19 shuttered the production (along with just about every other film and TV series that was filming), and the world changed. Only about 25% of the film had been shot by then, and Reeves and his talented cast and crew went home. Since then, Warner Bros. made the decision to move the release date to October 1, 2021, giving The Batman team an extra four months to finish the film.
The delayed release date makes sense on multiple levels for Warner Bros. Sure, in a perfect world, they’d have released the reboot to their most beloved superhero franchise in that sweet summer blockbuster spot. A perfect world this is not, and the extra time means that the cast and crew won’t be rushed—provided they can return to production in the near-ish future—to make a release date that was based on an entertainment world not frozen in place by a global pandemic. Then there’s a more interesting reason why October 1 might actually be a perfect time to release The Batman; it’s proximity to Halloween.
As Screenrant‘s Chrishuan Baker points out, everything we’ve heard thus far about Reeves’ vision for The Batman, as well as the writer/director’s own words, have revolved around the fact that this film would be closer to a noir detective story than your typical superhero blockbuster. Baker writes that the film likely takes at least a little inspiration from the Batman comic book storyline “The Long Halloween,” written by Jeph Loeb and Time Sale. “The Long Halloween” sees Batman, in full sleuthing mode, trying to crack a case in which a serial killer is on the loose in Gotham, beginning his spree on Halloween night and continuing his dasterdly deeds throughout various holidays for the entire year.
Now keep in mind that Reeves’ The Batman is not an adaptation of this storyline. He’s got a full rogue’s gallery of villains to play with—Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, and Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot (better known as the Penguin). On his side, there’s Andy Serkis as Alfred, and Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon. Let’s not also forget Peter Sarsgaard in the mysterious, potentially new role as Gil Colson. Yet even if all Reeves’ is lifting from “The Long Halloween” is Batman in detective mode trying to stop a serial killer, that is more then enough to suggest that October is actually the preferable release date for the film.
Whatever the specific storyline of The Batman ultimately turns out to be, everything we’ve actually seen of the film further suggests October is the perfect month for the release. Think about the screen test of Pattison as Batman that Reeves revealed, set to a snippet of Michael Giacchino’s score. This Batman does not feel like he should be kicking off the start of summer—no, here’s a man that screams Hallow’s Eve.
Then there’s the reveal of the Batmobile. Utterly different from the tank-like creation we got to know in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, this new vehicle, and the moody, red-tinged lighting, further fits our most ghoulish month. And it’s not for nothing that the last time we visited Gotham, the film was released in October and did pretty well for itself. Todd Phillips’ Joker not only made box office records, but Joaquin Phoenix also nabbed an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as Batman’s most iconic villain. (Bruce Wayne’s dad Thomas was a fairly crucial part of the plot, too.)
So fear not, Bat-heads. While we have to wait a while longer to see The Batman, it’s a small price to pay considering the real-life sacrifices being made every day by regular people doing their essential work to keep us fed, safe, and healthy. And what better month to welcome Batman back into our lives than October, a month that rejoices in all things dark and delightful, and that most gleefully surreal of holidays when things go bump in the night.
Featured image: An image from writer/director Matt Reeves ‘The Batman.’ Courtesy Reeves/Warner Bros.