This article contains spoilers for The Batman.
Out now in theaters, director Matt Reeves’ film The Batman introduces us to a brand new DC universe.
A bold take on the beloved superhero, Robert Pattinson suits up as a brooding Bruce Wayne during his second year of being Batman.
Whilst the movie works as a standalone story, it also builds a corrupt Gotham future projects can explore. Judging by box office numbers, a movie sequel feels inevitable, even if it hasn’t been officially announced yet, whilst two spin-off television series are already in the works.
There’s definitely more coming then, and plenty of teases as to what’s next, so join us as we look at what the future holds for The Batman.
“Riddle me this..” Although Paul Dano’s Riddler ends the film in Arkham Asylum, disheartened that he failed to have more of a harmful impact on the city thanks to Batman, things aren’t all bad for the sadistic serial killer.
That’s because his neighbouring inmate (more on this later) offers out a hand of friendship, also reminding our Riddler that whilst Batman made him out to be a “clown”, there’s worse things you can be.
And, of course, “everyone loves a comeback story”.
This implies that the Riddler’s criminal career is far from over, hinting that he could return in a sequel to cause more chaos – his encore.
The potential villainous comeback is further teased via the Riddler’s website from the film, which pops up on screen right at the end of The Batman after the credits have rolled.
If you let “www.rataalda.com” load, you’ll be greeted with the words “click for reward”, which takes you through to a mysterious cypher named “Its_Not_Over_Yet”.
No one has currently cracked the code, but given that a countdown also features on the website, we guess all will be revealed in the near future.
Could it be a formal announcement of a sequel? Something relating to a spin-off show? Keep your eyes peeled…
So, who is the Riddler’s cackling neighbour, credited as “Unseen Arkham Inmate”? Well, it’s actor Barry Keoghan as the Joker of course!
Although you never see the character in full, during the scene there are many heavy hints it’s the Clown Prince Of Crime, something director Reeves has now confirmed in interviews.
As he neatly summed up for Variety, “it is the Joker”.
This Joker tease implies that Keoghan’s character will be the main villain in the film’s potential (really, we should say inevitable) sequel, perhaps teaming up with the Riddler – they have shared numerous stories together in the comics.
However, in his interview with Variety, Reeves has urged audiences not to expect this: “It’s not an Easter egg scene. It’s not one of those end credits Marvel or DC scenes where it’s going, like, ‘hey, here’s the next movie!’
“In fact, I have no idea when or if we would return to that character in the movies.”
Sure Reeves, sure – we believe you (wink, wink).
Something Reeves does confirm is that Keoghan’s role in The Batman was originally more extensive, cutting a scene where Batman sneaks into Arkham to visit the Joker, hoping to learn more about the Ridder’s mindset – the director adds he intends to release this footage in the future.
Reeves reveals he was then tempted to cut Keoghan’s other scene, his meet cute with the Riddler, but kept it in following test screenings – not to tease a sequel though, but to heighten emotional stakes and explain why Gotham needs Batman to stay.
Still, despite Reeves’ statements, we would bet good money Keoghan’s Joker will be back!
The Court Of Owls
The Joker and the Riddler may not be the only villains haunting Gotham in a sequel, as the Court Of Owls could come out to play too.
Since they first appeared in the comics in 2011, this secret criminal society made up of Gotham’s wealthiest families has been incredibly popular amongst fans.
And given that The Batman deals with the crippling corruption within the city, something which infiltrates every level of power, it would make sense to introduce this organised crime group who control Gotham from the shadows.
The film’s cast themselves want to see the Court Of Owls in the potential follow-up, with Pattinson adding that they are “probably going to be in the sequel, it definitely seems like it” during a fan theory video for Vanity Fair.
Within the film itself there are several teases of their existence, and they would very much fit into this universe’s Gotham.
There’s already good news for fans of Colin Farrell’s Penguin as a spin-off series focusing on the character is confirmed to be in the works at streaming service HBO Max.
Details about the upcoming show are shrouded in secrecy, but original reports suggested it will act as an origin story, following Penguin’s rise to power.
This would neatly follow on from The Batman as in the movie the Penguin isn’t Gotham’s most feared mobster – that instead was Carmine Falcone, whose death leaves the position vacant.
The Penguin does have quite the reputation though already amongst Gotham’s criminal underbelly, leaving him as a suitable candidate to fill this power vacuum.
Perhaps this journey will be seen in the spin-off, then setting the scene for a future film sequel.
Bruce’s journey within the movie is an emotional one, as he realises Batman shouldn’t be “vengeance”, but instead a symbol of “hope”.
He becomes a part of Gotham’s community, realising that this is how he can help heal a broken Gotham, ending the film on a hopeful note.
But as mentioned above, villains lurk in the shadows, suggesting that Bruce’s new approach to his role as Batman will soon be challenged, forcing him to reckon with his vengeance once again.
He certainly has a dangerous side, one he embraces many times in The Batman, including when he takes a green drug during the climatic battle, heightening his aggression and strength.
It’s likely that this mysterious substance is Venom from the comics, a highly addictive drug that bestows upon the user super strength.
Could we see Bruce pushed to his limits, forcing him to use the drug once again? Well, Reeves has certainly left that story option open…
The Batman ends with Selina Kyle leaving Gotham as her journey in the city comes to an end – finding justice for Annika and confronting her mob boss father Carmine Falcone.
Although she asks Batman to come with her, Bruce declines the offer, leaving Selina to head off on her own, potentially to “Blüdhaven” as she tells Bats.
Comic book fans will know Blüdhaven well, a city that lies not too far from Gotham and is home to Dick Grayson, a.k.a. former Robin and hero Nightwing.
Could this mean Nightwing will pop up in a potential sequel? Well, maybe, but it’s more likely to be just more worldbuilding, introducing another city dominated by violent criminals.
As for what’s next for Catwoman, having connected with Batman we expect the two will reunite in a sequel – they are, after all, the bat and the cat.
Another confirmed spin-off series coming to HBO Max is one focusing on the Gotham City Police Department, looking at how they tackle a heavy workload of criminal cases.
Further details are yet to be revealed, and no cast members have currently been announced, but given its focus on the police, it seems likely it will feature the return of Jeffrey Wright’s lieutenant Gordon.
He is yet to become commissioner, something we will probably see in this series or a movie sequel.
The Batman is out now exclusively in theaters.