Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Batman which hit theaters this week. If you don’t want to know certain things about the film, turn back now. You’ve been given the heads up.
The Batman hit theaters this weekend and instantly dropped us into a whole new world of Gotham City, one grittier, darker, and grimier than basically anything we’ve seen on the big screen so far. In one fell swoop, Matt Reeves established an entirely new DC Universe of characters, one that seems like it’s been up and running for some time now. Not an origin story, the movie drops us into Bruce Wayne’s Batman story two years into his run as the Caped Crusader. But in establishing a new universe, one wondered if there would be references to or cameos from DC characters outside of Batman’s general comic book circle. Early nuggets suggested there would be, but by the time the film ended, those hadn’t happened.
According to ScreenRant, originally there were costumes spotted for Superman and Wonder Woman in the background of some behind-the-scenes footage. These characters’ inclusion in the final cut of the movie would have gone a long way in confirming that The Batman existed in a DC Universe that had other members of the Justice League. While those two wouldn’t have necessarily been recast along the lines we’ve seen from Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot in the current DC Extended Universe, it would have at least given credence to the kind of superhero world Robert Pattinson’s Batman was operating in here.
It was originally thought we would see Superman and Wonder Woman referenced at the beginning of The Batman which opens on Halloween night. In Gotham City, there are all kinds of festivities going down to celebrate the holiday with our titular hero lurking in the shadows. Though only Gotham citizens dressing up like those other heroes, this kind of Easter egg-style reference would have definitely gotten the DC juices flowing about what could happen in future films and series set around this universe. But alas, it looks like those aren’t exactly in the cards right now.
And maybe it’s for the best. The Batman was definitely a visceral movie, pretty grounded in reality all things considered when it comes to superhero films. Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is armed with the typical gadgetry we know from the character, but even compared to Christian Bale’s version, it all feels a little bespoke. One gets the sense he is learning as he’s going here. Because there was a “realness” to the film, it would almost feel odd to have a Kryptonian or Amazonian character swooping in from the heavens to battle crime. The flick just didn’t have that feel.
In all, The Batman didn’t suffer from a lack of other references to the DC Extended Universe. It had plenty of Batman-centric characters to deal with on its own. Introducing The Riddler, Catwoman, Carmine Falcone, and others right from the outset was a heavy enough of a lift. Matt Reeves and company pulled it off perfectly. And they made the right choice not mentioning either Superman or Wonder Woman. It just wouldn’t have fit with what the director built in this movie.