The Batman director Matt Reeves has revealed a planned HBO Max spin-off series centering around the Gotham City Police Department has been “evolved” into a series focused on Arkham Asylum that he likened to a horror movie.
Reeves shared the news while promoting his recently released blockbuster hit. “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,” he told the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “We’re not really doing that.”
The untitled GCPD series was first announced in July 2020 and was subsequently rumored to center around Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon. Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter was initially attached to the project, but exited the series and was replaced by Joe Barton. In the interview, Reeves shared his vision for the show, which was inspired by Sidney Lumet’s 1981 film Prince of the City.
“It was going to be year one because the movie is year two, and I wanted it to be the first appearance,” he explained. “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] would have touched paths with Gordon. It would have been someone to measure him against, but it would be a battle for his soul.”
In a separate interview with The Cyber Nerds, Reeves said the spin-off will instead focus on Arkham Asylum. “The GCPD thing, that story has kind of evolved,” he said. “We’ve actually now [moved] more into the realm of exactly what would happen in the world of Arkham as it relates coming off of our movie, and some of the characters, again in their origins… It’s like a horror movie or a haunted house that is Arkham.”
He continued, “Again, the way that Gotham is a character in the movie, I really want Arkham to exist as a character, so that you go into this environment and encounter these characters in a way that feels really fresh. And so in our work on Gotham, that story started to evolve, and it started feeling like, ‘Wait, we should really lean into this.’ And that’s kind of where that’s gone.”
Reeves has another HBO Max spin-off in the works with Colin Farrell reprising his role as the Penguin. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, he spoke about the inspiration for the series. “The thing that was going to be the seeds of what I thought the next story could be in terms of the Penguin is that I saw there being this kind of ‘American dream in Gotham’ sort of story, almost like Scarface; the rise of this character who we all know will achieve mythic status,” Reeves said. “He is underestimated and he’s like a time bomb.”
He also spoke more generally about creating a Batverse with the movie. “You don’t do a story and go, ‘This is Chapter 1’ because you might not get to do Chapter 2,” Reeves said. “So, the story had to stand on its own. But the thing about it is that the Bat world is so rich with character that as you’re starting to come to an end, you can already start thinking about the next thing. Because the idea, of course, is that Gotham’s story never ends.”
Robert Pattinson’s turn as emo Batman is in theaters now. In our review, Senior Entertainment Editor Liz Shannon Miller praised the film for “telling a solid new Batman story, one with some pretty compelling twists and a strong point-of-view on who, exactly, the Caped Crusader is.”