According to The Hollywood Reporter, Batman is getting another HBO Max spin-off series centered on the Penguin.
According to publication sources, Warner Bros. has begun developing a TV show that will focus on the rise of Oswald Cobblepot — The Penguin’s real name — within Gotham’s criminal underworld.
Colin Farrell, who will play Cobblepot in the upcoming Batman film, is said to have been tapped to reprise the role for the HBO Max series. However, THR claims that Warner Bros. has yet to reach an agreement with Pharrell’s representatives.
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Batman director Matt Reeves, as well as producer Dylan Clarke, are in line to executive produce the spin-off series. Lauren LeFranc (Agent of SHIELD, Hemlock Grove) is reportedly also involved with the pen part of the TV show.
If the Penguin HBO Max show is confirmed by Warner Bros., it will be the second Batman spin-off series currently in development for the streamer.
A Gotham Police Department (PD) show is already in the making for HBO Max, with Joe Barton (Girl/Haji, Encounters) as the showrunner for the series. It is unclear whether Jeffrey Wright and Robert Pattinson, who play Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne in The Batman, will be part of the Gotham PD show.
Batman is scheduled to release in theaters on 4 March 2022.
Analysis: Building on Batman’s world is a clever move
Warner Bros. has been working hard to develop several Batman spin-off productions, but right now, Gotham PD and The Penguin are the only ones involved in The Batman Movie.
Regardless of how many spin-off TV shows (or movies) tie back to The Batman, it’s a smart move from Warner Bros. to pull out this particular reboot of the iconic DC Comics superhero.
Unless the runtime of a film exceeds two and a half hours, some don’t have much time in the way of world building or side character development. For an origin story like The Batman, which will focus on Bruce Wayne’s first year as the Caped Crusader, there are even fewer opportunities to expand into these areas. The primary focus of original films should be its protagonist, antagonist, and main plot of the film.
Spin-off productions allow studios, showrunners, and other creators to build on the world tease films like Batman do. TV shows, in particular, can really dig into the personalities and motivations of characters, different areas of a city or world, and show what life is like for ordinary citizens, not the superheroes themselves.
Then Warner Bros.’s desire to branch out into a TV show based on The Batman is a good idea. Gotham PD will allow viewers to see how the city’s police officers deal with, or turn a blind eye to, Gotham’s various criminal enterprises. Meanwhile, Penguin will show us the other side of the coin and testify to how Batman’s most famous villain came to be.
It’s hard to detail any of this in a movie. Unlike their big-screen cousins, TV shows can examine their characters and the world in, say, 10 one-hour episodes, providing more time to examine events and individuals in the wider world.
If The Batman is as huge a success as we expect, viewers will want to see more material set in its world. Gotham PD and The Penguin are primed to do just that.
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