Much like 2019’s Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips, The Batman from director Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader has been known as a “standalone” type of film disconnected from the DCEU. However, it appears we can now put a label on the universe of The Batman, as it will be set in Earth-2 according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In a story on ‘New Gods’ and ‘The Trench’ being canceled by Warner Bros., THR revealed that the specific alternate universe for The Batman is Earth-2:
Except for The Batman, which is set on an alternate Earth known to geeks as Earth-2, DC is plotting its films and shows to share the same universe. Key to setting up its new status quo will be The Flash (Nov. 4, 2022), which will tackle the multiverse and is said to also lend clarity to the future of the Justice League with multiple Batmen, as well as Supergirl, appearing.
So it sounds like The Flash will be a critically important movie for clarity’s sake, likely working as a reset to establish the characters, roles, and paths moving forward.
This Earth versus Earth-2 situation is known as a multiverse. It might help to think of it as another dimension, similar to our own. There are still Batman, Superman, and other heroes and villains, but they might be a little different from one earth to the next; for example, Batman is more apt to use guns in Earth-2 in the comics (though that might not be, and probably is not, the situation in The Batman/film universe).
Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which has been extremely successful on HBO Max, may further throw a wrench into things. Currently the 2017 theatrical release of Justice League is considered “canon” (that is, it is seen as the genuine, correct storyline), but it’s difficult to believe Warner Bros. isn’t at least considering restoring Snyder’s vision—which successfully introduced the supervillain Darkseid and set up intriguing possibilities for future movies—as the foundation for the DCEU.
So what this Earth-2 situation means for The Batman is one of a couple of options:
One, Ben Affleck’s Batman is the “real” one on normal Earth, and Pattinson’s will exist on another world (Earth-2) where the two might somehow cross paths in a multiverse story. (The Flash might include Michael Keaton’s Batman in the film, and in that case it would likely mean there are at least three earth’s that DC is diving into.)
Or two, like Joker (2019), it might just mean The Batman is another take on the character, and the Earth-2 designation is for cover. So it’ll still be the Bruce Wayne/Batman character most people know, and viewers don’t really need to worry about what “world” he’s on.
Another bonus possibility is that Warner Bros. will have Christian Bale’s Batman from the critically acclaimed and highly realistic The Dark Knight Trilogy appear in The Flash, too. Though the issue with that is many will feel Christopher Nolan’s movies should be the preeminent take on the character, while Warner Bros. will almost certainly want Affleck’s current Batman to be the chief timeline as it has been for a handful of years.
Personally, I like the idea of a straight-up Earth-2 Batman (Pattinson’s), but only if Affleck continues in his role as Batman. Otherwise, the Earth-2-as-cover for a true Batman outside of the primary DCEU—which was very successful for Joker—is the way to go.
HBO Max presents interesting options moving forward for DC and Warner Bros. The Batman is set to get a spinoff series centered around the Gotham Police Department, and many have clamored for an Affleck Batman series on the new streaming platform. Affleck on HBO Max and Pattinson in theaters could be a way to avoid confusion on two different Batmen.
We’ll see, and hopefully The Batman and The Flash clear all this up when they release next year.