Batman is undoubtedly DC’s most popular character. Since the character enjoys such a huge fan following, movies with him rake in millions and almost always turn a profit. For long DC fanatics have wanted to see the character on the small screen so that they can watch his lore and rogues gallery get utilized in long-form interconnected storytelling. But his TV absence since the Adam West Batman (1966) show has baffled many. It was speculated that his TV absence was due to a rights dispute between Fox, Disney, and WB. Fans believed this to be the explanation for years until recently, James Gunn stepped in and debunked it.
James Gunn Debunks Famous Batman Myth
A fan tweeted that Robert Pattinson’s Batman won’t appear in the upcoming The Batman spin-off, The Penguin HBO Max series due to a rights issue. The poster said:
“Robert Pattinson might not appear as Batman in ‘The Penguin’ series, but can still appear as Bruce Wayne or the Drifter. The TV rights for Batman are caught up in a legal limbo involving Fox, Disney, and a trio of mergers.”
Gun stepped in to clarify:
“This is not true.”
Check out the tweet here:
This is not true. 🙏
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 15, 2023
For a long time, DC fans thought that there wasn’t another Batman TV series because Fox, which is now merged with Disney, held the television rights to the character. As a result, they didn’t allow WB to bring the character on any TV series, like Gotham, that they made. What lend credence to this rumor was also the fact that the Gotham show aired on Fox during its run.
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There isn’t any concrete proof as to where this rumor originally came from however many points to a 2012 Variety article as the one that began this speculation. In the article, the outlet said that for about 4 decades WB couldn’t manufacture toys and much of the Batman 1966 series with the likeness of the actors who played various characters in that show. The site explained:
“Retailers had requested a larger merchandise line tied to the show over the years, but studio arm had previously been able to use only the series’ logo, POW!-packed animated opening sequence and the Batmobile for product, not the actors, due to rights issues as the series was produced by 20th Century Fox. As a result, studio was limited to a small line of T-shirts and a die-cast Batmobile made by Mattel. Studio began negotiating with Fox, West and the estates of the show’s other thesps for the rights to their likenesses in August 2009.”
Thankfully, DC Studios’ co-CEO has now debunked this long-held belief. Gunn’s words could mean that there are no issues with Batman appearing on TV. So it’s possible that the character didn’t show up on the small screen for a long time because WB wanted to keep him a film-only character. Also, if Fox had held the character rights to the dark knight’s small screen appearance for decades, they surely would have made a show with him in the meantime. Overall, Gunn’s clarification has renewed speculation about Pattinson’s dark knight appearing in the Colin Farrell-led show.
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Will Robert Pattinson’s Batman Appear In The Penguin Series?
The Penguin stars Colin Farrell as the titular character and as per him, the show will continue from where The Batman ended. During an interview with ExtraTV, Farrell said:
“[The Penguin] starts about a week after the film The Batman ends, so Gotham is still somewhat underwater. I read the first script for the first episode, and it opens up with my feet splashing through the water in Falcone’s office. Even just that alone, I read it, I was like, ‘Oh, jeez.'”
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Speculation is high that Robert Pattinson will cameo in The Penguin show as Bruce Wayne or Batman as the show begins directly after the film. While nothing has been officially announced yet, James Gunn debunking of the long-held belief about Batman not appearing on TV has made everyone’s hopes rise. It remains to be seen if Pattinson shows up or not.
The Penguin is expected to stream in 2024.
Source: James Gunn and Variety