DC's live-action universe has had a bumpy road to theaters, with quite a few missteps marring the still- burgeoning franchise. And with Warner Bros. attempting to course correct, the status of previously announced projects are unknown. Chief among them is Matt Reeves' The Batman, which was supposed to Batman's first solo movie in this universe. But there's been no news about the project, with Ben Affleck's stay in rehab only making things more unsure.
Academy Award winning actor J.K. Simmons was supposed to appear in The Batman, after making his DC debut as Commissioner Gordon in Zack Snyder's Justice League. But that movie's performance left much to be desired, and plenty of developing movies came to a screeching halt. Simmons recently spoke to his hopes to play Gordon again, saying:
While J.K. Simmons doesn't seem to be privy to any plans for Commissioner Gordon or The Batman, the actor does seem passionate about playing the role. After all, he barely got to dip his toes into the DC waters with his tertiary role in Justice League.
J.K. Simmons' comments to Den of Geek may bring a ray of hope to Batman fans out there, who are hoping the Dark Knight will get the chance to properly shine in the DCEU. Batman is one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, so the denizens of Gotham City are almost equally beloved. J.K. Simmons seemed like the perfect actor to bring the character to the DCEU, especially given his superhero history in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.
Unfortunately, it's unclear exactly what's going on with Batman in the DC shared universe. Matt Reeves is still attached to write and direct The Batman, which would be a prime place for J.K. Simmons to return to the shared universe-- he even mentioned it above. Every so often, Reeves updates the public about the status of the movie, which seems to still be in the earliest stages of development. Reeves is crafting a narrative that will use inspiration from a few comic book sources, and there's been a variety of rumors about the film's contents.
Commissioner Gordon's role in Justice League wasn't more than a cameo, but the fandom is already eager to see more. Moviegoers got a glimpse into the long history between he and Batman, and the relationship they fostered through years of crime fighting. But Batman still gets the jump on him, in a bit that feels nostalgic and true to the comics. Gordon also got to meet the other members of the Justice League, who he seemed like a prime candidate to be brought back for future appearances.
Contractually, J.K. Simmons is prepared to reprise his role in the DCEU, although it's not clear when this might occur. DC doesn't typically reveal long release schedules, although we know the next few blockbusters coming down the pipeline.
Gotham City does seem to be a location that DC will be putting more focus on, which is a smart move considering the popularity of the Dark Knight. It briefly popped up during David Ayer's Suicide Squad, giving backstory to Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Additionally, its close proximity to Metropolis was established in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The latter will pop back up in the DC universe in just a few years, with Cathy Yan's Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). While it doesn't look like Batman or Gordon are set to appear, Bat-family member Huntress is one of the main characters, as is Harley Quinn. Huntress may be able to expand Batman's story within the universe, despite Ben Affleck not physically appearing in the upcoming project.
Birds Of Prey will also introduce Batman villain Black Mask, played by Ewan McGregor. This seems like a possible way to bring J.K. Simmons back into the DC Universe, if the timing is right. Commissioner Gordon likely has his own long history with the mob boss/Batman rogue, and could be a help. Of course, Cathy Yan's blockbuster already has a GCPD member, as Rosie Perez is playing Renee Montoya in Birds of Prey. Since the movie is focused on the females of the DCEU, Gordon's inclusion might not vibe with the themes of the project.
All eyes are currently on actor Ben Affleck, and whether or not he might be departing his role as the DC Universe's Batman. His presence was the connective tissue between movies like Justice League and Suicide Squad, and he was largely praised as the saving grace in Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. DC's eggs were certainly in the actor's basket, but the poor reception of both BvS and Justice League may have given the actor reason to head for the door.
Ben Affleck was originally going to direct and star in The Batman, before eventually stepping down from the director's role. Rumors have also indicated that Matt Reeves might not be using Affleck for his blockbuster, with the studio dipping into the multiverse with projects like Todd Phillips' Joker. There are clearly a ton of questions and projects up in the air, which is likely why J.K Simmons isn't sure if/when he'll play Gordon again.
Still, J.K. Simmons' excitement about playing Commissioner Gordon is exactly what the fandom wants to hear. His performance as the endlessly sleazy and fast talking J. Jonah Jameson is an iconic aspect of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, and comic book fans were all too happy to see him play a DC character this time around. He's got the mustache and biceps to play Commissioner Gordon, so now he needs a movie to flex those muscles in.
While the status of Commissioner Gordon and The Batman are currently unknown there are a ton of DC movies coming down the pipeline. Aquaman will arrive in just a few weeks, followed by Shazam!, Joker, and Birds of Prey. Gotham City is on the table, so the question is regarding when its police commissioner will also rejoin the narrative.
Aquaman will arrive in theaters on December 21st, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.