The Batman’s HBO Max universe grows. Colin Farrell’s crime lord Oswald Cobblepot/ Penguin, who will be first seen in the Robert Pattinson-led The Batman movie next year, is reportedly set to get his own prequel spin-off series on HBO Max. Farrell is in talks to reprise his role. Lauren LeFranc (Agents of SHIELD) is set as head writer and showrunner. The Batman director Matt Reeves is among the executive producers. The Penguin HBO Max series is being compared to the Al Pacino-led Scarface movie, and will depict the rise of Cobblepot (though I guess they will skip on the character’s fall, unlike Scarface).
Deadline and Variety brought word of HBO Max developing a second The Batman prequel spin-off series, this one centred on Batman’s villain Penguin, noting that it’s “very early” in development. HBO Max declined to comment. In The Batman movie which is set in the second year of Bruce Wayne’s (Pattinson) crime fighting years, Cobblepot is not yet at the height of his power, so the Penguin HBO Max series will naturally see him in an even earlier phase of life.
Behind the scenes, The Batman producer Dylan Clark will join Reeves as executive producer. The Penguin HBO Max series will be produced by Reeves’ 6th & Idaho banner, Dylan Clark Productions, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Television. For HBO Max, it joins the other The Batman prequel spin-off series — from Joe Barton (Giri/Haji) as showrunner — that will be set inside the Gotham City Police Department and follow a crooked cop a year prior to the film’s events.
Like with Marvel Studios and Disney+ for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. and HBO Max have been working to expand the DC multiverse across film and TV. The Suicide Squad writer-director James Gunn will give us the John Cena-led Peacemaker in January 2022. Arrowverse architect Greg Berlanti is developing a Green Lantern series. Michael B. Jordan is developing a Val-Zod Black Superman miniseries. And J.J. Abrams, as part of his mega WarnerMedia deal, is working on Justice League Dark, Constantine, and Madame X.
Beyond that, HBO Max also has a number of DC films in development. That includes Batgirl with In the Heights star Leslie Grace, Blue Beetle with Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña, and Birds of Prey spin-off Black Canary with Jurnee Smollett reprising her role. This is in addition to DC movies coming to theatres, including Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam in July 2022, The Flash movie with Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, and Michael Keaton in November 2022, Jason Momoa-led Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in December 2022, and the sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods in June 2023.
The Batman releases March 4, 2022 in cinemas worldwide. No word on a release window for the Penguin HBO Max series.