Footage and photos taken from the set of The Batman in Chicago suggests a modern-day setting for the superhero movie, although some DC fans are concerned that dating the story this way is a mistake. While Robert Pattinson is currently in London working on the movie, exterior shots are being filmed in Illinois with the Windy City substituting for Gotham City. From the set, Brandon Davis of ComicBook.com posted a photo along with video footage of a Gotham City taxi cab, and a look at the decal on the vehicle suggests the movie is set in the year 2019.
Setting the movie in the recent past could be a way that Matt Reeves is trying to ground The Batman in reality, perhaps much more so than Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight movie trilogy. We've seen some of this in the teaser trailer and photos from the set, as the new Batsuit and even the Batmobile are fairly realistic depictions of how the character might appear in the present day. It could be that Reeves is presenting a story of how someone like Batman would exist with today's modern technology.
One concern that some fans have is that Batman movies are generally presented as "timeless." The outlandish characters and Bruce Wayne's extremely-advanced tech has kept Batman's fictional world rather far away from ours, and putting the Dark Knight into a real-world 2019 setting might have the opposite effect. Adam West's classic Batman series might scream '60s, but the theatrical Batman movies don't typically feel specific to any one particular time period from real life.
Of course, this is all just speculation at this time, as it's unknown if the taxi cab's decal will even be shown in the movie's final cut. This may have just been a set designer randomly throwing a year onto the decal to make the cab appear more realistic to the passing eye. It's always possible that no year will actually be named in the movie. The teaser trailer only shows us a small peek at what's to come as well, so we might be seeing other clues coming soon about the movie's setting as production on the project continues.
Along with Pattinson in the lead role, The Batman also stars Paul Dano as the Riddler, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner James Gordon. Matt Reeves directs using a screenplay co-written by Reeves and Peter Craig. Full plot details haven't been revealed, but the movie will follow a younger Batman early into his crime-fighting career. It will be set in a standalone universe with no connection to any other previously-released movies from DC Comics and Warner Bros.
The Batman is scheduled to release in theaters on March 4, 2022. By then, 2019 will be three years in the past, so it will be interesting to see if the movie is ultimately dated with a setting for that year. The photo of the taxi cab from the set comes to us from Brandon Davis on Twitter.