The Batman’s Arkham Spinoff Can Revive Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight Movie Idea

An Arkham Asylum HBO Max show that serves as a spinoff of The Batman is in development, and it could pay off an idea from Ben Affleck’s canceled Batman movie. Even before Matt Reeves’ Batman reboot hit theaters, spinoffs set in the world of The Batman were already being discussed by Warner Bros. and HBO Max. On top of the Arkham Asylum-focused show, a Penguin spinoff series, The Penguin, is also happening.

Before Matt Reeves was given the opportunity to create a brand new iteration of Batman that would reboot the franchise, Ben Affleck was attached to not only star in but also direct a Batman film. While Affleck’s Batman movie never came to be, pieces of information on what the story was going to be about and what characters it would feature have then surfaced. Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke, who appeared briefly in Justice League and in the Snyder Cut Knightmare timeline, was going to be the main villain, and Batgirl would also show up. More than those characters, the most exciting thing about Ben Affleck’s Batman film is that it would have been a psychological thriller set in Arkham Asylum.


Related: Affleck's Batman Was DC's Smartest (& Batman V Superman Proved It)

Although in a very different context, The Batman’s Arkham Asylum spinoff can dive into that same idea. In fact, Matt Reeves has mentioned that the show will lean into the horror aspects of Arkham Asylum and how such a peculiar place could change after the events of The Batman. That is very similar to how Ben Affleck’s Batman solo film would have explored Arkham, something that other iterations of the Caped Crusader, such as Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, have not done yet. The biggest difference between Ben Affleck’s unmade Batman movie and Reeves’ upcoming Arkham Asylum, however, is that the latter will most likely not feature Batman – at least not as the main character. Instead, it is likely that it will focus on the Arkham Asylum facility itself and on the psychological aspects of its patients.

The Batman Arkham Asylum

Despite being a crucial element in the Batman mythos, Arkham Asylum has been constantly overlooked by the Batman films. In the Burton and Schumacher runs, there was barely any mention of the Arkham facility at all. In Batman Begins, part of the story did involve Arkham and Dr. Jonathan Crane's experiments, but neither The Dark Knight nor The Dark Knight Rises ever revisited the place. For that reason, any live-action Batman-related project taking place mostly at Arkham is an exciting concept. Ben Affleck’s movie would have had the advantage of a hero who had been around for 20 years, thus meaning his Arkham could have featured Batman's entire rogues gallery. The Batman’s Arkham Asylum spinoff, on the other hand, can show the origins of the rogues’ gallery and tell the story of how a mental health institution became one of Gotham’s most dangerous places.

Ben Affleck’s canceled Batman is yet another addition to the long list of never made Batman films, but at least the idea of exploring Arkham Asylum can be somewhat paid off in the upcoming The Batman spinoff show. As of now, there is no release date, nor creative team confirmed for the HBO Max production. It will be interesting to see how connected to The Batman the Arkham Asylum show will be and if it will feature big names like Joker and the Riddler or even the Dark Knight himself.