HBO Max's 'Batman' Spin-Off Series Recruits Joe Barton As New Showrunner

HBO's The Batman prequel TV series focused on the Gotham PD has a new showrunner: Joe Barton, writer and creator of the series Giri/Haji, as well as the writer of the horror film The RitualTerence Winter, a writer on The Sopranos and creator of Boardwalk Empire, was previously attached as showrunner but departed the project late last year.

Multiple sources are reporting the news that Joe Barton is now the showrunner on the HBO Max series about the Gotham PD. The show remains untitled at the moment, but the series is meant to be a prequel to the upcoming Matt Reeves' film The Batman. While The Batman takes place after Batman has already been established as a figure in Gotham City, the HBO Max series will take place right when the Dark Knight is starting to surface in the city, and deals with how a corrupt police force reckons with such a figure. There's precedent in the world of Batman comics for such a story – the excellent comic series Gotham Central dealt with how a group of Gotham detectives works in a city where there also happens to be a crime-fighting vigilante on the loose.

The Batman director Matt Reeves spoke a little about the show last year, saying the show follows one corrupt cop in particular, adding: "The story is actually a battle for his soul. He's a cop over generations and the history of corruption in Gotham is enormous and goes back many years.As you realize there's this myth-building in the background, you are in a new place with these characters, some of whom will touch on that you may have seen from the comics and others totally new." At the time of Reeves' comments, the series was in the hands of Terence Winter, who wrote the script for The Wolf of Wall Street, and has been involved with several HBO shows, including The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. 

However, Winter left the show, with reports indicating that "Winter's vision for the drama did not match what Reeves and other producers had in mind." Now, Barton is at the helm. I've not seen Barton's series Giri/Haji, so I can't comment much on that. However, I have seen The Ritual, which Barton wrote. It's an enjoyable horror film but it's hard to compare it to the world of Batman, aside from the film's dark and moody atmosphere.

There's no word yet on when we might see the Gotham PD show, but The Batman release date isn't until March 4, 2022, so it might not be for a while.