Gotham in ‘The Batman’ Was Filmed in Europe Instead of Chicago or Pittsburgh Like Past Films

The new DC FanDome footage of The Batman is truly some of the best stuff to come from DC in a while. Almost all versions of Batman have been epic, but Matt Reeves’ version seems just a bit different. And that might be because the Gotham in this film is much different than what viewers have gotten before. 

'The Batman' still.
‘The Batman’ | Warner Bros.

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Gotham is one of the most famous comic book cities and has a distinct live-action look 

DC Comics is obviously known for its superheroes, but also the cities and places within them. While other big comic properties like Marvel have big-name heroes, DC has Gotham, Metropolis, and more. On top of Batman, Superman, and others. And since the ‘80s, the film iterations of Batman have shown Gotham in such an iconic light. 

“[Gotham is] just as important as any of the Rogues Gallery,” Reeves explained at The Batman panel on Aug. 22. “It’s sort of like that. The nature of what this place is and the history of it is critically important to our story.” 

Reeves then mentioned the other Gothams fans are definitely familiar with. 

“Obviously, the Burton one had very, very theatrical, beautiful sets,” Reeves described. “And Nolan had the version that he created in Batman Begins. And that was a particular thing. And then parts of Chicago and parts of Pittsburgh.”

Chicago is a big one; the city was used for Gotham in Nolan’s films with Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, and it took on a very distinct vibe with it. Even Batwoman on The CW went with that version as well, filming a lot of exterior Gotham shots in Chicago. 

Liverpool will stand in as the real-life Gotham in ‘The Batman’

With that said, do not expect that same treatment in 2021’s The Batman. Reeves revealed that Gotham was going to be at the center of his story, so he wanted to make it feel tangible but not like a city that viewers can pinpoint. 

“One of the things that I really wanted to do — because it is the center of this story, especially the history of corruption in the city — was I wanted to present it in a way that was really fleshed out,” Reeves said. “I wanted it to feel like an American city you’ve never been to.” 

To do that, the movie wasn’t even filmed in America. Reeves still used a real-life city, but instead, he looked across the pond. 

“… We have a Gotham Square. So that’s like Times Square right now,” Reeves said. However, he knew they couldn’t film it in New York City’s Times Square because fans would notice that. “In our case, it’s actually going to be Liverpool. And the idea is to go to Liverpool, where there’s all the sort of the foundation of the Gothic architecture and then add all of the more modern structures through CGI.” 

This Gotham will be visually different than what fans have seen before, but still familiar in other ways

Again, Reeves described that he wanted to create a version of Gotham “that you haven’t seen before.” Even from the trailer, the dark aura of Gotham is still there, but the Gothic architecture and other structures are very distinct. 

But, even though it will visually look different, Reeves said that The Batman will explore the “epic history of corruption in Gotham,” which isn’t a new concept.  

“The whole idea is that this is all an experiment in the movie,” Reeves said of Robert Pattinson’s Batman. “The idea is that we’re in year two. It’s the Gotham experiment… a criminological experiment. He is trying to figure out sort of what he can do that can finally change this place.”

Of course, the conflict here is that Bruce Wayne isn’t “having any of the effect that he wants to have yet” on the city with his vigilante antics.

So in that sense, Gotham is all too familiar. Violence, crime, murder, and more make up the backdrop of this famous city. And even though it has a new aesthetic, it’s still the Gotham fans know and love. 

“The murders begin to describe sort of the history of Gotham in a way that only reinforces what [Bruce Wayne] knows about Gotham,” Reeves said. “But it opens up a whole new world of corruption that went much farther.” 

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