‘The Batman’ production designer explains how the Batmobile reflects Bruce Wayne

Matt Reeves/Warner Bros.

A big reason why The Batman proved to be such a successful reinvention of the Dark Knight’s mythos is because it took everything back to basics, and that includes the Caped Crusader’s trusty Batmobile.

Both Christian Bale and Ben Affleck’s versions drove armored tanks through the streets of Gotham City, but Robert Pattinson’s preferred set of wheels went back to being just a car, albeit with a few modifications and upgrades of the kind only a billionaire vigilante can pull off.

While speaking to Inverse, The Batman‘s production designer James Chinlund — who previously collaborated with director Matt Reeves on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — explained that the stripped-back Batmobile was made to reflect the mindset and personality of Pattinson’s Bruce.

Revealing that the vehicle was the first thing he and Reeves discussed from a design point of view, Chinlund compared the dedicated hero’s “single-minded focus” to the “lean and mean” muscle car.

“The car reflects his single-minded focus on the mission,” Chinlund said. “He’s all about getting it done, he’s not about a big design statement. It’s sort of a lean and mean version of the Batman. There’s no wasted space, there’s no decoration. There are no flourishes. He’s one man against the evils of the city. The car reflects this individual who’s going up against the world.”

Chinlund’s right about this Bruce Wayne having a one-track mind. One of the big surprises of the film’s presentation of the hero is that he has no fake “playboy Bruce” persona. Outside of his nightly crimefighting routine, Pattinson’s Bruce is a reclusive shut-in who doesn’t even using his Wayne name and money to help the city throughout charitable causes or philanthropy. Of course, he learns to do better by the end of the movie, which suggests Bruce will undergo some growth in the sequel.

Likewise, it’s possible he’ll upgrade the Batmobile to be a little more showy next time, in order to reflect both his change of mind and the Batman’s newfound status as a hero to the people of Gotham, and not just a boogieman to spook the criminal underworld. Who knows, maybe we could even get some new takes on Batman’s other vehicles. like the Batwing.

The Batman is playing in theaters now. It lands on HBO Max on April 19.