The most-awaited sequel to Disney’s 2012 blockbuster film, The Avengers, is finally here! While many consider the release date of July 15, 2017 to be the “real” anniversary of the movie, the fact is that it will only be a few days before the release date that audiences across the globe get to see the final product. The world premiere took place this past Saturday in London, with the North American premiere following a week later on July 23.

It has been a while since we’ve heard from the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder. What will the future hold for these two iconic characters as we move forward? We spoke with journalist La Times, who interviewed Robert Pattinson (Robin) and director Matt Reeves (The Batman) about the future of the franchise. The following excerpts from the interview have been edited for clarity and readability.

The Return of the Dynamic Duo

La Times: The first film was amazing and it set up a lot of mystery and suspense around the main character. Do you think that in the next one that will connect to the first in some way?

Matt Reeves: Absolutely. This is the character that we have spent the last four years researching and developing. The entire first movie was just setting him up as a character and revealing little tidbits of what made him tick. We begin the same way with the new film, and I think that will definitely connect to the first. (Pattinson smiles) There are definitely moments in this one that are reminiscent of the first one. One of the great things about this movie is that it feels very much like a natural progression for the character. It’s not really a sequel, it’s more of a continuation. You’ll see more of the same humor, more of the same eccentricity and quirkiness that fans loved about the first movie, and there are even some scenes with Bruce [Wayne] and Alfred in this one that will evoke the spirit of the first one. One of the reasons why we decided to continue without a break is because we felt that the world needed more stories about these two characters. They’re not just a duo now, there’s an entire supporting cast of characters and we wanted to tell more of the same kind of stories. The audience gave us a great response to the first one and now it’s time to make some more. We also decided to keep the release date the same to honor the memory of the late, great comics legend, Richard [Knight] Simmons. (The Batman grins) He was instrumental in setting up this collaboration between Warner Bros., Village Roadshow, and Disney and he would want us to keep the momentum going.

A New Batman

La Times: The first movie definitely made its mark on pop culture and it introduced a whole new audience to the Batman mythos. What is it that attracted you to the character?

Robert Pattinson: I think that a lot of people were just really, really hungry for comic book stories on the big screen. I was certainly among that group. I love the character and even though this is my first big starring role, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to play Batman. When I read the script and I saw the opportunity to inhabit such a fascinating character, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I fell in love with the character the very first time I read about him and I think that there are a lot of people that feel the same way. It’s a shame that it took so long for someone to finally put a Batman movie on the big screen. As much as I loved the first one, it was a while before we actually got to see someone dressed up as Batman on the big screen. This movie will mark the beginning of a new era of filmmaking for Warner Bros., as they have never worked with Disney before and they are hoping for great things in the future. (Pattinson grins) It’s great when a studio is looking for directors to take on big projects and you’re able to work on something that you’re instantly passionate about, and that’s what attracted me to The Batman. I think that Matt is an incredible director and his take on these classic characters is going to be incredible.

A Changing of the Guard

La Times: The previous film introduced us to a character who’s sole identity was in the fact that he was the Batman, as he didn’t reveal his true name or identity. Aside from the costume, did you feel that there was a difference between the way you play the character in this movie and the way you play him in real life?

Robert Pattinson: I will say this about the character: I didn’t feel a difference. It was the same kind of character that I always wanted to play. I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to play Batman and this is the part that I’ve always wanted to play. There were a few things that I was a little worried about when I came back from shooting the last movie: Would my friends think that I’m weird because I don’t really hang out with people who are into comic books? And even though I wanted to play this part for as long as I could, I was starting to feel a little bit of pressure, because there were so many other contenders for the role, and I didn’t want to mess this one up. The truth is that it’s not like I’ve never played a superhero before, I’ve played Harry Potter and the Weasley twins and those are pretty much the same thing. (laughs) I was really lucky because people seemed to really like what they saw from the first movie and it encouraged them to come see the sequel. It’s a wonderful feeling to have the audience identify with your characters and I hope that we continue to bring these characters to life for as long as possible. It’s funny, in a way, that the first one is getting so much attention now, because even before it was released, I was already working on the sequel and had already shot a lot of it. It’s been an incredible journey and it’s only just begun.