Arguably more so than any other superhero, the villains that inhabit Batman’s universe are arguably as crucial to the character’s massive success as the Dark Knight himself.
From headliners such as Joker and Catwoman and Two-Face to middleweights like Riddler and Penguin and Mr. Freeze to C-listers such as Black Mask, Clayface, and The Mad Hatter, Batman’s rogues gallery is truly unrivaled in the comic book world.
Think about it like this: is The Dark Knight Batman’s movie, or is it really the Joker’s movie? Are you hanging on every growl that Bruce Wayne utters, or do you find yourself eagerly anticipating the Joker’s next sadistic monologue? Exactly.
So, when considering just how integral Batman’s enemies are to his success, it goes without saying that in order for 2021’s The Batman to be as successful as it can and should be, they need to absolutely nail its antagonists.
And according to recent rumors, a focus on antagonists is exactly what Warner Bros. is aiming for, as up to six iconic Batman rogues — Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler, Two-Face, Firefly and the Mad Hatter — are reportedly set to feature in the Robert Pattinson-starring film.
“The Batman will explore a detective case — when people start dying in strange ways, Batman must go deep into the dark world of Gotham to find clues and solve the mystery/conspiracy connected to Gotham City’s history and criminals,” claims scooper Daniel Richtman in a YouTube video.
“In the film, all of Batman Rogues Gallery are already out there and active, similar to the comics and animated shows/movies. The film will have multiple villains, as they are all suspects.” [ComicBook.com]
While I’ve been generally excited regarding everything I’ve heard about The Batman thus far, this latest bit concerns me for a handful of reasons, the least of which is that it conflicts with a recent rumor that Rihanna was being considered for the role of Poison Ivy.
The first is the logistics of it: can a film sustain this many villains, especially upon their first introduction? Batman is possibly the only comic book character whose rogue’s gallery is already well-established in the mind’s of the general audience, so elaborate introductions to characters as iconic as Riddler or Penguin won’t be necessary.
Plus, giving Gotham and its various characters a lived-in, open-world version of Gotham would certainly be something new and exciting for Batman on film.
That said, cramming them all in one movie has me concerned about the caliber of actors that will be filling these roles. In my humble semi-professional opinion, every Batman villain should be treated with the respect that the Joker is routinely given. Do we really want to see some C-lister playing Riddler for 12 minutes of screentime in a B-plot?
Ideally, *if* The Batman does decide to go with the multiple villains route, they spare no expense when it comes to casting the actors in these iconic roles with the intention of having them appear in multiple films throughout the course of the next decade.
THE BATMAN will hit theaters in the United States on Friday, June 25, 2021.
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him: email@example.com.