Ever since The Batman was first announced, there had been widespread speculation that the movie could be set to feature up to a half a dozen villains, with Arkham Asylum rumored to factor heavily into the story. While that might still turn out to be the case, based on the trailer that was revealed yesterday at DC FanDome, director Matt Reeves is focusing on three of them in particular.
The footage certainly made it look as though Paul Dano’s Riddler would be The Batman‘s major antagonist, while Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman appears to be occupying her regular position as both an untrustworthy enemy and uneasy ally of the Dark Knight. And although it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, it appears as if the preview also showed us Colin Farrell buried under heavy prosthetics as Oswald Cobblepot, with each of the three iconic characters offering an entirely different threat to Pattinson’s Caped Crusader.
We already know that the story will take place during Bruce Wayne’s second year as a costumed vigilante, but with Gotham being a city that’s always had a notorious crime problem, there could be a chance that some of the villains have been operating a lot longer than the Dark Knight has. However, Reeves has now admitted that The Batman will mark something of an origin story for the Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman as well, with none of them ready to accept their comic book mantles just yet.
“It’s actually in a weird way the origins of a lot of our Rogues’ Gallery characters. Selina isn’t Catwoman yet, that’s actually part of the journey. Oz is not yet the kingpin that he’s going to become, he’s the Penguin and in fact doesn’t like being called the Penguin. And the Riddler is just emerging for the first time. How all these characters connect was for me one of the challenges but also one of the exciting things about the creation of the story, which is that in going on this urge and compulsion to solve this series of crimes, you touch on all of these iterations of the beginnings of these characters. The whole movie is like a snowball rolling. You can just feel the momentum building and building.”
Dano’s Riddler doesn’t seem to bear many superficial similarities to his comic book counterpart, and is about as far removed from the character’s last outing in live-action as you could possibly get. In fact, Reeves revealed that all of his actors are set to bring something entirely new to such well-known names.
“Paul Dano plays a version of the Riddler that no one has ever seen before. He’s such an incredibly creative actor, so what he’s doing I think is going to blow peoples’ minds. And then to have Zoe Kravitz, her iteration of Selina Kyle, to me that’s incredibly exciting. You have an iteration that you’ve never seen of what she’s doing, but it touches on all of these iconic things that people know from the comics. It’s always about trying to square what you know with what also is new, and that is really part of the exciting process of making a Batman movie which is to find a way to make it your own, and to find a way for the actors to make it their own, and yet still connect all of these things so people go, ‘Oh that’s my Selina. I know who that is’.”
If Reeves manages to pull off the delicate and often tricky balance between using recognizable faces and iconography that everybody knows while still managing to put a fresh spin on material that audiences have seen countless times already, then The Batman has every chance of being one of the Caped Crusader’s finest-ever big screen outings when it lands in theaters next year.