The Batman opened in March to excellent reviews and a comparable response from fans. Furthermore, deadline reports that the film’s first week on HBO Max broke the viewership totals of day and date films such as The Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman 1984.
More impressive yet is the fact that Matt Reeves’ franchise reboot had already spent a month and a half ruling the box office to the tune of over $350 million domestic. With Robert Pattinson set to don the cape and cowl for two sequels, he’ll need someone besides The Riddler, Joker, and Penguin to take on. Luckily, there are plenty of villains in Batman’s rogues gallery that would be perfect fits for this new franchise.
Two very different versions of Bane have been brought to the big screen. First as an extremely silly, growling monster in Batman & Robin (1997) and then as a particularly hulking criminal in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy-capper, The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
The Gotham City of the newest Batman universe is as grim as Nolan’s if not more so, and there are plenty of ways that the screenwriters could differentiate a third version of Bane from those that have come before. Combining the intelligence of laughs‘ Bane with the venom dependency and raw power of the Batman & Robin‘s could give fans the most comic-accurate portrayal yet.
Clayface has undergone a major transformation from his original incarnation, and it’s the old version of him that would work for Pattinson’s Batman. Clayface’s first secret identity was Basil Karlo, a horror movie actor who is driven mad after his iconic role from him is recast.
He becomes a serial killer, knocking off cast and crew members working on the set from which he’s been dismissed. Like the Riddler, Basil Karlo would be a scary, believable villain. However, this new world would unlikely support Clayface’s later monstrous appearance, so some creative liberties would have to be taken unless the franchise is willing to explore the more fantastical elements of the Batman mythos.
While Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow was already memorably brought to life by Cillian Murphy in Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, he could be made even scarier in Reeves’ world.
Scarecrow typically tries to drive mass groups to chaos at the hands of his fear toxin, and The Batman opened the doors to large-scale pandemonium by having its villain nearly drowned all of Gotham. The character’s appearance has changed drastically over the years, so there are plenty of options for the rebooted series to adapt to its particular tone. with The Batman having the titular character debate whether or not fear and hiding with good intentions are the best plans of action, a villain that also instills fear could act as an interesting foil.
Ra’s Al Ghul
Like Scarecrow, Ra’s al Ghul memorably debuted in Batman Begins and proceeded to have his presence loom over the remainder of the trilogy, particularly in The Dark Knight Rises.
in The Batman, Bruce Wayne is only in year two of fighting crime and, while his fighting skills are impressive, it’s obvious he’s still too rash. In fact, he’s nearly killed in the third act, alive only because of Selina Kyle. He’ll need a mentor to increase his combat prowess, and Andy Serkis’ now-wounded Alfred can only take him so far. Ra’s would be the perfect mentor and villain to step in.
There are ways to make Anarky work in The Batman‘s universe, and it’s all based on his intelligence. Like Wayne, Lonnie Machin/Anarky is a genius with particular proficiency in tech.
Like Dano’s Riddler, Anarky also has an obsession with drastically altering Gotham to suit his vision. However, unlike Riddler’s efforts to make the people see corruption, Anarky takes things further by striving for a “utopian” society. The character’s inclusion would make for a bombastic finale rivaling Riddler’s flood and would be a good way to up the stakes for the sequel. With Gotham in potential chaos, Anarchy has a perfect opportunity to strike.
As one of several villains directly tied to Bruce Wayne’s past, Dr. Thomas Elliot, AKA Hush, would fit into Pattinson’s Batman saga perfectly with Paul Dano’s Riddler. In fact, the two villains team up to take out their grudge on Wayne in the comics, and The Batman very much appears to set up a return for Damage in some form, whether on the big screen or one of HBO Max’s two upcoming series.
Redditors even have casting suggestions for Hush, ranging from Jack Quaid of the boys to former Batman Ben Affleck. The mystery of Hush’s identity matches the more detective-focused Bruce in The Batmanand his lack of supernatural or superhuman abilities makes him a prime candidate that fans haven’t yet seen on the big screen.
Professor Hugo Strange has never appeared in a Batman film, which is surprising since he’s been a well-known antagonist since the franchise’s early days. He’s also been featured in the arkham video games.
A big factor in Strange’s appeal is his knowledge of Batman’s true identity, which is something not even The Batman‘s Riddler could pull off, even though the responder was right in front of him. Wayne’s identity will almost certainly be a crux of the trilogy’s overall narrative, and Strange’s mob ties and scary experiments would be fine assets to discover it.
In an alternate universe, there’s a version of The Batman directed by and starring Ben Affleck as opposed to Reeves and Pattinson. Joe Manganiello signed on to portray the film’s villain, Slade Joseph Wilson, AKA Deathstroke, a deadly and precise assassin who often aims his sights on Batman and Nightwing. The character got a cameo in Justice League but ultimately saw his unrealized potential.
The Batman already showed that Reeves’ version of Gotham isn’t afraid to show its ugly side, and Deathstroke would make a natural fit in the crime-ridden cesspool. While it’s unfortunate Manganiello wo n’t get his time to shine, it would n’t make sense to merge his DCEU version of him with Reeves’ Gotham.
Two-Face, AKA Harvey Dent, is one of the franchise’s most famous villains, and several variations of him have appeared on the big screen over the years to mixed results. Billy Dee Williams’ Dent was featured in Tim Burton’s original Batman before the franchise shifted direction, resulting in Tommy Lee Jones’ sadistic version in Batman Forever.
It would be interesting to see if the filmmakers could create an even more quotable Two-Face than The Dark Knight‘s, which stands as the best on-screen incarnation of the villain to date. There’s nothing about Dent that would feel illogical in the newest take on Gotham and, as a betrayed good guy turned criminal beyond the point of redemption, he’d fit in well.
Like Bane, Poison Ivy debuted in the franchise’s nadir, Batman & Robin. Unlike that film’s primary villain, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy could fit into the new universe with some tweaking. Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley is an eco-terrorist with expert knowledge of plant life and how it can be modified for destruction.
The character would probably end up being closer to Wonder Woman‘s take on Doctor Poison than Uma Thurman’s Ivy, an angered genius with a particular proficiency for poisons and their distribution.
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