‘Gotham’ Casts Its Riddler With Cory Michael Smith

Published 1 year ago by

Gotham TV Show Riddler Cast Cory Michael Smith Gotham Casts Its Riddler With Cory Michael Smith

Comic book fans can debate the promise or pitfalls of adaptations like Fox’s upcoming Gotham, set to tell the story of Batman’s beloved city before he (and his villains) grew into their most iconic personas, but nothing gets discussion spinning out of control like legendary characters being cast with real actors. With James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and even a young Bruce Wayne already taken care of, the showrunners have now cast their own take on Edward Nygma – also known as The Riddler.

The honor of bringing Gotham’s riddle-loving reprobate to life on the small screen, as reported by Deadline, falls to Cory Michael Smith, a relative newcomer known as much for his theater performances as those on film. Smith’s most recent work had him performing alongside Emilia Clarke (Game of ThronesTerminator: Genesis) in the Broadway production of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, along with a handful of small-scale indie films.

It’s difficult for most comic fans to know what to expect from Smith’s version of the iconic Batman villain, but as seems to be the case with the rest of Gotham‘s villains, the show will likely introduce Edward Nygma prior to his emergence as a criminal addicted to nonsensical questions. The scant details provided with the casting reveal confirm as much, portraying “a brilliant but socially awkward forensic scientist who’s eccentric and outgoing and desperate to be liked.” That description bears a strong resemblance to Jim Carrey’s incarnation of the character seen in Batman Forever (1995), but we would bet Fox wouldn’t encourage those kinds of comparisons.

Riddler Batman Forever Jim Carrey Gotham Casts Its Riddler With Cory Michael Smith

Viewers won’t be kept wondering for long, as Smith’s Riddler – like Gotham‘s version of The Penguin – will make a brief appearance in the show’s first episode. What this casting makes even clearer is the network’s decision to fill their central cast with recognizable faces and names (at least to Fox audiences), but turn to lesser known actors for supporting/villainous roles.

It also seems the initial assumptions that the show would be a police procedural simply following Jim Gordon with occasional nods to the Batman source material were completely off base. With each new announcement or revealed cast image, Gotham is shaping up to be one massive origin story for all members of the Batman universe, from Alfred Pennyworth to Jim Gordon and the most infamous villains along the way. That’s certainly a risky proposition given how difficult adapting a single comic book character has proven in the past, but until the show airs, it’s impossible to gauge how successful the show’s writers will be.

What do you think of the casting so far? Are you excited to see so many classic characters re-imagined for the series, or would you have preferred to see a smaller cast and concept? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Gotham is in development and expected to premiere on FOX in Fall 2014.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Deadline

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
TAGS: Batman, Gotham
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  1. This guy is too handsome to be Riddler, not saying that he has to be ugly though

    • I dont think hes handsome, hes clean, not handsome though.

      • “Monkey-Ears”, and appropriately-bony face sticks out enough to not look like a glazed-doughnut-pretty-boy sometimes cast in some movie parts to look Holywood-Handsome, so yeah, looks-wise he probably passes. Riddler and Joker were always my favorite Batman villains. I however have no interest in this series, “Batman without Batman”, “Bat-Babies in Booties”, or whatever. I hope the show does well, I hope those who do have an interest in it enjoy it; but there are a number of other shows I do have an interest in coming up, and I will be spending my time watching those.

        • Afterthought: The great Frank Gorshin…now there was a Riddler!!!
          Do you know besides acting on the old Batman series, he also was a marvelous dancer, a good dramatic actor, a singer, and appeared in a brief bit part in the movie, “Invasion of the Saucer-Men”? (Little Trivia Kibbles-N-Bitz!)

    • Michael Fassbender could also be considered “too handsome” to play Riddler too but he’s my ideal casting choice for the character in movie form so….

      • I always wanted a Nolan style Riddler portrayed by Joseph Fiennes

        • Fiennes could be good but Fassbender physically looks exactly like him, especially that grin he has. Plus he looks like he could be intelligent but deceptively psychotic and Joseph Fiennes never really gave me that impression as yet.

          Then again, I’m still hoping to see David Lyons as The Flash, Todd Lasance as Green Arrow, Kaiwei Lyman as Aquaman, Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon, Shailene Woodley as Barbara Gordon (especially if she walks away from Spider-Man and MJ gets recast) and Jason Momoa as Lobo.

          • Totally. Fassbender would be solid.

  2. DC FAN: “I am very pleased with this choice for the Riddler & I’m very excited for this show and how it will develop & reveal the heart of the city & it’s characters.”

    The rest of the world: “They’re making show about what? Gotham? What? Why?”

    Half season for this lame show before it gets canceled, guaranteed.

    • Don’t see how it’s a lame show when it hasn’t even started filming yet. I mean, we all thought a few other shows would be crappy and they turned out great, likewise we thought potentially great shows would excite us but they turned out to be horrendous.

      If people watch purely for Batman and get disappointed then hey, whatever, their problem really because the show has been talked about from the very beginning as a show more about the mobs and crooked cops of Gotham City years before Bruce became Batman, showcasing Jim Gordon as a younger cop before we see him on the big screen as the older Commissioner we all know him as.

  3. Not to sound rash or anything, but why the hell don’t they just make this a Batman TV series? Granted, fight choreography and gadgets would cost extra but with all these villains I definitely think Batman/Bruce Wayne is FAR more ideal of a hero and production cost wouldn’t be nearly as expensive as some of the shows they’re doing today (Game of Thrones, Agents of SHIELD). I guess they just don’t want to overshadow the upcoming Batman, but I think it would be far more interesting in a live action television series than a Superman sequel.

    • IMO Warner Bros wouldn’t want to have too much batman everywhere since they already have new one cast in the movies. A lot of Batman versions will cause viewer fatigue and they will want to keep their hottest property fresh to make money out of movies.
      So I am betting any character they make for movies will be out of TV.

  4. I wonder how many people want to see Batman without Batman and how long it takes before people turn on it because of that.

  5. By the time Bruce grown into Batman, he’ll be fighting a bunch of seniors. On a serious note, most of Batman’s enemies reach the peak of their gimmicky crime by the time Batman operates in Gotham. Here Bruce is still a kid, so at most we’ll be shown half-assed version of these characters, undoubtedly without each of their own signature costume/ familiar appearance. The showrunners can actually get a bunch of lesser known villains, hell, Falcone family and The Court of Owls (if you follow the New 52 continuity) have strong ties with Gotham, they can be set as the big baddies of seasons length arcs.

    • Isn’t the Penguin supposed to be a senior?

  6. Awesome

  7. It really bugs me that basically none of Batman’s enemies are his contemporaries. Now they’re all already adults when he’s still just a kid.

    • Agreed, I’ve been thinking the same, alot of these characters work so well because they mirror batman/bruce. I think the should ought to stick with a story about organized crime and the seething corruption of the GCPD and the official of the city, and Gordons continued fight against it all.

  8. Doesn’t casting all of the “supervillains” from Batman’s universe defeat the core principle that Batman’s presence created these supervillains? I like the idea of a “Gotham” police show dealing with a corrupt town. But if we are a decade or more away from having Batman then how/why would these villains be deciding to act out the way they do?
    To look at it another way, what literary/artistic point is there to having these intricately crafted, psychologically complex villains if not to contrast to Batman?

    • As far as I’ve heard, so far they’re only planning to use Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman. Penguin came from a corrupt family and is sometimes implied to have been around and active in the criminal world before Batman and the other super villains showed up, how the Riddler spent his time as Eddie Nashton and exactly how and why he became the Riddler is open to interpretation since it’s been done many different ways in the past and Catwoman was supposed to have grown up poor and become a criminal in order to survive so at least those three could work. I don’t know who else they’ll be using though and I agree that there are a lot of ways that this could go wrong.

  9. This guy’s theater background and (relatively) unknown status will, hopefully, help him capture the personality quirks that will later define Riddler. I look forward to seeing him play up Nygma’s (or are they , in fact, going with the “Nashton” identity?) development. So far, so good with the casting of various roles for this show…

    As for those moaning about the WHY of having such a show, why not delve deeper into the history of a world that has been entertaining and fascinating people for several generations? Batman’s origin has been shown MANY times (personally, I enjoy each incarnation, but many see it as overkill, which is fine), but GOTHAM’s has only been shown on occasion in the comics or, at most, hinted at in any other medium. This show seems like it will present the origin of the origin…which, in psychological and/or historical studies, might come across as dry to a regular person but, dramatized for more mass consumption, can easily (and I think WILL) seem like an invitation to an amazing world few of us in our everyday lives really get to experience.

    Of course, if you don’t want to watch it, that is your choice. Just don’t incessantly complain about its existence to those of us (and I both hope AND believe there will be many) who DO want to see it.

  10. YES !!! …my favorite villain of all time finally gets another actor, tired of Jim Carrey

    • Jim Carrey Riddler sucked balls. I don’t blame him for that, he wasn’t asked to take the character seriously so he didn’t, but I always considered him being cast as the Riddler in a Schumocker film to be a huge wasted opportunity.

  11. I’ve never seen this actor in anything so I can’t say how well he’ll play the part, but physically he works. People seem to be complaining that he’s not ugly enough but the Riddler usually isn’t ugly, he’s not normally depicted as classically handsome, but he’s usually not so much ugly as just sort of plain or odd looking. The most important thing, to me any way, is that he not look too tough or physically imposing. I hate in the comics when he’s drawn muscular because I think that takes something away from the character. He’s not supposed to be able to take Batman (or anyone for that matter) in a physical fight, he’s supposed to think his was around having to fight. Besides, the fact that in addition to being a brilliant strategist he was also sort of a wimp and sort of a coward was always part of his charm in my opinion. Another of my concerns is that they’ll make him too smooth and cool, the fact that he’s an unashamed geek is also part of his charm.
    I’m not too optimistic about this because it could very easily wind up being just another bland drama about sexy teenagers but I like the general concept (unlike most people, it seems) and I’m willing to give it a try. I’m also automatically for anything that features the Riddler because there needs to be more Riddler love in the world.

  12. Cory Michael Smith is a 2009 graduate of Otterbein College (now University) where he was an outstanding member of the Dramatic Program. He made his Broadway debut in
    “Breakfast At Tiffanys” after appearing in two other major plays, earning him the title of ‘Breakout Actor of the Year’ for the 2013-14 season.