Penguin looks to have a future in Warner Bros.' DC universe as the potential villain of either The Batman or Birds of Prey. There have been plenty of shakeups along the way as WB attempted to start a cinematic universe all their own. The biggest question that DC has faced over the last year or so has been the status of Ben Affleck. He stepped down as director and writer of The Batman and rumors have shown a pattern of indecision when it comes to his future as Batman. This hasn't just held up Matt Reeves' film but likely all Batman-related projects too.
However, WB isn't going to just let Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn waste away and have made Birds of Prey one of their focuses. The project now has a director in Cathy Yan and will feature Harley, Batgirl, and more female DC characters prominently. But unless they were all going to fight each other, they'll need a villain. It may just be Penguin, if Reeves doesn't use him first.
Variety reporter Justin Kroll shared some news on Penguin's DC future on Twitter today. Even he says to take the following information with a grain of salt considering how much change the DC universe experiences, but it looks like Penguin is coming sooner rather than later. According to his sources, Reeves may have settled on Penguin as the main villain for The Batman, but it isn't finalized as he's still working on the script. If Reeves does go in another direction, though, one of the scripts for Birds of Prey features Penguin as the villain. Either way, Oswald Cobblepot's return to the big screen looks to be happening.
If Reeves does in fact choose Penguin to be the villain of The Batman, it will mark the character's first big screen appearance since Danny DeVito played him in Batman Returns. It also shows a very different take than what Affleck was imagining when he was in charge. Initially, Affleck wanted Batman to battle Deathstroke, who is a physical and tactical equal. Penguin doesn't present the same challenge physically for the Dark Knight however, but it does point to a crime-centric story.
Should Reeves ultimately change his mind, Penguin could fit in well with Birds of Prey. It would be a bit surprising for the movie to not feature a female villain too, but also raises questions over how the film and team will be structured. Is Penguin a common enemy that brings Harley and Batgirl and their friends together? Or, could he be the film's MacGuffin and be the source of conflict between the heroines? Interestingly enough, Birds of Prey could force Reeves' hand in deciding as it is likely to begin production before his Batman.
Whatever fate Penguin ultimately gets, it is far too early to know definitively. Kroll notes that the DC universe is constantly changing, so Penguin could be in the plans today and then not have a future at all by next week. If he does make his return, Josh Gad looked to be expressing interest in the role over the past year, so maybe this has been the plan all along. Hopefully Penguin's future introduction will be finalized soon for either film.
The Batman and Birds of Prey are currently in development but do not have release dates.
Source: Justin Kroll
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