Matt Reeves' The Batman could feature the Riddler as a villain, but who should be cast in that role? While Robert Pattinson has been confirmed as Batman, there are still plenty of question marks when it comes to the rest of the supporting cast. What is of the most interest right now (probably) is who will play The Batman's villain. When it comes to envisioning casting scenarios for one particularly famous Batman villain, Edward E. Nygma a.k.a. The Riddler, there's a decently sized pool of actors to choose from.
Reeves has already teased on Twitter that there may be a trio of villains Batman will come up again in the first of his planned Batman trilogy. In a tweet from September 2018, Reeves shared a photo from a Batman '66 retrospective and one of those photos featured the costumes for villains Riddler, Catwoman, and Penguin. Reeves has avoided confirming which villain or villains will appear in The Batman but it's hard to deny how much fun it would be to see Batman take on three foes instead of one. Add to this the fact that The Riddler hasn't appeared in a Batman film since 1995's Batman Forever when he was portrayed by Jim Carrey and the excitement over the appearance of many villains, including this oft-overlooked one, increases.
In the comics, The Riddler is a particularly unhinged character who operates with a similar chaotic energy to The Joker. However, The Riddler is a fan of puzzles, wordplay, and riddles, deploying them during his crimes to confuse and confound. Whoever ends up playing The Riddler will need to be able to embrace the chaos while also coming off slick, embody the cheekiness The Riddler has while also being able to go into mean criminal mode and act reprehensibly. It's a tall order, but if Reeves is serious about bringing The Riddler on board for The Batman, he should look at the following actors for this part.
Caleb Landry Jones
Caleb Landry Jones has always been a bit of an odd duck but that would be an asset for playing The Riddler. Over the course of his career thus far, Jones has been able to do mild-mannered and sweet (as seen in X-Men: First Class and Queen & Country), he's been able to go into villainous and creepy territory (as seen in Get Out). He's also proven that he can exist in the in-between as a person who outwardly presents himself as even-keeled while internally roiling with intense chaos, as seen in his performances in Antiviral and the Twin Peaks limited revival. Jones is able to move easily between these modes, all while completely consuming the space on the screen and pulling focus. As The Riddler, Jones would get to throw himself into the manic tendencies he's shown on screen, really channeling the wildcard side this villain has.
Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch is just unexpected enough to arouse curiosity about why he's in The Batman, but he's proven he is able to go to some really strange places. As Richard on Silicon Valley, Middleditch has shown he can go to manic, frantic, and occasionally erratic places which would be a real asset in playing The Riddler. Watching Middleditch's Riddler hide behind a charming veneer before switching into a volatile, criminal place would also be fun to see, particularly because he's rarely called upon to do it but the glimmers of it have been glimpsed in his comedy. Middleditch also embodies a solid "know-it-all" attitude which could be channeled into The Riddler's confidence he's always able to one-up the Caped Crusader.
Related: Robert Pattinson Will Be A Great Batman (Just Forget Twilight)
Shia LaBeouf's never played a role quite like The Riddler, but he knows how to entertain (see: every episode of Disney's Even Stevens) and he knows how to go to dark or intense places, as we've seen in Fury, the Nymphomaniac film set, and Charlie Countryman. Casting LaBeouf risks repeating the Jared Leto/Suicide Squad narrative when it comes to actors who go all in on creating a character. However, LaBeouf could commit to turning The Riddler into a more modern take on the character. He is known to throw himself entirely into preparation, deploying various method acting techniques to give his performances an added sense of verisimilitude. It's easy to think LaBeouf's take on The Riddler would veer away from the cartoonish, focusing instead on the unsettling implications Riddler's declining mental health and obsession with riddles and puzzles in relation to his criminal behavior.
Hunter Schaefer is a newcomer to the acting world, but she's already showing immense promise playing Jules on HBO's Euphoria. Casting Schaefer as The Riddler in The Batman would be a refreshing subversion of expectations but it would also offer the opportunity to create a truly original interpretation of The Riddler that could satisfy the need to bring some originality to the Batman film canon. Schaefer in Euphoria is intense and introspective but ultimately very accessible; it's clear to see there are wells of potential worth tapping within her. From a business perspective, casting Schaefer would still allow Pattinson to keep the focus as the star of the piece. But Schaefer would have a huge platform to really stretch and mold herself as an actor, introduce herself to a wider audience, and bring some modernity and life into The Riddler, a character who needs a serious update in his depiction as far as the film version of him is concerned.
Stranger Things Stars Joe Keery Or Dacre Montgomery
Sure, starring on Netflix's Stranger Things would get Joe Keery and Dacre Montgomery through the Batman casting door but they could each offer something vital to the role of The Riddler that makes them worthy of consideration. In the case of Keery, it's not only his physicality which feels Riddler-esque but his ability to deliver a good one-liner and really have fun could be expanded on in The Batman. He could take those comedic instincts to newer, more pronounced heights and really make himself an unpredictable entity. Keery hasn't been given the chance to go to the dark side, so to speak, in his career but allowing him to take that "nice guy" persona and twist it into something absurd and unusual would be interesting to see.
Montgomery, on the other hand, seems comfortable playing a villain. His time on Stranger Things playing Billy has allowed him to fully embrace playing a truly repugnant person who regularly resorts to violence as a means of communicating his feelings. Billy's volatility, as expressed in Montgomery's performance, would be just the right thing to play the darker side of The Riddler. Plus, it'd be fun to see Montogomery go a little zanier and absurdist since he's rarely had the chance to play a non-serious character or someone who isn't the leading man type.
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022