With the reported casting of Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeve's anticipated reboot The Batman, more and more casting is sure to come to light. This film has been in development for years now, experiencing the biggest ups and downs of any recent tentpole studio film. Now that the caped crusader is all but official, it is time to start looking into the pantheon of villains he could go up against.
Batman has one of the best Rogues Galleries in all of comics. That being said, movies have tended to stick with the same four or five villains every time. If Matt Reeves wants to have his film stick out among the many other iterations, he should really embrace the entire catalog of foes. Here are ten villains that he should consider, as well as who could do them justice.
One of Britain's more underrated performers, Jarred Harris would be a perfect actor to portray the villainous Hugo Strange. The son of screen legend Richard Harris (the original Dumbledore), Jarred has trained his whole life to become the actor he is today. The role of Hugo Strange requires a specific level of gravitas.
If you are unaware, Hugo Strange is a psychologist who is obsessed with Batman. He strives to understand his psychology fully and to one day, dethrone him as the Dark Knight. Strange is also one of the rare villains to have discovered the true identity of Batman, holding this over Bruce Wayne many times. Harris, who has played similarly brilliant and scheming villains in the past, would embody this to a tee.
A seemingly forgotten villain in the Batman film universe, introducing Clayface would offer many new adventures for the caped crusader on the big screen. The villain has remained a long-standing foe for Batman since his appearance in Detective Comics #40 published in 1940. Although the title has been held by many, the most known would be former actor turned criminal Basil Karlo.
Karlo became imbued with a powerful and changeable clay-like body which gave him shapeshifting abilities and super strength. A big CGI monster can be easily ruined, but imagine casting an experienced motion capture actor such as Andy Serkis to play the role. Serkis has the perfect skills to give life to such a villain and would elevate him from being a simple beast.
Without a doubt, Emily Blunt is one of the most varied and talented actresses working today. Any studio would be lucky enough to secure her for a significant tentpole feature, especially after her double whammy performances in last year's A Quiet Place and Mary Poppins Returns. Blunt has taken on such a diverse set of roles, that it would only be fitting for her to tackle a much darker persona. In today's entertainment world where superhero worlds are king, what better fit than to place Blunt into a supervillain role?
In regards to Batman's roster, there are several roles Blunt could take on. She has proven both her pathos as a performer and her ability to tackle action heavy set pieces. Perhaps the best natural fit would be Poison Ivy, the plant obsessed Gotham City Siren who grows more detached from her fellow humans by the day. Blunt's nearly unhinged performance in A Quiet Place could provide a tragic template for her take on the eco-friendly villain.
One villain that has yet to make their big screen debut is Man-Bat, aka Dr. Kirk Langstrom. Essentially, Langstrom's story is the Batman Universe's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A man of science, Langstrom attempted to develop a serum which gifted humans with the sonar hearing of bats. Unfortunately, he used himself as the guinea pig for this failed experiment. This failed attempt turned Langstrom into a half man/half bat creature which terrorized Gotham city.
Man-Bat presents a fantastic opportunity for some frightening creature costume design. Instead of going all in on a fully CGI monster, perhaps going down the route of practical effects would result in a more rewarding final product. Who better to bring said beast alive than Doug Jones? Jones has played several similar roles and is favorite of Guillermo Del Toro. Plus, it would be great to see Jones break out of his mold and play a part as himself in Langstrom's human form.
Matt Reeves has stated that The Batman would be far more focused on telling a detective style and noir story. Batman has always been the worlds greatest detective, but his film personas have yet to embrace it fully. With Reeve's finally doing so, this opens up a more extensive possibility for great mysteries from Batman's past to be used as inspirations for film stories.
One of the best in all of Batman's history is The Long Halloween, and the puzzles crafted by The Calendar Man. Obsessed with holidays, the Calendar Man tormented the Dark Knight for a whole year, hatching new crimes centered around days such as Christmas, Valentines Day, and Halloween. This role would require a perfectly creepy persona to embody it. One up and coming talent, Jesse Plemons, would be perfect in this role. His performance in Game Night, though funny, was incredibly unsettling.
One of the most frightening figures in Batman's Rogues Gallery is, of course, Johnathan Crane, aka Scarecrow. This former psychologist uses a complex concoction of psychedelic drugs to enhance fear in his subjects. His obsession with fear leads to his crimes, as he yearns to understand the complexities of the emotion. Doing so, Crane terrorizes Gotham and eventually falls to his delusions in the process.
In terms of casting, Scarecrow requires a tall and lanky performer who can balance mania with a calm exterior. This could be an exciting opportunity to gender swap the role and offer it up to a woman. Tilda Swinton would embody the otherworldly Scarecrow role to a tee. Although she is a prestigious actress, her work in the MCU and other big budget features show that she would be open to different comic book roles.
An incredibly tragic villain, Mr. Freeze has yet to get the proper cinematic treatment. Of course, there are nostalgic fans from the 90s of Arnold Schwarzenegger's campy performance from Batman & Robin. That being said, Freeze has a lot of untapped potential as an onscreen villain, and one that deserves a worthy adaption.
Many have thrown out big names to take on the role, Bryan Cranston, for example, is a huge fan casting favorite. But I think an underrated actor would do wonders with the part. Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito, who played Gus Fring, would bring the right amount of complicated menace to the part that has never been seen.
With all of the reports swirling around The Batman and all of the fan theories, The Penguin seems set to the fan favorite antagonist of the film. It makes sense as well to bring The Penguin in for another go. Danny Devito remains the only film version of the character, not including Cobblepot's appearance on the TV show Gotham.
It feels timely that The Penguin would get another cinematic shot after years of disuse. Many actors are vying for the role, from Disney darling Josh Gad to indie star Paul Walter Hauser. One actor who has not been mentioned much is Nick Frost, star of the Cornetto Trilogy. Frost is an incredible acting and comedic force and would bring a bit of British charm missing from previous iterations.
Armie Hammer has been rumored to play Batman longer than Ben Affleck's whole run as the character. It feels like his name is brought up not only to play Batman every time there's an opening, but also every other superhero under the sun. Sure, the man looks like a living god, but why not get interesting with his casting choices?
Hammer played an incredibly manic villain in Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You, which was a shockingly satisfying turn from the actor. What better superhero role than to cast him as the direct mirror image of the Dark Knight: Harvey Dent. Hammer would play both sides of the Two-Face coin perfectly, embracing the charisma of Dent and the madness of Two-Face.
For some, casting Bill Hader in a supervillain role sounds laughable. That reaction is understandable considering former Saturday Night Live stars are not instantly bankable dramatic actors. Hader has proven though that he is more than just a joke man. He has done tons of voice over work, not to mention his dramatic turn in The Skeleton Twins alongside fellow SNL alum Kristen Wiig. But the best proof of his talent as both an actor, comedian, and director is in his HBO series Barry.
Barry is the perfect blend of absurdist comedy with dark, brooding crime drama. If Hader brought The Riddler to life with the same attention to dramatic detail as he does Barry, it would be unlike anything comic book fans have ever seen. He is perfect for the role.