Batman 3: Who’s the Next Villain?
Now that Inception is behind him, Christopher Nolan can now focus on what might be his most difficult film to date; his final act in the Batman Trilogy. The fan expectations I fear will never be met and commercially, it will be surprising if lightning can be captured once again. No story details have been released whatsoever, so obviously the rumor mill is going mad with ideas and suggestions.
Where can he take the next film as a director? How will it all end? We may not know the answers, but we can certainly speculate with everyone. Today we will do just that with a co-op venture from The Mayor and The District Attorney. We have each selected our choices for villains and the actors we feel would most suit the role. Please leave your own feedback in the comments and we can all debate and speculate…it’s all we have.
Edward Nigma is obsessed with riddles, puzzles, and word games. He enjoys getting into the mind of Batman and Gotham City itself with complex clues for his latest ruse. Some fans have expressed concerns about the Riddler being a little too reminiscent of The Joker to put in the next film, and I would agree if not for Christopher Nolan being at the helm. Nolan is a fan of puzzles and mystery himself as seen in almost all his films, most recently Inception. It would be interesting to see what the Riddler could do if given the chance by Nolan. He can challenge Batman with something more than strength and manpower, his mind. The Riddler is not a killer; he just has the biggest ego of all Batman villains. In the case of Nolan’s Batman 3 we need an actor who can portray that narcissistic and quirky character.
Crispin Glover – With an even more underground love fest than Reubens is George McFly himself, Crispin Glover. This quirky gentleman would be great as The Riddler; he wouldn’t have to stretch too far from his role in Willard that’s for sure. I believe that Crispin is my top choice for this role and I think fans would get behind it. One look into those eyes and you’re instantly scared…and puzzled.
Paul Reubens – Yes, Pee Wee Herman himself. His more dramatic side surprised a lot of people with Blow and more recently Life During Wartime. The man has the stature and grace (seen as the flamboyant Pee Wee) to pull this role off. Tell me you can’t imagine him with the question mark cane and sinister smile. This could be the role that defines comeback.
Many people didn’t like Tim Burton’s take on The Penguin and subsequently, Danny Devito‘s portrayal of the supervillain which surprised me as I was one of the many people who quite enjoyed it all. Oswald Cobblepot is one of Batman’s oldest, most persistent archenemies. His crazy umbrellas and thievery make him one of the more fun baddies in Gotham. He is a mobster above anything else and that is certainly something I trust Nolan would capture more so than any deformity that Penguin may have acquired in other versions. He is an aristocrat with a lot of power so it would not be hard for him to take over Gothams underground while Batman is on the run, referring of course to when we last left the caped crusader in The Dark Knight. The Penguin is one of the best, it would take an actor with a certain physical presence to pull off a role like this.
Toby Jones – Now here’s an actor who knows the ‘hey it’s that guy’ treatment all too well I’m sure. His roles are often supporting but never of lesser value or praise than that of the main star of a film. Jones really broke out with his portrayal of Truman Capote in Infamous in 2006 (overshadowed by Capote, also in 2006). He simply looks menacing enough to play The Penguin while bringing class to the role as well, Penguin is an aristocrat right? Let’s snob him up a bit and have some fun.
Paul Giamatti – The man can be ugly (sorry Paul) and ruthless. He stole the show for me in Shoot ‘Em Up as a criminal boss and his lethargic take on Harvey Pekar in American Splendor truly defined him as a schlub. I trust he has the energy for this role and could bring The Penguin to true form as a mobster trying to take over Gotham.
Now if the Riddler is playing too close to the Joker card, then certainly Harley Quinn is just blatant. For me though, it’s totally justified and could make for some great fun with the always popular revenge theme. This would by the least likely to occur and yes, my least popular choice out of the three character picks, but damn it could be great. Harley Quinn was first introduced in the always fantastic Batman: The Animated Series (video below). She is a frequent accomplice and the girlfriend The Joker; see where the trouble lies now? Would it be in bad taste to even acknowledge The Joker in the final act of Nolan’s Batman? Would it be in bad taste not to? For those gamers out there who took part in the only good Batman video game, Arkham Asylum, you know just how crazy Harley Quinn can get – and how hot. Yeah I said it. It would take a strong female lead to take on the character and do it justice.
Christina Ricci – Who knew Wednesday Addams would grow up into one hell of an actress? Ricci has starred in a lot of great films and seems to have gained more and more recognition as she continues her career. She’s not an A-list actress; she will even admit this and blame it on her small stature. She would be just perfect for this role. We know she can be dark, quirky and if you have seen Monster, you know she can also be insane. Could Ricci bring Harley Quinn to the big screen? Could she lead a movie this huge alongside Batman as the main antagonist? I’d accept it.
Pauley Perrette – I thought this seemed like an easy choice, but go figure no one I know watches NCIS (me neither). It was when I was changing channels on the TV a few weeks back and stopped locking my attention on Pauley Perrette and thinking to myself she must be secretly or subconsciously auditioning for the role of Harley Quinn. The double ponytail was an easy one, but the gothic like style she holds is an added bonus.
While the Joker was a self professed ‘mad dog let off his leash’, the Riddler is something totally different. He is a thinker, a schemer, an intellectual match for the caped crusader. His intelligence is only outweighed by his ego, and he would be a superb choice for our villain. Finding just the right actor to play the part poses quite the challenge. With Heath Ledger starring as the Joker, we – the fans, were completely and utterly spoiled. Anything less will be a disappointment, and for that I find it important that an actor of iconic stature take the lead.
Johnny Depp – Yes, probably the most obvious and most frequently tossed around name people are clamoring for, and for good reason. Depp has the ability to take already familiar characters and give them a fresh spin. His lanky appearance and bizarre persona fused with the ego-maniacal intellect of the character could be a combination that could stand the test of time.
Paul Bettany – While casting for The Dark Knight, Bettany’s name surfaced more than once. I am of the belief that an appearance as the Joker would have been lackluster, yet Bettany seems perfect for the role of Edward Nigma. The skinny body type, shifty eyes, thinning blonde hair; plus this guy was in Wimbledon, how much more sinister could it get? Riddle me this: Bettany appeared in A Knight’s Tale along with Heath Ledger. That’s not a riddle, but now you know.
This reboot of the Batman franchise has done a lot of things right. One of which is the ability to take these ridiculous characters and develop them with a foundation of realism. Of all of the Batman villains I find the Penguin lends himself as the best example. While Batman Returns went rather outlandish with flippers, fish eating, and a legion of penguins, Batman 3 can and should go a completely different path. The Mayor and I both completely agree; the Penguin lends himself to organized crime very well. By the end of the Dark Knight we saw Batman on the run, now seems like the perfect time for the Penguin to rise to power and put the ‘organized’ back into organized crime.
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Probably my favorite pick for the role of the Penguin; Phillip Seymour Hoffman could play a more eloquent portrayal than we may be used to envisioning. As lame as Mission Impossible 3 was, there is a villainous role to build upon when re-imagining the Penguin.
Bob Hoskins – First off, he looks like a criminal (sorry Bob). He has the attitude, and the ‘figure’ to perfectly play the part (sorry again Bob). The only thing holding him back may be that accent, but hey, who is to say the Penguin can’t be a Brit? Check out his role in Unleashed, he’s one savage man.
Well, they call it a reboot for a reason. To say Bane wasn’t portrayed accurately in Batman & Robin would be an understatement. Am I asking Bane to be powered by a poisonous ‘venom’ bending to the will of Poison Ivy? Hardly. Batman 3 is shaping up to be a confrontation between Batman and Gotham itself. With that relationship being so complex, having such a simple and easily understandable villain makes sense. While it is important to have an appearance from a trademark villain, it is less important for that villain to be the central struggle. The storyline could be very straightforward and connect directly with Batman Begins to bring this story full circle. At the end of the first chapter, we saw the inmates of Arkham Asylum and escape into the city. Having Bane act as the final villain left at large provides a symbolic representation of Batman finally cleaning up the streets and restoring order to Gotham.
Jason Statham - Christopher Nolan has the unique ability to take source material and craft it in such a way that it does justice to the character while maintaining an original feel, this would be no different. Statham isn’t huge, but when you look at the fight sequences of the Transporter series it’s easy to envision a very intense confrontation with Batman. To see someone physically outmatch our hero could create an epic action packed confrontation suitable for the climax of the franchise.
Vin Diesel - I know, not really the finest actor of our generation, but upon further examination the look is more important than the acting itself. Bane is not a very vocal character, simply put; having a psychotic monster is all you need. The character isn’t complex; Vin isn’t complex, a match made in heaven.
The District Attorney and I may have different hopes when it comes to who Nolan ultimately decides for a villain, but when it comes to concluding a trilogy of this magnitude, we can both agree; we are curious as hell. This is Batman we are dealing with, resurrected from the dead and brought back to life to make the filmmaking world take notice and realize good super heroes are hard to find. Also, I think we proved here today, harder to cast as well. Without a finished story in place, casting at this stage cannot be attributed to anything beyond rumor or suggestion, so don’t take our picks as anything but fun.
So How Is It Coming Along?
- On February 9, 2010, it was announced that Christopher Nolan had “cracked” the story of a sequel to The Dark Knight and has committed to return to that project with Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer working on the script.
- Nolan explained that as long as he is directing, Robin will not be appearing in the franchise. Christian Bale has gone on record saying he would leave the franchise if Robin was introduced.
- Nolan considers the Penguin difficult to portray on film, explaining, “There are certain characters that are easier to mesh with the more real take on Batman we’re doing. The Penguin would be tricky.”
- Nolan has also confirmed that Jonathan Nolan is writing the script and that the villain of the film “won’t be Mr. Freeze.”
- In April 2010, Warner Bros. announced the film will be released on July 20, 2012.
- In June 2010, Nolan confirmed that the Joker will not return in the
- On June 30, 2010, Nolan confirmed that the script written by Jonathan Nolan has been finished
- The film will begin shooting in April 2011.