Home Movie News Batman’s Back, but who’s the villain?

Batman’s Back, but who’s the villain?

by Dave Elliott

Christian Bale as Batman

Warner Bros has set a release date for Batman 3, and it’s July 20th, 2012.

Christopher Nolan is returning to the direct his 3rd instalment of the Batman franchise, along with writer David Goyer, and presumably we’ll see the return of Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman.

Of course the big news will be the announcement of who will be the main villain. After the tragic loss of Heath Ledger, i can’t see them re-casting Joker to make an appearance, so who else could possibly be up for taking the villainous limelight?

The most popular suggestion is Riddler, who would fit in with Nolan’s more ‘grounded in reality’ style of Batman movie, but he’s not the only member of Gotham’s underworld that could work. Nolan managed to fit in Ra’s al Ghul (a 700-year old international Terrorist, who uses ‘Lazarus Pits’ to prolong his life) into a story, so really i think any villain is possible!

We’ve already had Joker, Ra’s al Ghul, Scarecrow, and the criminally under-used Two-Face. Leaving aside Riddler, who else in Batman’s long list of enemies could make the transition from comic to film?

Here’s our Top 5 Villains for Batman 3:

5. The Ventriloquist/Arnold Wesker

Arnold Wesker aka The Ventriloquist and Scarface

Although Wesker himself appears fairly meek and mild mannered, his childhood passion for ventriloquism allows him to release other darker aspects to his character via his puppet Scarface. Scarface appears to totally dominate Wesker, even to the point of physically abusing him. It’s Scarface that plans the crimes, and doles out the violence via his puppet sized tommy gun. It’s always been left fairly ambiguous as to whether Scarface is just an extension of Wesker’s psych, or if there is some sort of actual sentience to the puppet.

Would he work in Nolan’s Batman? A tricky character to move onto the screen in Nolan’s realistic Batman world and make it convincing, but i still think workable. Plus puppets, particularly ones made to look like 20s gangsters, are creepy as hell! Wesker has actually been killed off in the comic books, and replaced by a new female Ventriloquist, but I still think the original would be the way to go if they decided to give him a shot in Batman 3.

Casting: Couple of people spring to mind. Stephen Tobolowsky has the right look and temperament for Wesker, as does Bob Balaban. John Lithgow could also do a decent job in the role.

4. Penguin/Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot aka Penguin

A lot of people will know Penguin from Tim Burton’s Batman, but the Penguin in the comic books these days is actually a far more grounded construction. He comes from a rich family, but turns to crime after being rejected by his high society parents. He’s a Gotham club owner (The Iceberg Lounge), and tries to give the impression he’s a legit businessman to the world, although Batman knows better…

Would he work in Nolan’s Batman? He’s actually be pretty easy to slot into Nolan’s work. Shady club owner, nicknamed the Pengiun because of his grotesque appearance and love of birds, with criminal underworld ties.

Casting: The favourite for Penguin at the moment seems to be Philip Seymour Hoffman (which means it’s unlikely we’ll get him, although he would be a great fit). Other people I think could possibly do it are Paul Giamatti, or even Jack Black, if you could get him to play it straight, and not goof around.

3. The Mad Hatter/Jervis Tetch

Jervis Tetch aka The Mad Hatter

Jervis Tetch – A paranoid schizophrenic genius scientist who’s obsessed with hats and the works of Lewis Carroll… Really, with qualifications like that in Gotham, there’s only one thing you can become. A supervillain called The Mad Hatter. Hatter uses mind control technology embedded into hats as a way of forcing people to do his bidding. Most of his crimes have some connection to the work of Lewis Carroll.

Would he work in Nolan’s Batman? You’d possibly need to tone down some of the more ‘out there’ Lewis Carroll stuff, but in the same way they managed to brilliantly bring Joker into a story more grounded in reality, I think the same would be possible with Hatter. Having just had a new big screen version of Alice in Wonderland though, I rather think they might decide to stay away from Lewis Carroll for Batman 3.

Casting: Everyone says Johnny Depp for Mad Hatter, but seeing as he’s now done that, i can’t see him wanting to play it again. Timothy Spall is a name i’ve always thought if when casting Jervis Tetch, although i’ve also seen Sam Niel‘s name passed around. One name that did spring to mind was Mike Myers, so long as you could to get him to play it fairly straight.

2. Hush/Tommy Elliot

Tommy Elliot aka Hush

Hush is a fairly recent addition to the Batman mythology (first appeared Nov 2002). Dr. Thomas Elliot is a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne who came from a similar background. However, there was one key difference between the two children… Unlike Bruce, Tommy despised his parents… Tommy’s father was an abusive drunk, and he resented his mother for being too timid to stop the abuse his father laid on his wife and his son. So when Tommy cut the brakes on his parents car, craving the independence and wealth killing them would bring, Tommy is enraged when his mother be saved by Bruce’s father Dr. Thomas Wayne. Driven to taking jealousy of Bruce’s life (because he was ‘lucky’ both his parents died), and revenge for Thomas Wayne saving his mother, Tommy takes on the moniker ‘Hush’, and sets out to destroy both Wayne and Batman, mentally and physically.

Would he work in Nolan’s Batman? Tommy Elliot would fit into Nolan’s version of Batman perfectly. On the face of it, he’s a fellow playboy friend of Bruce Wayne. But underneath he’s a very dark twisted character out to destory the hero. He’s no where near as well know to the general public as some of Batman’s other major villians, which the studio may have issue with. However, he has worked with/manipulated other villains in the comics, so it’s entirely possible they could work Hush into a story together with a more well known face like Riddler.

Casting: A lot of people seem to like Michael C. Hall for Riddler, but i really don’t see it. Riddler is pretty annoying and whiney, and it just doesn’t seem a good fit for me. Hush however… All smiles and friendly to his face, whilst underneath he’s a deeply calculating, murdering sociopath… That i can see Hall playing! Paul Bettany is the other name that I think could pull off this role.

1. Black Mask/Roman Sionis

Roman Sionis aka Black Mask

Roman Sionis grew up in a wealthy family, where his parents prided themselves on keeping up appearances, regardless of the truth. Roman grew to hate his family for the hypocrisy and ‘masks’ they wore to keep up this front. After his parents refused to bless his growing relationship with a girl who worked at his father’s cosmetics firm (they saw her as working class, and therefore unsuitable), Roman burned down the family’s mansion, killing both of his parents. He not only got to keep seeing his girl, but also inherited the family fortune. Unfortunately, not knowing anything about cosmetics, Roman runs the company into the ground, only to be faced with having to sell out to Wayne Enterprises. A humiliation which is added to by the fact the girl he murdered his parents for dumps him in front of the entire staff… Humiliated and broke, Roman turns to a life of crime, hiding his identity using a black mask, carved from his mothers ebony coffin lid. Discovering he has an aptitude for the underworld, he soon draws the attention of The Batman. During an attempt to evade Batman, Roman sets fire to a building, only to find himself trapped. Although Batman saves him, his Black Mask is now permanently burned onto his face…

Would he work in Nolan’s Batman? He’s basically an underworld boss who hides his identity with a mask, so it’s not hard to see him fitting into Nolan’s world. Plus his a great character. Yes, he’s cruel, evil, and psychotic, but unlike a lot of Batman’s supervillain’s, he’s not insane. He’s sarcastic, witty, and usually exasperated by the fact that he’s surrounded by idiots and lunatics. Could be a wonderfully dark role to bring to the screen.

Casting: There is one overriding name that comes to mind when i think of who could play Black Mask, and that’s Mark Strong, although I do think Eric Bana could also work well.

Have Your Say!

So that’s what we think, but who would you like to see taking on Batman in the next movie? You can answer using the poll below, or leave any suggestions in the comments!

[poll id=”12″]

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