Which Penguin And Riddler Versions Are in ‘The Batman’?

When it comes to Batman villains, Penguin and Riddler haven’t appeared on the big screen since the ’90s films Batman Returns and Batman Forever respectively. That all changes with The Batman, which will feature dramatically different takes on the characters than Danny DeVito’s gothic performance and Jim Carrey going full rubber-faced camp.

In the new film starring Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight, Colin Farrell takes on the role of Penguin while Paul Dano steps into the more prominent role of Riddler, who will push Batman to the limit over the film’s three hour runtime. As for which version of the villains the two actors will be playing, these will be entirely new takes with varying degrees of influences from the comics and even a little dash from the Batman: Arkham video games.

Colin Farrell’s Penguin Is A Little Bit Fredo Corleone

In an interview with MovieMaker magazine, Farrell revealed that his Penguin (a.k.a. Oswald Cobblepot) will have a brokenness to him that will be reminiscent of John Cazale’s Fredo Corleone in The Godfather films.

“Matt [Reeves] was just talking about somebody who had very real and very lofty ambitions, but never really had the opportunity or the chance to explore them, and was maybe looked upon as someone who was handicapped, whether it was psychologically, intellectually — Fredo was frowned upon as less than the other brothers, and maybe Oz as well, in his life, was looked upon as somebody who wasn’t capable,” Farrell said. “And so that’s one of the things that fuels Oz.”

Riddler The Batman Paul Dano
Warner Bros.

Paul Dano’s Riddler Has Shades of ‘Mindhunter’ And The Zodiac Killer

Dano’s Riddler is probably the most dramatically different from the comics. While Farrell’s Penguin still maintains the character’s gangster roots, Reeves told Total Film that Dano’s Riddler will go in a wild new direction inspired by Mindhunter and the Zodiac Killer, but his actions aren’t entirely about the killing.

“He’s not just a serial killer. He definitely has a political agenda,” Reeves said. “There’s a terrorist aspect to him. He’s indicting the city for what it is. And one of the things he’s doing with each of these crimes is, he’s attacking the so-called legitimate pillars of the city. The whole point of it was to put [Batman] on the path of trying to solve a mystery that was not only going to reveal the history of the city, and why it’s so corrupt, but that also is going to turn at a point, and become actually quite personal.”

The Batman swings into theaters on March 4.