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The New Batman Movie May Already Have Its Villains

It looks like the new Batman may be facing a classic combo of villains.

According to sources familiar with the production, writer/director Matt Reeves' nearly-completed script will feature Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin, as the primary antagonist — and it's likely that Catwoman will make an appearance, as well. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

The news comes hot on the heels of last week's bombshell that a deal was all but done to land Robert Pattinson for the role of Bruce Wayne and his batty alter-ego, and that's not all. THR's report goes on to state that at least one source is saying that the final version of the script could feature up to six villains, giving Battinson a formidable rogues' gallery right out of the gate.

Of course, it must be noted that this is not confirmed, and also that it doesn't necessarily seem to be in line with what Reeves has publicly said about the project so far. In January of this year, Reeves told THR that he intended to keep the focus of his first Bat-outing squarely on the Dark Knight himself, with a storyline exploiting the character's rich history in the pages of DC Comics as the World's Greatest Detective. 

"It's very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale," Reeves said of his script at that time. "It's told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it's going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It's more Batman in his detective mode than we've seen in the films." However, Reeves went on to elaborate that this doesn't mean we won't see some familiar, villainous faces. "There will be a Rogues Gallery," he said. "The casting process will begin shortly. We're starting to put together our battle plan. I'm doing another pass on the script and we'll begin some long-lead stuff to start developing conceptual things."

With the production obviously having reached the casting stage, it does stand to reason that the script would be pretty much locked in, meaning that THR's sources could absolutely be right on the money. It doesn't take a super-fan, however, to remember that the Penguin/Catwoman combo is not a new one to the Batman cinematic canon.

1992's Batman Returns, Tim Burton's sequel to his iconic 1989 take on the Caped Crusader, was seen at the time as even darker and grittier than its predecessor, although it would hardly register to modern audiences as either of these things. It did sport a distinctly weirder vibe than Burton's first effort, though, largely in part to Danny DeVito's unhinged, frankly disgusting take on the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer's sultry (but no less unhinged) turn as Selina Kyle, the Catwoman.

Pfeiffer's performance in particular has become entrenched in the public imagination, to the point that when the character of Kyle (portrayed by Anne Hathaway) next appeared onscreen in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises fully 20 years later, the comparisons between the two Catwomen became a major point of discussion around the movie. It's also worth considering that while the Penguin hasn't been seen on the big screen since 1992, bringing Catwoman into the festivities would mark the second cinematic iteration of the character in less than a decade — and, let's face it, even if the casting is spot-on, there will still be a sizable subset of internet commentators insisting that Pfeiffer was better in the role.

At any rate, the Penguin could make a suitably scheming, Machiavellian villain for Reeves' noir-influenced Batman, and one eminently qualified actor has thrown his hat into that ring before the fan-casting could even get started. In January, the very talented Josh Gad — who has lent his distinctive voice to animated projects such as Frozen and 2017's live-action Beauty and the Beast, and appeared as Steve Wozniak in the 2013 biopic Jobs — took to Twitter with a provocative post. Captioned "Good Knight," it was simply a GIF of the great Burgess Meredith in character as the Penguin from the classic '60s Batman TV series.

Of course, this was before casting was underway, so it's likely Gad was just subtly lobbying to be considered. We hope Reeves was paying attention, because it'd be difficult to think of a more perfect choice for the nefarious Mr. Cobblepot. Gad is also close in age to Pattinson, making him a good fit to face off against a younger version of the Dark Knight.

We're sure to get more juicy casting news sometime in the very near future, as Reeves has said that cameras are expected to roll on the flick — which is still currently titled The Batman, although it wouldn't surprise us if this were to change — by the end of this year. We'll keep our ears to the ground, and keep you up on developments as they're announced.