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Has The Batman's Rogues' Gallery Been Revealed?

The Batman may have a whole heap of villainous trouble to deal with.

A report from our friends at We Got This Covered states that Robert Pattinson's Dark Knight will face six, count 'em, six villains in his first solo outing — and also reveals exactly which baddies the production team has in mind: the Penguin, Catwoman, the Riddler, Two-Face, Firefly, and the Mad Hatter.

As we've previously reported, WGTC has been all over The Batman casting news. In February, the website cited undisclosed "sources close to the production" which had informed them that a villain called "The Brain" — almost certainly the production's code name for Bats' most nefariously intelligent nemesis, the Riddler — would be featured in the film. Then, after scoring a peek at a casting report last month, WGTC broke the news that the Penguin and Catwoman  (a familiar combo to fans of Tim Burton's Batman Returns) were set to appear.

Still,the leaks kept coming. Just last week, another unidentified source whispered that none other then Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face, would also be livening up the festivities. (For those keeping score at home, that's four deadly villains so far.) This same source implied that the studio was intent on filling out The Batman's rogues' gallery with two more characters, with the Scarecrow and Bane said to be under consideration — but, according to today's report, this will not be the case, with Firefly and the Mad Hatter having been subbed in.

Of these two, Firefly seems like the best fit for the noir-ish narrative, focusing heavily on Bruce Wayne's status skills as a detective, which writer/director Matt Reeves has in mind for the film. The character (real name Garfield Lynn) first appeared way back in 1952, in the pages of Detective Comics #184, in which he was given his interesting backstory. An expert in pyrotechnics who plied his trade in the motion picture industry, Lynns found himself mired in poverty when work dried up. Like so many of Gotham's less fortunate citizens, he soon turned to crime — drawing the attention of Batman and Robin, who captured him during a robbery attempt.

Incensed by the injustice of his situation, Lynns began lashing out with acts of arson, with which he soon became obsessed. Seeking ever bigger targets, he soon bit off more than he could chew when he set fire to a chemical factory. (Is it just us, or are there way too many chemical factories in Gotham than the city really needs?) The fire raged out of control, consuming Lynns and causing severe burns all over his body.

Undeterred, the crook made himself a special fire-resistant suit and an array of new weapons, mostly of the flamethrowing variety, and took on the guise of the supervillain Firefly. He supported himself with freelance mercenary work and arson-for-hire jobs, often crossing paths with the Caped Crusader.

According to WGTC's report, the document which they managed to sneak a peek at indicates that Lynn's backstory will be slightly retconned to make him an orphan who goes on a fire-y rampage against Gotham's more fortunate citizens. His activities would make a good first case for the Batman to crack, and an orphan who grows up to violently rage against Gotham rather than trying to protect it could make a very interesting foil.

As for the Mad Hatter, his history stretches even further back in DC lore, with his first appearance coming in Batman #49 in 1948. Originally presented simply as a common criminal with an unusual affinity for the Alice in Wonderland character after whom he named himself, the character (real name Jervis Tetch) has been shown to possess a high degree of skill in electrical engineering, a skill which he used to produce his signature devices: hats which make their unwilling wearers bend to his will. Once attached to some unfortunate soul's head, they are nearly impossible to remove, and their mind-control technology is capable of affecting everyday people and superhumans alike.

In our humble opinion, the Hatter seems like an odd choice for the grounded, gritty take Reeves seems to be going for. An Alice in Wonderland-themed villain who uses mind control hats would be a tough sell to modern audiences in any event, and it's easy to see how his inclusion could be perceived among fans as sliding back toward the often over-the-top ridiculousness of Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.

As to the other baddies said to be on tap for The Batman, any or all of them could be excellent choices for fresh takes, if properly executed.The Penguin and the Riddler are iconic villains whose previous big-screen appearances tended toward the garish and comedic, and while Two-Face was was certainly done justice by Aaron Eckhart's performance in The Dark Knight, many fans felt (rightly) that the character was given too little screen time and an arc that felt somewhat rushed. As for Catwoman... we don't envy the actress tasked with overcoming the memory of Michelle Pfeiffer's iconic turn as the character in Batman Returns

Of course, we'd be remiss not to drive home that none of this is confirmed, and that characters could be swapped out or deleted altogether before Reeves' final shooting script is in place. Front-loading a film that Warner Brothers hopes will kick-start a trilogy with six villains seems mightily ambitious, and before that script is locked in, Reeves just might want to consult with original Spider-Man series director Sam Raimi about the phenomenon known as Villain Bloat.

Whatever course he chooses to take, though, we tend to think that Reeves knows what he's doing, and we're rooting for him to stick the landing. The man has yet to turn in a bad feature; his directorial breakthrough was 2008's Cloverfield, which took the found-footage genre to previously unexplored areas. He followed that up by helming a respectable adaptation of a critically lauded foreign feature (Let Me In) before heading up the final two entries in the revitalized Planet of the Apes series, both outstanding flicks.

What we're saying here is that we're firmly on board the Reeves train, and we have every confidence that the director will give us the Batman we need... and the Batman we deserve. We'll know for sure when the flick hits the big screen on June 25, 2021.