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A Familiar Face Is Being Eyed To Play Riddler In The Batman

Riddle us this: who's an actor already immersed in the world of comic book adaptations, who could be making the leap from Marvel Studios to the DC Extended Universe, and who just might become a member of Batman's rogues gallery in a highly anticipated new movie?

You may be drawing a blank on a response, but the folks at We Got This Covered have an answer. 

According to the outlet, Doctor Strange star Chiwetel Ejiofor, known for playing the villainous Mordo in the MCU movie, is in consideration to play the Riddler in director Matt Reeves' The Batman

The upcoming flick — originally meant to be directed and top-lined by Batfleck himself, Ben Affleck, before he exited the project and Reeves stepped in — will purportedly feature a bevy of baddies against which Batman will face. It's expected that the antagonist otherwise known as Edward Nygma, whose name is a play on the word "enigma," will be included in the film's rogues gallery of villains. We Got This Covered claims that The Batman will include "at least six or seven" ne'er-do-wells for the Dark Knight to vanquish, with the Riddler being "all but confirmed" for one of the more prominent positions on the roster of villains. 

For those unfamiliar with the flamboyant villain, the Riddler is the brainchild of Bill Finger and Dick Sprang, who made his print debut in the October 1948 issue Detective Comics #140. A criminal mastermind who relishes in complex riddles and has a flair for the dramatic, leaving clues at crime scenes for Gotham City authorities to find and often boasting about his genius-level intellect, the Riddler is intensely competitive and obsessed with puzzles. This passion began at an early age, starting with a puzzle contest he entered through his school, and evolved into something much bigger and more sinister in his adulthood. When the Riddler learned that he could get away with cheating, he started a life of crime — donning a green-black-and-purple costume littered with question marks, cheating people out of money and pride, and styling himself as an enemy of Batman, whom he deemed to be a worthy opponent in mental combat. In his first stand-off with the Dark Knight and his sidekick Robin, the Riddler attempts to murder them on a pier, then disappears into thin air and leaves his signature question mark insignia behind. 

The mere thought of Ejiofor, who was formidable as the dark arts magician and powerful martial artist Baron Mordo opposite Benedict Cumberbatch's Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange, taking on the role of the Riddler is worth getting excited about. But by We Got This Covered's own admission, it might not actually happen. There are two reasons for this. The first is that Ejiofor may not be the number-one pick for the Riddler in The Batman, and the second is that the Riddler potentially isn't the top choice for Ejiofor to play. 

Reportedly, Ejiofor is just one of a number of actors Warner Bros. is said to be eyeing to play the Riddler in The Batman, though it's unclear as of this writing who else the studio is sizing up for the flick. Additionally, if Ejiofor doesn't end up landing the role of the Riddler, word is that he'll secure a different gig. We Got This Covered's report claims that Warner Bros. has several different roles in mind for Ejiofor — including famous Batman adversary Two-Face (a.k.a. Harvey Dent) and longtime Wayne family ally Lucius Fox, the CEO and president of Wayne Enterprises and the Wayne Foundation. 

It seems pretty plausible that Ejiofor will be involved in The Batman, especially as a villain, considering his past experience playing bad guys on the big screen. Not only did he impress as Mordo in the MCU, but he also lent his gruff voice to the treacherous lion Scar in Jon Favreau's recent remake of The Lion King. Ejiofor is no stranger to villainous roles, so it's not difficult to believe that Warner Bros. is actually eyeing him to play the Riddler. Given that the studio has big competition in Disney, which owns Marvel Studios and is the home of The Lion King, it stands to reason that Warner Bros. might want to reap the rewards that come with having a talent like Ejiofor aboard one of its projects. 

It's also likely that this new report is true based on where the information is coming from. We Got This Covered notes that the source who provided the intel that Ejiofor is on a "wishlist" at Warner Bros. for The Batman is the same source that dished up the info that Robert Pattinson is playing Batman in the new film, breaking the news before Variety confirmed it in an official report. 

If Ejiofor does end up signing on to portray the Riddler in The Batman, he'll follow in the footsteps of Frank Gorshin, who played the character on the 1960s live-action Batman series, in the 1966 film Batman, and on the 1979 TV event Legends of the Superheroes; John Astin, who took on the role during the second season of the Batman show; Cory Michael Smith, who portrays the Riddler on Gotham; and, perhaps most famously, Jim Carrey, who played the villain in 1995's Batman Forever

Since The Batman is still several months away from beginning production, with director Reeves previously stating that the film would get in front of cameras around the end of 2019, it's too early to say for certain whether Ejiofor will play the Riddler, take on a different character, or turn down an opportunity to be in the film altogether. Until Warner Bros., Reeves, or Ejiofor himself comes forward to confirm his involvement, we'll all have to cross our fingers and hope for the best. With any luck, the decision to bring Ejiofor aboard The Batman will be much, much simpler than any of the Riddler's wild puzzles.

The Batman is set for release on June 25, 2021.