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What Paul Dano Could Look Like As The Riddler In The Batman

It's official: Paul Dano will be The Batman's Riddler, and across the internet, the fandom is going... batty.

It was recently announced that the Escape at Dannemora actor has signed on to director Matt Reeves "Worlds of DC" entry as the iconic villain, and some of the web's most talented graphic artists have wasted no time at all weighing in on what they think this could look like.

Their interpretations are interestingly varied, because there are a number of directions that studio Warner Bros. could go with its depiction of the Riddler (whose real name in the comics is Edward Nygma, but is listed on the project's IMDb page as Edward Nashton). As portrayed in print and in past live-action interpretations, the Riddler is — how can we put this diplomatically — not a very threatening-looking villain. He's typically depicted as sporting a bright green jumpsuit covered in question marks, and a typical, harlequin-like face mask; casual fans are likely to associate the character either with Frank Gorshin's portrayal in the '60s Batman television series, or Jim Carrey's wildly over-the-top take in 1995's Batman Forever.

Reeves has promised, though, that The Batman will be a more grounded take on the Bat-mythos, featuring plenty of gritty, noir-ish elements and a story which centers on Bats' skills as a detective (a central aspect of the character in the comics which hasn't really been explored onscreen before). It's tough to see such a version of such a typically cartoonish villain that would fit into a dark 'n gritty world like the one Reeves is building — but Dano is a heck of an actor, and if The Batman's costume department needs any suggestions as to how they could best pull off the Riddler, we've got a good place for them to start. (Hint: they should start by continuing to scroll.)

Paul Dano as an awesome traditional Riddler thanks to @bosslogic

@bosslogic is a veteran of fan art, and we've gotta say, we think he hit the nail right on the head with this one. The artist uses the Riddler's iconic question marks as a visual motif in the poster, but not as an element of the character design; the sequined tie and green-tinted glasses are an awesome touch, and we really get a good idea of how Dano could pull off the character's look. Yep, that's the actor's face, all right — but it's tough to recognize him at first, and it's interesting how his whole ensemble is quite evocative of the Riddler, even without any of the baddie's traditional costume elements. Great work here, although we're not so sold on the Iron Bat aesthetic of the Dark Knight's rendering.

An artsy take on Paul Dano as the Riddler by @mazuriofficial

The awesome @mazuriofficial brings us this sparse and peculiar take, rendered in black-and-white. It actually kind of gets cooler the longer you look at it; the hat, with its green band and question mark-emblazoned card, is a nice demonstration of how Reeves could let audiences know that this is the Riddler without (once again) falling back on some version of that silly costume. Less is more with this one; we kind of dig it.

Paul Dano is the Riddler in a top hat courtesy of @iHasanKazi

@iHasanKazi is an awesome artist, and while he seems to have fallen back to a more Tim Burton-y, Joel Schumacher-y aesthetic here, it actually kind of works. Again, the ensemble is suggestive of the Riddler without going too far into Cartoonland, although we're not exactly sure about the question mark staff. Unless it, like, releases gas or something. Wait a minute, is that gas clouding the ground at the bottom of the image? Perhaps we're onto something here.

Paul Dano is a freaky scarred Riddler thanks to @johnkregan

Just... holy crap, this is crazy. From @johnkregan comes this magnificently minimalist (try saying that five times fast) version, which doesn't appear to have any Riddler-esque details at all upon first glance. Then, you notice the shape of that gnarly scar, and you begin to think that this might be a work of genius.

Somehow, we get the feeling that this might actually come closest to the direction Reeves will take his character design. If so, it would be difficult to overstate how freakin' on board we would be. Sublime work here, in our humble opinion. But then again, there's always room for more traditional takes...

Paul Dano is the Riddler, and the gang's all here, by @ultraraw26

Okay, all of that stuff we were just saying about minimalism and stark character design? Give us a minute, we may be rethinking that.

This piece by @ultraraw26 gives us three for the price of one, and while we're not sure how noir-ish it looks, it's so awesome that it just doesn't really matter. The design of Robert Pattinson's Dark Knight is unique, severe, and imposing; the look of Zoë Kravitz's Catwoman is as cool as any of the tons of designs that have surfaced online; and the Riddler's look is traditional, but not corny, and actually somewhat reminiscent of old-school gangsters. The only announced cast member missing here is Jeffrey Wright's Jim Gordon, although one could certainly argue that simply sticking Mr. Wright in the middle of this craziness in a rumpled suit might have lessened the dramatic effect.

It's always fun to see how many different, equally awesome directions there are for filmmakers to take, and it's a reminder of just how hard Reeves' job really is. But we have a feeling that The Batman is very safe in his hands; it looks as if casting may be starting to pick up steam, and you can rest assured we'll fill you in on all the news to come. The flick hits the big screen on June 25, 2021.