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Small Details You Missed In The Batman Trailer

He is vengeance. 

At long last, the first trailer for Matt Reeves' The Batman has arrived, unleashed to the eager masses at the end of DC FanDome on Saturday, August 22, 2020. 

Starring former Twilight heartthrob, current indie film darling, and perpetual disaster chef Robert Pattinson, The Batman centers on a 30-something-year-old Bruce Wayne, who's in what the kids these days might call an "entanglement" with a mysterious, murderous individual with a penchant for puzzles and handwritten letters. The trailer opens with a masked, goggled man stretching out a long strip of duct tape to cover his victim's face with; the next shot sees that victim's entire head covered in tape with an ominous warning in red ink scribbled across it: "No more lies." Gotham City Police Department commissioner James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) arrives to the scene of the crime to find an envelope resting next to the victim's body, addressed to Batman himself. This killer — evidently Edward Nashton, better known as the Riddler – is toying with the Dark Knight and loving every second of it.

This cat-and-mouse game in which Batman's engaged with Probably Definitely the Riddler mixes in with a larger reckoning breaking in Gotham City. As shown in the trailer, people are being killed, vans are being driven through funerals, groups of people with their faces painted are confronting Batman and demanding answers from him, and, of course, letters with coded messages and cryptic hypotheticals keep showing up. 

For a two-and-a-half-minute clip, the Batman trailer presents a lot of broad moving parts but not a lot of answers. Still, there are a few subtle details that may have slipped under your radar — and may help you as you continue piecing together what The Batman's all about.

A glimpse into Gotham's gangland

Writer-director Matt Reeves has long promised that The Batman will be, at its heart, a detective noir story. It's no surprise, then, that the trailer sets up a world of vicious gangsters and organized crime conspiracies. As we see Commissioner Gordon and the Dark Knight investigate a murder scene wallpapered with political newspaper clippings (many of which have been graffitied with the word "LIAR"), one headline in particular might catch the radar eye of true Batman enthusiasts: "Maroni Drug Bust!"

While he may not stand tall among the ranks of the Caped Crusader's colorful super-powered rogues gallery, mob boss Sal Maroni has loomed large over the street-level corners of the Batman mythos ever since his first appearance on the comics page in 1942. His most distinctive accomplishment in the canon? Splashing District Attorney Harvey Dent with the acid that would transform him into Two-Face. 

The character has been brought to life a few times on screen: Dennis Paladino filled the brief role in Batman Forever, and The Dark Knight saw Eric Roberts playing Maroni as a key figure in Dent's downfall. On the small screen, meanwhile, David Zayas appeared as Maroni across eight episodes of Gotham.

We don't yet know if Sal Maroni himself has a part to play in the story of The Batman, but his frequent rival, Carmine Falcone, will be played in the film by John Turturro. Whether this blink-and-you'll-miss-it headline foreshadows a major plot thread or simply serves as an Easter egg, it's a promising glimpse at the gritty gangland of Gotham that Reeves and company will be exploring.

The real meaning of ?0?1

At the end of the trailer, audiences get a flash of an obscure sort-of number-slash-code: "?0?1." Take the question marks out of the sequence and replace them with the digits that they look like — 2 — and you'll get "2021." This refers to The Batman's current release date of October 1, 2021, but it's also a pretty clear-cut reference to the film's main villain, the Riddler, who's infamous visual motif is the question mark.

Though the Riddler is only briefly pictured during the trailer — and is obscured by goggles and face wrappings — we do know that he's played by Paul Dano, and it's apparent that he'll spend the duration of The Batman psychologically tormenting the Caped Crusader. Throughout the trailer, while we watch Batman receive those terrifyingly cryptic messages from the Riddler, either pinned to frightened hostages or hidden within a crime scene, his antagonizer speaks in voiceover, urging Batman to not tell lies. However, in his twisted search for the truth, it seems that the Riddler goes way too far. Who's telling the truth? Who's lying? What does the Riddler want with Batman, and what does Batman want with the Riddler? Fittingly, there are many questions left to answer.

Did Bruce Wayne just pull an Edward Cullen?

This is, admittedly, a sillier small detail seen in the trailer for The Batman, but hey, a little silliness is needed to break up all the bleakness. One scene in the footage sees Pattinson's Bruce Wayne tackle a young boy to the ground in an effort to save him from being hit by an oncoming SUV, which is barreling through an indoor funeral. (A man inside the vehicle — which is spray-painted with "DOA," or "Dead on Arrival" — is later seen with what looks to be a bomb strapped to his chest and another envelope, addressed to Batman, in his hand.)

Many have noticed that this moment mirrors one from another of Pattinson's movies — the one that turned him into an international celebrity back in the late 2000s. In Twilight, in which Pattinson famously portrayed the sparkly vampire Edward Cullen, Edward leaps toward his love interest, the teenage human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), as a car skids across the school parking lot. Edward saves Bella from getting totally squished, just like Bruce saves that boy from being killed. An interesting parallel, but likely one that the Batman filmmakers didn't really think about. After all, what kind of vigilante would Bruce be if he didn't save innocent Gothamites even when he wasn't wearing the Batsuit?

Whoo's that?

About that envelope we mentioned earlier — inside it is a card, and though the message scrawled within the card is ostensibly the most important element, one must also pay attention to the card itself. The Riddler didn't opt for some generic greeting card to send to Batman (would Hallmark even have a section for "from the tormentor to the tormented" section?), oh no. He selected a card soaked in meaning. 

For a split second in the trailer, viewers can spot the front of the Riddler's card addressed to Batman, which Commissioner Gordon is opening at the scene of the duct-taped victim's murder. The card features the words, "From your secret friend" and "Whoo?", alongside a skeleton and a wide-eyed owl. 

It appears that the owl on the card is a reference to the Court of Owls, a powerful, clandestine organization deeply entrenched in Gotham City's history. A common rhyme used to describe the Court of Owls, created by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, is a sinister one: "Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time, / Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. /  They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed. / Speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send the Talon for your head."

A theory currently circulating the internet is that the Riddler actually knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, and that Thomas and Martha Wayne were part of the Court of Owls.

Colin becomes Cobblepot

On two separate occasions in the Batman trailer action, a mystery man pops up — or, at least a man who looks mysterious. In one scene, he's simply staring down the camera with a menacing look on his face, and in the other, he's behind the wheel of a car that's being pursued by ... someone. Batman, probably, though it could be just about anyone. The character is fairly nondescript: He has dark hair, a longish nose, and a faint scar on his face. Frustratingly, he doesn't really look like anyone on the Batman cast list. 

And that's presumably on purpose. You see, it appears that man is actually Colin Farrell as Oswald "Oz" Cobblepot, otherwise known as the Penguin. Upon seeing the character — who isn't named and only speaks a single line of dialogue in the trailer — and hearing that others believed it was Farrell as Cobblepot, filmmaker Ben Mekler reached out to his buddy, The Batman co-screenplay scribe Mattson Tomlin, for confirmation. According to Mekler, who tweeted about the whole exchange, "it's him alright." 

Michael Marino, the prosthetic makeup designer for The Batman, also shared to his @prorenfx Instagram account a photoset of these scenes from the trailer. He wrote in the caption of the post, "If you haven't seen it yet check out Matt Reeves teaser trailer for The Batman #makeup #spfx #colinfarrell #batman." Any more confirmation really necessary?

Random guesses and grasping at straws

Since Reeves previously noted that only 25 percent of The Batman had been shot before production was shuttered earlier this year, one must bear in mind that there's only so much that can be included in a trailer. While this juicy look at the Batman packed a punch in certain places, in others, viewers may feel like they're grasping at straws trying to parse out meaning. For our part, there were a few moments that caught our attention that may or may not be meaningful. 

First off, Batman declaring "I am vengeance" could be a callback to a line from Batman: The Animated Series: "I am not a disgrace. I am vengeance! I am the night! I am Batman!" Who knows? Maybe the full quote in the film includes some of that same dialogue as well. 

There's also the shot of newspaper clippings from the Gotham Gazette and The Gotham Times with the word "LIES" painted over them. Those clippings are from stories about Gotham Mayor Don Mitchell Jr., who made (fictional) history by winning a third mayoral term. In the film, Jayme Lawson will portray a Gotham City mayoral candidate named Bella Reál. Is the surname "Reál" a not-so-sly hint that she's genuine and Mitchell Jr. was a phony? And moreover, who is Don Mitchell Jr.? The only man with that name who has any kind of association with the Batman universe that we could find is Donald O. Mitchell — not a comic character but a real-life person, a sound engineer who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on 1995's Batman Forever. This is probably a stretch — it doesn't seem like the creative team behind The Batman would name a potentially crooked politician after an Oscar-winner — but there could be something to chew on here.

Is that ... maybe ... ?

Additionally, in the scene in which a group of face-paint-wearing men square up against Batman, there can be spotted a young man whose face is only half painted. He stands out among the crowd members, who have their whole faces covered in black and white paint with various designs. Could this boy's inclusion in The Batman be a reference to Two-Face? It's hard to say, but again, it's interesting to think about.

Sadly, it'll be a fairly long wait for all the unknowns to be resolved. The Batman will swoop into cinemas on October 1, 2021.