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Leaked Image From The Batman Reveals The Riddler's Mask

Although fans still have to wait almost a year to see "The Batman" – which is set to hit theaters on March 4, 2022 — thanks to trailers and leaks, they're already getting a sense of what the film will look and feel like. One of the latest leaks features Paul Dano's Riddler, who gets only a brief appearance in the one trailer for "The Batman" that's been released thus far.

The new image gives a clearer look at how Dano's version of the Riddler will be styled in the Matt Reeves-directed film. If the watermark on several versions of the photo that are currently circulating social media is to be believed, it may have come to us courtesy of Australian-based filmmaker and content creator Ryan Unicomb. The original source of the leaked photo is unknown as of this writing, but it seems to be part of a poster, calendar, or other piece of promotional artwork that hasn't been formally released yet.

Paul Dano's Riddler costume is unique, and fans have a lot of thoughts

In the freshly leaked photo — which we aren't going to share here given that it's, well, leaked – Paul Dano's version of the Riddler has his face completely covered, just like he does in the trailer for "The Batman." He's shown wearing glasses and a leather face mask with eye holes, and the image as a whole provides a much clearer idea of how he'll present himself than the super-dark trailer did. The mask appears to have a flap for the Riddler's mouth that can be covered, and doesn't seem to be very high-tech. Instead, it has a distinctly rough feel, as if Dano's character sewed the whole thing together himself. 

It's also much different than the way the Riddler has been depicted in DC comics before. In the comics, the Riddler has historically been shown decked out in shades of green, purple, and black, sporting over-the-top costumes emblazoned with his trademark question mark insignia. This is the look that Jim Carrey adopted when he played Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler, in Joel Schumacher's 1995 flick "Batman Forever." A Riddler wearing a full mask that looks totally homemade is a far cry from what fans are used to seeing.

After getting a glimpse of the leaked image, fans have expressed their excitement for the approach that director Matt Reeves appears to be taking with "The Batman." One fan wrote on Twitter, "The Zodiac Killer vibes Riddler is giving off in Matt Reeves' 'The Batman' is the exact reason why I know he's going to blow our minds."

Another user added, "I have no issue with the Riddler's new look in 'The Batman' 2022. He looks frightening and iconic in his own unique way. It's an intriguing reinterpretation of this character. We've had plenty of classic Riddler looks on screen now so I'm fully embracing this fresh take."

Paul Dano is one part of the all-star cast the film assembled

There are plenty of reasons to be excited for Paul Dano's turn as the Riddler, but he's not the only actor in the film worth celebrating. Robert Pattinson is set to take on the main role in the film, playing a younger version of Bruce Wayne, and the supporting cast also includes Zoë Kravitz as a pre-Catwoman Selina Kyle, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Colin Farrell as Oswald "Oz" Cobblepot (aka Penguin), Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, and Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth. 

"The Batman" is set in the early days of Bruce Wayne's time as a crime-fighter and protector of Gotham, and Dano's Riddler is set to be the film's main villain, a serial killer who begins leaving clues behind at the scene of his murders. The element of clues makes the Zodiac Killer a fairly natural point of comparison for Dano's version of the Riddler. For those unaware, the Zodiac Killer, a mass murderer who killed seemingly random people in northern California in the '60s and — according to the murderer himself — '70s, was famously fond of taunting the police and newspapermen who were working to identify his real identity. It seems Dano's Riddler will do something similar; in the trailer, Batman reads a cryptic letter the Riddler left behind on a dead body. All a part of his love of riddles, right?

Fans already suspect Dano's Riddler may make him an all-time great villain

Even without seeing much of Paul Dano's Riddler in the first "Batman" trailer, fans have already been hyping him up — arguing that the Emmy-nominated actor has everything it takes to bring Edward Nashton to life and infuse his criminal alter-ego with a terrifying believability. Heck, many are convinced that Dano's performance will stand as one of the best in the history of comic book adaptations. For countless fans, this newly leaked photo of the Riddler's mask only reaffirms these beliefs.

"Even though we have to wait until next year, I just can't help but have the feeling that Paul Dano is going to crush it as The Riddler in 'The Batman'," one user wrote on Twitter. "This could be potentially one of the best comic book movie villains." Another tweeted, "Paul Dano's Riddler is going to be one of the greatest [comic book movie] villain performances of all time mark my words." 

Back in May 2020, Dano spoke to the Playlist, revealing that he was excited about what "The Batman" could be. "I feel really good about it. I think Matt Reeves is the real deal. I was really surprised by his script, which I think is, is potentially really powerful," Dano said, joking that he couldn't say much about the film without getting in trouble. "There's something fun there in my character and in all the characters. It's the kind of movie that we're just desperate to share on the big screen in a big way. ... It will be worth [the wait]. It's going to be really cool."

Start counting down the days for "The Batman" to hit theaters on March 4, 2022.