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Matt Reeves Confirms The Batman's Riddler Was Inspired By This Real-Life Serial Killer

As keen-eyed Bat-fans pick apart as much as they can in recent "The Batman" trailers, one thing is clear: Matt Reeves is going dark and deadly with his interpretation of the Caped Crusader, and he's looking back to some bleak chapters of our own history to bring it life. While the last brave souls that have dared to don the cowl have been successful in their epic outings, Pattinson's story seems like it will be a more confined, street-level detective story with a few great villains at its core.

Besides an unrecognizable Colin Farrell as The Penguin, and Zöe Kravitz as side-switching Gothamite, Catwoman, the true threat appears to be Paul Dano's The Riddler. "Appears" may even be the wrong word here, because we've actually seen very little of Dano's rhyming sociopath. This iteration of the cryptic criminal, Edward Nygma, is a far cry from the question mark-obsessed lunatic in green pajamas once portrayed by Jim Carrey. 

In the trailers, we see him duct-taping his victims and setting up a crime scene that would make Jigsaw proud. But it wasn't Jigsaw who inspired Reeves' Riddler. It was actually another killer ripped from the IRL headlines.

Reeves' Riddler is inspired by the Zodiac Killer

In an interview with MovieMaker, the former "Dawn" and "War for the Planet of the Apes" director compared Paul Dano's take on one of Batman's most iconic villains to the Zodiac: the serial killer that stalked the Bay Area in the 1970s and was never caught after murdering five people. 

"The premise of the movie is that the Riddler is kind of molded in an almost Zodiac Killer sort of mode, and is killing very prominent figures in Gotham, and they are the pillars of society," revealed Reeves. "These are supposedly legitimate figures. It begins with the mayor, and then it escalates from there."

The Riddler's actions spark Pattinson's protector-in-the-making to swoop into action alongside the one good cop in a very bad city, sparking the alliance between Batman and Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright). 

"He reveals the ways in which these people were not everything they said they were, and you start to realize there's some kind of association," Reeves explained, taking a big screen Bat story in a direction we've never seen before. "And so just like Woodward and Bernstein, you've got Gordon and Batman trying to follow the clues to try and make sense of this thing in a classic kind-of-detective story way." 

We can see how the case plays out when "The Batman" lands in cinemas on March 4.