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12 Villains We'd Want To See In The Batman 2

2022's "The Batman" takes major cues from the long history of Batman comics. Director Matt Reeves has cited Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's "Batman: Year One" and its spiritual successor, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's "Batman: The Long Halloween," as especially prominent influences, among others. This news delighted longtime Batman fans: There are few better foundations for a director to build on than these classic tales. This Batman, ably portrayed by Robert Pattinson, isn't just a hard-hitting vigilante — he's a sharp-eyed detective navigating a city where crime and order aren't always easy to tease apart.

With these classic comic storylines acting as inspiration, Reeves' Batman is poised to go far. What might the future hold for this Dark Knight? He could catalyze a shift from organized crime to costumed crime, create a power vacuum, or even ally with his alleged enemies. No matter where he goes or what he does, however, one thing is certain: He'll need colorful rogues to square off against. These are the villains we want to see terrorize the grimy, gritty Gotham streets in "The Batman 2."

Mr. Freeze

Mr. Freeze's definitive origin story is not in a movie or comic, but in the fan-favorite "Heart of Ice" episode of "Batman: The Animated Series." This installment captures Mr. Freeze's quest to cure his wife Nora's debilitating disease so well, it's proved to be timeless. As a mixture of tragedy and violence is in the DNA of "The Batman," Mr. Freeze would make a great choice for the sequel.

"The Batman 2" could play up the progression of organized crime to super crime, with Mr. Freeze as the perfect midpoint. Picture this: Freeze is an amoral scientist willing to take money from anyone in an effort to further his research and save Nora. When organized crime's cash flow falters, Freeze is forced into robbing banks. As the film progresses, Freeze slides down a slippery slope and begins to realize that crime is the more lucrative hustle — and that it has no one to report to. That descent could provide a perfect parallel to the success of his research, while the character's raw emotion could give the audience something to connect with. Further tragedy could arise from the question of whether or not Nora would still support his methods if she knew what they'd become.


Like Mr. Freeze, Clayface's greatest origin story is in "Batman: The Animated Series." The celebrated two-parter "Feat of Clay" finds talented actor Matt Hagen burned by a terrible car accident. His career has spiraled — but then, he's offered access to a substance that restores his looks. But there's a catch: Hagen becomes addicted to the compound, and its creator forces him to use it to impersonate people, including Bruce Wayne. 

This tragic story could slip right into the dark world of "The Batman 2." Though filmmakers might choose to keep the beats of Clayface's animated origin intact, they might also choose to tweak things in interesting ways. If the movie focuses on the transition from conventional crime to superpowered crime, for example, Hagen could be connected to a declining mobster. The compound's supplier might also be rewritten as a mob boss looking to cash in on Gotham's new wave of freak criminals. The film could follow the trail from there: Clayface could end up being a misdirect, a heavy, or something else entirely.


"The Batman 2" offers a perfect opportunity to allow the DC universe to breathe, and for Gotham City to feel the ramifications of previous stories. One of the best choices Marvel Studios has made is letting story events reverberate through multiple films: "Captain America: Civil War" directly sets up "Spider-Man: Homecoming," for example, and every post-"Avengers: Endgame" project addresses the aftermath of its cosmic showdown. If DC wants to follow suit while keeping things street-level, "The Batman 2" could the perfect place to do so.

If the events of "The Batman" create a power vacuum in Gotham City, a villain like Anarky, who's disillusioned with the city's hierarchy, could take Gotham by storm. A fiery radical, Anarky's distaste for both the criminal elements of the city and its apathetic capitalist class are interesting unto themselves, but they could also interact intriguingly with the film's chaotic take on the Riddler. Whether Anarky terrorizes the financial district or Crime Alley, he could facilitate a cohesive continuation of the first film's narrative.


If there is a pattern in Batman's rogues gallery, it's that most of its members have never been handled better than they are in "Batman: The Animated Series." Kirk Langstrom, aka Man-Bat, is no exception. A scientist who transforms himself into a monster, Langstrom is a classic villain. If the events of "The Batman" force less-than-legal operations to close up shop, Langstrom could see his funding dry up. This might push him into experimentation, with beastly results.

Like so many Batman villains, Langstrom is often at his best when he's portrayed as a sympathetic figure forced into selfish action. But on the other wing, he might also see his research as mankind's only chance of long-term survival. Revelations of Gotham's true face, potentially exposed in "The Batman," could slowly creep into the mind of an already troubled scientist, twisting him into a monster — at first in a figurative sense, and then in an entirely literal one.


Crime is one of Gotham's core elements. Usually, Batman stories examine wrong-doing involving wealth, corruption, and desperation. "The Batman" doesn't depart from this, but if a sequel did want to step off the beaten path, Azrael could provide an excellent means to do so. With the mob being systematically taken down by a man dressed as a bat and serial killers and domestic terrorists on the rise, it's clear that Gotham is breaking down. How are Gotham's religious institutions addressing these issues? Sword-wielding extremist Azrael offers an avenue the movie might go down to answer this question.

This holy crusader, who belongs to a secret society, actually steps in for Batman after he's incapacitated in the "Knightfall" storyline. In "The Batman 2," he could be an excellent foil to Bruce Wayne: He is also driven by fanatical dedication to his mission and early tragedy. If the first film offers an exploration of Batman as a detective, then the second film could be an exploration of Batman as a servant of the city, with Azrael as a twisted reflection of the hero.


The DCEU has been widely criticized for its literal and metaphorical darkness. A villain like Abyss could hang a lampshade on this tendency: Their powers allow them to literally impose darkness onto a person, even rendering people blind. Such a villain could plunge the city into a new wave of shadows and evil, or poke a little fun at its gritty reputation.

Abyss is also a uniquely fresh villain, having debuted in 2022's "Batman" #118. While most of the other characters presented on this list have rich and extended histories, Abyss is brand new. This offers the filmmakers a chance to give the audience someone they've truly never seen before, tailored according to whatever themes the movie addresses. Abyss has no history on screen, and an incredibly short one on the page — they could be a terrifying adversary, a reluctant hero, or simply an overwrought goth. The options are as limitless as the darkness they bring.

Doctor Hurt

A time-displaced ancestor of Bruce Wayne, Simon Hurt serves as an overarching villain of Grant Morrison's sprawling "Batman" run. A viciously cruel man empowered by the interdimensional entity known as the Hyper-Adapter, Hurt has attempted to ruin Bruce Wayne's life in a huge number of ways. He's especially fond of psychologically torturing the Dark Knight, and will use drugs, brainwashing, or cults to do so.

Hurt could easily be brought to the screen as a mob boss, or perhaps a lower-level enforcer ready to break out on his own. Hurt could even be presented as a colleague or partner of the late Thomas Wayne — perhaps he went into mob medicine, while Bruce's dad retained his moral compass. Given Hurt's original name is, in fact, Thomas Wayne, Hurt could also don the mantle of the dark Batman Bruce's father infamously becomes in the "Flashpoint" timeline. This would be a fun way of giving fans a glimpse of a classic design without fully committing to that reality-changing storyline. 


If Reeves and his writers want to employ a classic convention of the superhero genre and present a dark reflection of their hero, then the obvious villain to go with would be Hush. Hush, aka Thomas Elliot, is introduced in 2003's "Batman" #609. Once Bruce Wayne's childhood friend, he grows into a brilliant neurosurgeon. As his titular storyline progresses, however, it's revealed that Elliot is also a vicious sociopath who attempted to murder his parents as a child. When Thomas Wayne managed to save his mother's life, Elliot was enraged. So begins his endless quest for vengeance against the Wayne family, which eventually sees him take up the identity of Hush.

Like Bruce Wayne, Thomas Elliot is driven by tragedy. While most modern Batman movies focus on the hero's dark persona, they often overlook the details of Bruce Wayne's trauma. Moreover, they erase his analytic and strategic thinking. Elliot brings both aspects to the fore as an effective foil. Furthermore, Elliot's origin could be tweaked in interesting ways — perhaps he does manage to off both parents, and is taken in by the mob. That Thomas Elliot could be raised to be the perfect enforcer, with an interesting personal chip on his shoulder against Bruce Wayne.

The Court of Owls

High society is one of the pillars of Batman stories, often explored to highlight the issues that plague Gotham from the top down. The Court of Owls, introduced at the outset of the New 52 "Batman" run, is an especially overt example of the city's elite crime problem. The Court is introduced as a group of masked socialites who have controlled Gotham from behind the scenes since the town's earliest days. As if that's not terrifying enough, they also employ reanimated corpses as unstoppable assassins. 

The Court of Owl could bring a sense of history to Gotham in "The Batman 2," and provide an institution for both Bruce Wayne and Batman to fight against. If the filmmakers wanted to play the long game, they could even wait until a third or fourth film to fully introduce the group. Batman's actions in the first few movies might result in a power vacuum, which could prompt the Court to step out from the shadows, perhaps in a post-credit scene. Just as Batman reshapes Gotham, so too could the Court.

Poison Ivy

1989's "Secret Origins" #36 establishes Pamela Isley was once a young Ph.D. student working with future Swamp Thing villain Jason Woodrue (the Floronic Man), who injected her with various toxins that transformed her into the villain she is today. If "The Batman 2" filmmakers want to bring more super-criminals into this universe with sympathetic motivations, then Poison Ivy would be one of their best options. In a world facing very real issues of pollution and climate change, Ivy has only become more relevant. Moreover, she's already proved she has staying power in the comics as a villain, anti-hero, and even outright good guy.

If "The Batman 2" focuses on organized crime, Poison Ivy could link various factions in interesting ways. She's played this role multiple times in the comics, serving as an especially interesting gangland detour in "The Long Halloween." Perhaps organized crime has to turn to costumed villains to stay relevant in Gotham's underworld, leading gangsters to Poison Ivy's doorstep. She can be a powerful ally, but also a bitter enemy — and she always plays for herself above all. Gotham's criminals could discover this truth to their benefit, or their peril.

The Reaper/The Phantasm

"The Batman" takes inspiration from "Batman: Year One," one of the most celebrated Batman comics ever created. 1987's "Batman: Year Two" is far less well known. It introduces Judson Caspian, better known as the Reaper, a socialite transformed into a villain by his wife's murder. This twisted reflection of Batman's personal tragedy could be used to examine the hero if brought to the silver screen.

Though "Year Two" is a lesser-known comic, it's proved to have staying power. 1993's "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm," one of the best animated Batman films, is a loose adaptation of "Year Two." Its biggest departure is switching the Reaper for the Phantasm, which results in a resonant story and romance. Rather than a random socialite, the Phantasm is Andrea Beaumont, an original character who captures Bruce's heart. She is forced to flee Gotham with her father, who owes the mob large sums of money and is later killed by an up-and-coming Joker. Andrea swears revenge for her father's murder, and begins hunting those responsible. If sequels to "The Batman" want to explore a romantic partner outside of Catwoman and ratchet up the tension with a killer working their way through Gotham's mob, then they need look no further than the Phantasm. 

The Joker

Sometimes, the obvious choice is the right choice. There's something fundamentally interesting about the Joker, powerful enough to justify a solo movie that doesn't feature Batman at all. "The Batman 2" could adapt any number of Joker storylines, depending on the course of the universe, but 2017's "The War of Jokes and Riddles" could be an especially perfect follow-up. This arc pits the Riddler, a villain of complete order, against the Joker, one of utter chaos, early on in Batman's crime-fighting career. This is the stuff of big screen gold.

If "The Batman 2" chooses to follow the thread established by "Batman: Year One," it could also adapt 2005's "Batman: The Man Who Laughs." A Joker-centric story that takes place one year into Batman's career, "The Man Who Laughs" is centered around the Clown Prince of Crime's earliest campaign of terror, which culminates in a plot to poison Gotham's reservoirs. This arc isn't just a stand-out Joker story, though — it's also full of seminal moments for characters like James Gordon and his family. "The Batman 2" could certainly make a great movie out of all it offers.