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The Batman Character You Didn't Realize Was Played By A Former DC Villain

Warning: This article contains spoilers for "The Batman."

Over the past few decades, numerous filmmakers have adapted the story of the DC comic book hero Batman to the big screen, including Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder. The latest iteration of the character, who is the alter ego of billionaire Bruce Wayne, comes from filmmaker Matt Reeves, best known for his work on the most recent "Planet of the Apes" trilogy. 

Titled "The Batman," the film sees Robert Pattinson step into the role of the Caped Crusader, with a supporting cast that includes Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Paul Dano as the Riddler, and Colin Farrell as the Penguin. The film has a sprawling ensemble cast, including a few actors with previous connections to DC, via other films that focus on other heroes from the DC universe. 

The performer behind the character of District Attorney Gil Colson is one such actor, having played a villain in an earlier, lesser seen DC movie, a fact many "The Batman" viewers likely did not realize.

D.A. Gil Colson is played by Peter Sarsgaard

District Attorney Gil Colson in "The Batman" is played by actor Peter Sarsgaard. Colson is introduced in the film as a patron of the 44 Below Club, a place for the corrupt members of Gotham's public services, such as policemen and lawyers, to gather inside the Iceberg Lounge run by Oswald Cobblepot, also known as the Penguin. Colson is noticed by Selina as she's going through the club, and Batman, who is using a special device to look through Selina's eyes, is surprised to see him there.

As Selina sits with Colson and his group, he reveals that he has ingested copious amounts of alcohol and drugs, lowering his inhibitions so he freely talks about how the recent murders of Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. (Rupert Penry-Jones) and Commissioner Pete Savage (Alex Ferns) have him worried. Upon exiting 44 Below, Colson sees Selina once again, and she has to rebuff his advances until she gets a cab. Colson gets into his car, where the Riddler is lying in wait for him and places a bomb around his neck.

Colson appears next at Mayor Mitchell's funeral, emerging from a speeding car that crashes into the church. Batman, there as Bruce Wayne, spots Colson with the bomb collar, as well as a phone attached to his hand and a card for Batman on his chest. Returning as Batman, he takes a call from the Riddler on the phone, who turns to Colson, asking him riddles related to his corruption to get free from the collar bomb. Unable to answer the riddles in time, Colson dies when the bomb goes off.

Sarsgaard was also in 2011's Green Lantern

"The Batman" wasn't Peter Sarsgaard's first go-round with DC live-action films, as he also appeared in the 2011 film "Green Lantern," which stars Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan and Blake Lively as Carol Ferris. In the film, Sarsgaard plays Hector Hammond, a scientist on Earth who is called to a secret government facility by his father, U.S. Senator Robert Hammond (Tim Robbins). At the facility, Hammond discovers that the government has captured the body of an alien named Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), and they want him to do an autopsy on it, supervised by Amanda Waller (Angela Bassett).

While performing the autopsy, a piece of Parallax, the alien entity that Abin Sur is fighting, enters Hammond, destroying his sanity but giving him powers of telepathy and telekinesis. When Hammond learns that his father pulled strings to get him on the project, Hammond goes after him, using his telekinesis to try to crash Robert's helicopter, only to be thwarted by Jordan.

Hammond's second attempt to kill his father, by burning him alive, is successful. Hammond then turns his sights to Waller, with his attempt to kill her once again stopped by Jordan. While Jordan figures out a way to fight Parallax, Hammond goes after Carol, Jordan's love interest and the vice president of Ferris Aircraft, where Jordan is a test pilot. Jordan arrives to save Ferris and Hammond fights him until Parallax arrives on Earth, absorbing Hammond's life force and killing him as a result.

Sarsgaard shares another connection to Batman films

Peter Sarsgaard has had a very successful career, appearing in a number of additional projects as well, including films such as "Garden State," "Flightplan," "Jarhead," "An Education," and "Jackie," as well as TV shows such as "The Killing" and "Dopesick" (via IMDb).

Sarsgaard was also seen earlier this year in the drama "The Lost Daughter," which marked the feature film directorial debut of Maggie Gyllenhaal, whom Sarsgaard has been married to since 2009. Gyllenhaal has a history with "Batman" films herself, replacing Katie Holmes as Assistant District Attorney Rachel Dawes in the 2008 Christopher Nolan film "The Dark Knight."

In the film, Rachel is kidnapped along with District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) by the Joker (Heath Ledger), and the two are tied up to explosives set to a timer in different locations. Neither Batman nor the Gotham PD are able to get to Rachel in time, and she perishes when the counter hits zero. This puts Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard as possibly the first couple to play characters who both die from bombs going off because Batman is unable to save them.