Zack Snyder Reveals Batman Villains He Wanted To Bring To The DCEU

Jared Leto's Joker
(Image credit: HBO Max)

For many Zack Snyder fans, the director’s time in the DCEU was too short. You could argue it actually was cut short, after he stepped away from Justice League in 2017, and then had to fight tooth and nail to be able to restore his complete vision of the epic superhero team up in 2021. While some still lobby for Snyder to be able to keep telling stories in the DC world, Warner Bros. has moved on, as has Snyder. A spinoff from his Army of the Dead film, Army of Thieves, has landed on Netflix. And Snyder is hard at work on a sci-fi adventure called Rebel Moon, also for the streaming service.

But Zack Snyder still gets questions from journalists and followers wondering about things he wanted to do in the DCEU, should he have been able to stay around and make a few more pictures. BroBible, for example, recently asked Snyder which classic Batman villains would he have wanted to play around with on screen, to which Snyder replied:

Obviously Catwoman is someone we talked about and we had a Riddler concept that we talked about. Remember, The Riddler was kind of like the one who figured out the Anti-Life Equation on Earth in the spec scripts.

These scripts Zack Snyder refers to are drafts that he and screenwriter Chris Terrio hashed out as they worked on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, which was meant to be JL Part One and Part Two, in its original state. On the lengthy press tour for the Snyder Cut of Justice League, the director spelled out a number of places he wanted to take his story, and a chink of the plot involved Darkseid and the Anti-Life Equation he seeks… which would have a drastically negative effect on Superman (Henry Cavill). 

On storyboards that he once put up on display in Dallas, Texas, Snyder revealed that The Riddler would have cracked a code unlocking the Anti-Life Equation, thereby setting up the Knightmare future that Snyder teased in two of his DCEU movies. It looked like this:

But while speculating on the villains he would have liked to showcase beyond The Joker (Jared Leto), Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) and Steppenwolf, Snyder hinted that Matt Reeves choice of The Penguin might have been on his Wish List. Snyder told the outlet:

Frankly, I’d love to see Penguin — I think (he) will be cool. I think that’s a great character and I’d love to see a version of Penguin that has an inherent camp to it. It’d be awesome to see how you could deconstruct it and make him into something crazy.

Zack Snyder loves deconstructing the traditional, fitting it into his unique box. It’s cool that he acknowledges there needs to be some camp to a character like Penguin. That seems to be what Colin Farrell is bringing to his interpretation in Matt ReevesThe Batman, based on the trailers. But Reeves, like Snyder, also isn’t afraid to take a hard left turn, which is why his Riddler (played by Paul Dano) appears to be just as comfortable in David Fincher’s Seven as he is in a DC Comics adaptation.

Sadly, we likely won’t get to see these characters realized in a Zack Snyder DC project, but Catwoman, Penguin and Riddler all are part of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, due in theaters on March 4, 2022. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.