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In the DC Comics mythology, no superhero has a bigger rogues gallery than Batman. Over his nearly 80 years of existence, the Gotham City vigilante has assembled quite the lineup of adversaries, many of whom have been translated to film. As far as the DC Extended Universe is concerned, we've already met Joker, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc, and last week brought word that The Penguin might be the villain in either The Batman or Birds of Prey. If Gotham City Sirens gets off the ground, that means we'll also see Catwoman and Poison Ivy back on the big screen, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Thanks to the DCEU, we're no longer limited to seeing Batman villains in a traditional Batman movie. If Penguin is a candidate for Birds of Prey, that means the Caped Crusader's rogues could show up in other installments of this franchise, like Nightwing or Batgirl. With that in mind, we've gathered together some of the classic Batman villains (i.e. well-known, pre-2000 folks) who need to show up in the DCEU at some point, be it in The Batman or another movie.
Thus far we've been treated to two kooky versions of The Riddler on the big screen, with Jim Carrey's version in Batman Forever clearly taking inspiration from Frank Gorshin's from the 1960s Batman TV series. The time has come for us to see a more sinister version of Edward Nygma; he can keep the green suit and the clue gimmick, but he should be adapted in a way where he'd feel at home in David Fincher's Se7en. While it would be great to see this Riddler clashing with Ben Affleck's Batman, it might also be interesting to see Riddler wreak havoc in another city. Maybe he goes to Bludhaven, forcing Nightwing to put a stop to his puzzling plans. On the other hand, the recent announcement that a Jared Leto-led Joker movie is in development, maybe we could get a "War of Jokes and Riddles" adaptation, with Riddler and Joker fighting over territory in Gotham City and recruiting other super villains into the conflict.
The Gotham TV series has done a wonderful job adapting Dr. Hugo Strange, so it's as good as time as any for the character to finally make his theatrical debut. While he's not one of Batman's more recognizable foes, he is one of the oldest, debuting in 1940's Detective Comics #36. Originally depicted as a mad scientist, in the modern era he's primarily known as a disturbed psychiatrist who is obsessed with discovering Batman's identity and mentally breaking the Caped Crusader. But Strange still periodically runs horrific experiments on subjects, and if you combine his mental prowess with his monstrous creations, you have the makings of a great superhero movie antagonist. Needless to say Strange is a great villain to pit against the DCEU's Batman, so here's hoping he's used in either The Batman or one of its sequels.
It's no secret that Batman & Robin is one of the worst superhero movies ever made, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze didn't help matters. Batman: The Animated Series had already successfully turned the cold-obsessed villain into a tragic figure, but Batman & Robin's version became notorious for his cold and ice puns. After more than two decades, we deserve a cinematic Mr. Freeze who can be taken seriously and who we can sympathize with, albeit with him still being dangerous. All this being said, Mr. Freeze shouldn't be a primary villain in the DCEU. Should he show up in something like The Batman, Nightwing or Batgirl, it would be better to use him as an opening threat for the hero to defeat, similar to how The Avengers took out Wolfgang von Strucker and his HYDRA goons at the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The name is on the nose, but as you can tell by the picture above, Man-Bat is one of the most terrifying things to ever live in Gotham City. Dr. Kirk Langstrom developed a formula that would give him a bat-like sonar sense to overcome his deafness, and while it initially fulfilled that purpose, he was later mutated into a humanoid bat monster. It wouldn't have been possible to effectively show Man-Bat in the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman movie era, and the character definitely wouldn't have fit in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, but with the DCEU fully embracing its comic book roots and visual effects being more advanced then ever, he'd be an excellent adversary to bring in. However, to be effectively used, Man-Bat needs to be used as a secondary antagonist, i.e. the muscle, who's paired with a villain who's really running the show. Am I the only one who thinks a Man-Bat/Hugo Strange pairing would be cool to see in The Batman?
Tommy Lee Jones' Two-Face in Batman Forever came off as a Joker ripoff, and while Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight eventually had the scarred face and flipped his coin to exact his new idea of justice, he didn't really have the super villain vibe. Surely there's a balance that can be struck between those two for the DCEU; a Two-Face who has the obsession with duality, but isn't showboating like a certain Clown Prince of Crime. Plus, just imagine how amazing his scarred half would look with a combination of practical effects and the improved VFX available today. That being said, let's have Two-Face target a different member of the Bat-Family this time around. Personally, I'd like to see Batgirl take him down, with him either serving as the main antagonist or as an initial threat for her to deal with before the real big bad steps in.
Black Mask is arguably the only Batman villain who closely treads the line between colorful freak and mobster. Roman Sionis grew up as wealthy as can be, but after killing his family, losing his family's company and being dumped by his fiancee (it's a long story), he developed an obsession with masks and turned to a life of crime. As Black Mask, Roman has frequently controlled Gotham City's criminal underworld. The New 52 has shown that his trademark mask allows him hypnotize his henchmen through the masks he makes them wear, but even without that ability, he's one of the most feared men in Gotham. David Ayer hinted that Black Mask might show up in Gotham City Sirens, but thinking outside the box, imagine if he appeared in the Deathstroke movie. Perhaps Black Mask hires Slade Wilson to eliminate one of his opponents, or conversely, one of Black Mask's rivals hires the one-eyed assassin to kill the villain.
Batman Begins did a good job of adapting Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. The Scarecrow, and Cillian Murphy cameoed as the character in the other two movies in the Dark Knight trilogy. But Christopher Nolan's Batman movies were attempting to be hyper-realistic, so although Murphy's Scarecrow had the fear gas and wore that burlap sack mask, we didn't get that full Scarecrow weirdness from the comics. Now that we're in the DCEU, we can see Scarecrow in all his comic book glory, be it an adaptation of his traditional look or something closer to how he appears in the Arkham video games. And since Murphy's Scarecrow was revealed to be Batman Begins' secondary antagonist, serving Liam Neeson's Ra's al Ghul, now we can use him as the main villain. But as with other entries on this list, let's have him antagonize one of the other Bat-heroes. My pick is Nightwing.
Which Classic Batman Villain Do You Want To See In The DCEU?