The Batman Has Found Its Riddler

Paul Dano in For Ellen

One thing that’s been clear since the beginning of the year is that The Batman is going to be stacked with villains. Among the antagonists who’s been reported to show up is Edward Nygma, a.k.a. The Riddler, and news has broke that There Will Be Blood’s Paul Dano is being lined up for the role.

The latest word on The Batman front is that Paul Dano is in negotiations to play the Caped Crusader’s question mark-obsessed foe. If a deal is reached, Dano would be the second actor to be cast as an adversary in The Batman, following behind Zoë Kravitz, who’s bringing Catwoman to life.

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The Hollywood Reporter also mentioned in its write-up that rather than go by his traditional civilian identity, Edward Nygma (sometimes spelled as ‘Nigma’), The Batman’s version of The Riddler will be named Edward Nashton, an identity that’s been used by writers in more modern Batman comic book stories. Beyond that, there are no details about what we can expect from this version of The Riddler yet.

It was previously reported that Jonah Hill was in talks to play either The Riddler or The Penguin in The Batman, but then yesterday word got out that he’d exited discussions. According to sources who spoke with Variety, given how long it was taking to work out a deal with Hill, Warner Bros already had an offer ready to go out to Paul Dano once things with Hill fell apart.

Riddler was last portrayed in a live-action movie by Jim Carrey in 1995’s Batman Forever, although Conan O’Brien did briefly voice the character in the animated The LEGO Batman Movie. Other notable actors to have played Riddler over the decades include Frank Gorshin in most of the ‘60s Batman TV series and its accompanying movie (John Astin played him in Batman Season 2) and Cory Michael Smith in the Fox series Gotham, which concluded earlier this year.

Some of Paul Dano’s best-known earlier work includes Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood, the latter of which earned him a BAFTA Award nomination. He’s also appeared in movies like 12 Years a Slave, Prisoners, Love & Mercy, Swiss Army Man and Okja, and he earned an Emmy nomination for his turn as David Sweat in the Showtime limited series Escape at Dannemora.

Besides Riddler, Catwoman and Penguin, other villains rumored to appear in The Batman include Two-Face, Firefly and Mad Hatter. It was rumored in August that BlackKkKlansman’s John David Washington might be in the running to play Harvey Dent, the man who will become Two-Face, but it remains to be seen if that is indeed the case.

As for the rest of The Batman’s cast, Robert Pattinson will play the eponymous protagonist and Jeffrey Wright will play Commissioner James Gordon. Behind the camera, Matt Reeves is directing and co-wrote the script with Mattson Tomlin, Greig Frasier will be the cinematographer and Dan Lemmon will be the VFX supervisor.

The Batman hits theaters on June 25, 2021, and CinemaBlend will keep you in the loop on more casting updates as they come in. Don’t forget to look through our DC movies guide to learn what other superhero movies Warner Bros has on the way.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.