What Gotham's Riddler Will Look Like, According To Cory Michael Smith

As Gotham's Edward Nygma, actor Cory Michael Smith has gone through as much character development as anyone, as Ed has turned from a hackneyed introvert into a calculating antagonist of the highest order. And such villainous status means Gotham will soon give Smith the chance to take on the persona we've all been waiting to see: The Riddler. Speaking with CinemaBlend about his future in Gotham's bonkers third season, Smith shared a few very important details about what we can expect from The Riddler's costume when he is definitively introduced later this year.

[The role] is performative; not in a Jim Carrey way. I want him to be kind of showy. So what we have as the Riddler costume is really classy, and that's kind of what we wanted.

During our interview, Cory Michael Smith was far more upfront about information than either Ed or his current rival Oswald Copplepot are. (No spoilers about the most recent episode, "Ghosts," but their arc was beyond fantastic.) Smith was very clear in describing how when his Riddler's story is opened up in Episode 15, he would be the exact opposite of what Ed Nygma was when we first met him, and that he would be far more theatrical in his mannerisms and gestures, while remaining more psychological in his evil behavior. Since it's no good to style and profile with your movements if the clothes don't fit the attitude, I'm picturing Ed getting gussied up in some of the finest Gotham City threads that criminal enterprising can afford.

Unfortunately, there will be one part of The Riddler's classic costume that will be absent from Gotham, at least initially. Smith might not rest until it happens. In his words:

To give you some inside scoop, I do not have a cane yet, but I want one so badly for a few different reasons. I won't tell you all of them so I don't spoil anything, but I'm pitching very hard for a cane. Plus, we do have somewhere to go and add some stuff, so maybe in the future, there will be a cane. But I want him to be someone who deserves a fucking cane. He needs to be someone that's just begging for a cane.

The sheer intent in Cory Michael Smith's voice was unmistakable, and he brings up a good point in wanting Ed Nygma to earn the right to swing The Riddler's cane around. Forming these iconic characters shouldn't be an impulsive and rushed process, and Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller's approach is definitely measured when pulling the core characters' stories directly from their noteworthy pasts. Ed can't just go to sleep one night, hatch a glorious plan the next night, and then adopt a full-on Riddler suit the night after that. Once he becomes more accustomed to his showman side, then he can break out the stylish accoutrements.

the riddler comics

For some more good news, though, Cory Michael Smith was a lot more positive when I asked if the trademark question mark symbols would be present.

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We're there.

Sometimes fewer words are better. I don't know about you guys, but Smith is describing exactly what I want from the first live-action TV Riddler in almost 40 years. (Frank Gorshin's thin suit from Batman's early days would not go over so well in this underworld.) Someone for whom every movement has a plan and a purpose, and pays homage to what Riddler's look is without needing to directly copy it; classy and punctuation-friendly, but sadly without a cane for now. And I'm pretty sure Smith mentioned a chapeau as well, but that might have just been me thinking out loud.

With its latest Jerome/Joker arc currently blowing up, Gotham airs Monday nights on Fox, and don't forget about the comic drama's winter hiatus coming in a couple of weeks, after which it will return for the rest of its run on Monday, April 24. (Such a long, long time, but at least there's Harley Quinn.) To see what else is coming to your TVs in the meantime, head to our midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.