Riddle me this! Just kidding, we have no riddles. We’ll leave that up to Paul Dano, who has just been cast as the villainous Riddler in The Batman. After weeks of rumors and speculation that Jonah Hill was set to play either the Penguin or the Riddler, the Academy Award-nominated actor dropped out of the running. Warner Bros. immediately put out a press release announcing that Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks) had swooped in and taken the coveted role of the ravenous rogue.
The press release slyly stated that Dano would be playing “Edward Nashton,” which was Riddler’s real name in the comicbooks before he himself changed it to “Nygma.” The Riddler first appeared in Detective Comics #140 in 1948 for the Distinguished Competition. It was on the cover of the issue that he first wore the now iconic green body suit covered in purple question marks. We don’t know if the flamboyant get-up will make an appearance in the new gritty movie, but fans can probably be assured that the outfit will be honored in some subtle form or another.
The Riddler has been one of Batman’s most iconic and longest lasting villains. He’s a criminal insane genius who is so proud of his work that he leaves behind a trail of clues and puzzles to challenge the police and caped crusader to solve his crimes. The conundrum-inducing villain has appeared in countless Batman comics, animation, and TV series over the decades, most famously portrayed by Frank Gorshin in the 1960s Batman show.
This also won’t be the first time Riddler has shown up on the big screen either. Besides the theatrical TV show spinoff, Jim Carrey previously played the character in the 1995 film Batman Forever. In the movie Edward Nygma is an employee of Wayne Enterprises. He invents a device called the Box that can beam television signals directly into people’s brains. He teams-up with Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) to mass produce the invention and use it to steal the population’s private info, hoping to discover Batman’s secret identity. Somehow, we think this won’t be the plot of the upcoming film.
The Riddler won’t be the only villain in the The Batman. Actor Zoe Kravitz was recently cast as Catwoman. The two very different villains will of course be going up against Batman, who will be played by Robert Pattinson. Pattinson recently said of the character in a New York Times interview: “Batman’s not a hero. He’s a complicated character. I don’t think I could ever play a real hero – there’s always got to be something a little bit wrong.”
It sounds like the Riddler is going to have to come up with a puzzle that’s a little more tenacious and grittier than he’s known for if he’s going to take on this grim version of Batman. What do you think of the casting news? Is The Batman on the right track to compete with the character’s previous massively successful Dark Knight trilogy? The Batman is set to swoop into theaters on June 25th, 2021.