It's hard not to get excited about The Batman and the recent news that Robert Pattinson has been cast as the newest Dark Knight. Pattinson has come a long way since his Twilight days, starring in acclaimed fare like Good Time and High Life with even more cool stuff like the horror film The Lighthouse and Christoper Nolan's Tenet on the horizon. But who could appear alongside him in director Matt Reeves' 2021 take on Batman?
It's been said that Reeves will take a more 'noir-driven' approach to Batman, with Alfred Hitchcock as a strong influence, a stylistic that's influencing the following picks. (Also, please, let's make like Spider-Man: Homecoming and skip the origin story for the 100th time here; we really don't need to see Batman's parents get murdered in an alleyway again. We really don't!)
According to We Got This Covered, the plans are currently for six villains to show up in The Batman. The blog has floated a number of rumors, and says that The Penguin is most likely to be the movie's main villain, with Catwoman, Two-Face, and The Riddler all in the mix as well. A number of names have been floated for the role, but Jonah Hill is the latest to be considered the frontrunner. More on that in a bit.
For the sake of consistency, we're starting from scratch: Jeremy Irons was perfectly fine as Alfred during the Ben Affleck run, but let's give Robert Pattinson his own loyal butler-slash-advisor. Joe Manganiello was originally going to face off against Affleck in The Batman, and even made a post-credits cameo as the character in Justice League, but let's assume The Batman is going to reset. In the same vein, Margot Robbie should literally be allowed to appear in any movie she wants to as Harley Quinn, but she'll stay off this list for now (and stay in the back pocket for a sequel).
So without further ado, how will Matt Reeves' Gotham City shake out? Well, here are some of the actors we wouldn't mind seeing cast:
This one is easy because ... Pattinson has already been officially cast in 'The Batman'. Reeves—perhaps unsurprisingly—is excited, and many fans are, too. He’ll be the second youngest Batman ever (only slightly older than Christian Bale was when he started in the role).
While the latest report from We Got This Covered mentions names like Josh Gad, Toby Jones, and Nicholas Hoult (who was the runner-up to Pattinson for the Batman role) as contenders to play The Penguin, Jonah Hill is the one listed as the frontrunner to play the part. The Penguin will supposedly be The Batman's main villain; he's only ever been played in a movie before by Danny DeVito in Tim Burton's Batman Returns, so Hill would have some big shoes to step into.
But it shouldn't be too much of a challenge.While he started his career in broad comedies like Superbad and Knocked Up, Hill has shown immense range with roles in Netflix's Maniac series, as well as movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, War Dogs, and even This Is The End. Hill could definitely channel that energy for a totally new and really exciting take on The Penguin; we'd be psyched to see it.
Sebastian Stan is already a mainstay of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in his role as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier. But as actors like Josh Brolin (Deadpool and Avengers), Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four and Black Panther), and even Captain America himself, Chris Evans (Fantastic Four and other comic-based films like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The Losers) have shown, that doesn’t necessarily rule you out from anything.
Stan mentioned at an appearance earlier this year that he's into the idea of joining the franchise. "I would love to try and play The Riddler. That’s an interesting character," he said. "That would be very hard to be honest, because you couldn’t be like crazy, crazy, crazy. You would have to be kind of much darker than that."
He’s shown in both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and I, Tonya that he can be great at playing a villain or amoral character. That We Got This Covered story says that they’re seeing actors between 30 and 40 for The Riddler, which Stan fits perfectly. Not to mention the fact that he shared fanart from the popular online artist @BossLogic recently as well.
In the same vein as Stan, Harbour is already a character in a few different superhero films: he just appeared in the Hellboy reboot as the titular character, and is currently filming Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow film. That being said, he would be a perfect fit to play Harvey Dent in The Batman. What greater way to play against type would there be than to cast Chief Hopper as the man who eventually becomes Two-Face?
The defining factor of Harbour as Hopper in Stranger Things is that he goes from a lackadaisical slacker to someone who truly cares. Harvey Dent goes from someone who truly cares to someone driven to villainy by tragedy. Harbour could use his Stranger Things skillset in an entirely new way, and it would totally rule.
Hailee Steinfeld is another person who’s dabbled in superhero flicks after voicing Gwen Stacy in last year’s Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. She’s been in blockbusters (BumbleBee, also released last year, and the Pitch Perfect films among others), but the real thing to check her in is the teen comedy The Edge of Seventeen, where she expertly portrays a person living with anxiety.
Part of what made Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman so compelling in Tim Burton's Batman Returns was the stark difference in her confidence before and after her villainous transformation, and Steinfeld has shown the versatility to be able to pull that off.
To play Commissioner Gordon, you need to be a strong actor. Maybe Reeves could find a way to expand this role even more than usual, as the J.K. Simmons and Gary Oldman versions have been key characters, but played pretty straight. If you want a two-time Oscar-winner like Mahershala to hop aboard, you’re going to need to give him something compelling to do (which, by the way, is exactly why he was a perfect pick to play Blade in the MCU).
That being said, Mahershala showed that he can handle police work with the best of them during his turn in season three of True Detective, which helped propel a major comeback for one of HBO’s most popular franchises.
Jared Harris has been around for 30 years, and while he’s had plenty of great roles through the years (Mad Men and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button among them), he’s coming off what’s got to be his highest-profile and most acclaimed role yet as the lead in Craig Mazin’s limited HBO series Chernobyl.
Even though he told Men's Health that he now prefers television to film, perhaps Harris would make an exception for the opportunity to bring some of his immense talent and personality to the role of Alfred, not dissimilar from the two actors who played him prior, Michael Caine and Jeremy Irons. He might bring a bit of frazzled vulnerability, as he does in Chernobyl, as opposed to the endlessly confident Irons and Caine interpretations.
There might not be a huge role for The Joker in The Batman, but a little tease or a post-credits scene that showed off Batman’s greatest foe will probably remain a part of any upcoming Dark Knight narratives.
Taking on The Joker is a daunting exercise for any actor given Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, respectively, delivering ridiculously iconic and unforgettable performances (Jared Leto's take is certainly ridiculous, but less iconic). And Joaquin Phoenix will appear as the character this fall in JOKER, but isn't expected to remain with the franchise long-term, as he supposedly dropped out of Doctor Strange for that exact reason.
That makes a lesser-known actor like Caleb Landry Jones a great fit to take on the character. He’s younger, which would make for a great match with Pattinson’s younger Batman, and has already shown a great capacity for playing creepy weirdos in roles like in Jordan Peele’s Get Out, and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return. He could play the character a few times, if all goes well (as Ledger was planned to do before his untimely death), and match Pattinson in the movies film for film.