Information continues to trickle out this week about Matt Reeves’ upcoming film The Batman, which is not only bound and determined to exist despite the Bat-agnosticism of Ben Affleck and large swathes of the movie-going public, but which recently made headlines by casting (or coming close to casting, depending on who you listen to) Robert Pattinson in the role of the Batted Man himself. And while Pattinson’s deal is apparently still not quite complete—leaving open the possibility that Nicholas Hoult might swoop in and take the part himself—that hasn’t stopped further information about the film’s prospective villains from also leaking out.
This comes courtesy of Collider, which got it from The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Wave newsletter, which, in turn, notes that Reeves’ script apparently places Catwoman and the Penguin at the center of The Batman’s upcoming troubles—thus trafficking in the famed Bat-Cat-Penguin rivalry that’s long dominated the animal kingdom of crime.
What’s interesting about this pairing—aside from the obvious throwback to Tim Burton’s deeply weird, highly psychological Batman Returns—is that they’re both fairly, let’s say, “low key” as far as Batman villains go. Sure, Penguin might initiate a hostile takeover of the city’s underworld or attempt to murder Gotham’s first-born sons every once in a while, but these two generally focus on making money and stealing stuff, rather than the bomb-throwing, laughing fish-style anarchy that marks some of the bat’s more colorful opponents.
Penguin is also notable for being one of the most “realistic” of the villains skipped over by Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films, where Anne Hathaway ended up taking on the role of the Cat. He was most recently brought to the screen on Fox’s Gotham, where Robin Lord Taylor transformed him into one of Baby Bats’ most consistently entertaining foils and foes.
All of this is, of course, to be taken with at least a minor grain of salt, since Reeves is reportedly still working on his script. In any case, The Batman is currently scheduled for a June 25, 2021 debut.