The Usual Suspects: Who's Next In The Bat-Parade?
So, most of us (if not all of us) have by now seen The Dark Knight. If you haven't, please do so. Go on. I'll wait. Done? Good. Now that we've all seen it, I'm sure that we've already been wondering which of Batman's colorful rogue's gallery will be the featured villian in the next in Christopher Nolan's series. Now, remember, while Batman has a lot of different villians, the Nolanverse seems to stress a commitment to the believable (that is, if you can accept the premise of Batman existing). And while it may be a stretch to think that a tortured rich man swings from roof to roof dressed in a Bat outfit every night, there are some villians which break even this thin standard. So, while Batman has a lot of enemies, some are much more likely to be featured than others.
For your reading pleasure, I've taken the liberty of rounding up the usual big (and not so big) Batman names (save for the ones we've already seen in this series) and will summarize their premise, their motive, their theme, a way they might fit into the Nolanverse, and the likelyhood that they might be seen in a movie.
Alias(es): Edward Nashton, Edward Nigma,
M.O.: The Riddler is an obsessive-complusive clue-leaver, a lover of puzzles and games, most of which ultimately lead to his downfall. He cannot help but to want to match wits with Batman at every turn.
Theme(s): Arrogance/The Mind
Nolanverse'd: Former accountant of Wayne Enterprises who knows Bruce Wayne's secret (you remember him from TDK, right? Coleman Reese? Mr. Reese? Mysteries?) offers to keep it to himself if, and only if, Batman can solve a series of mind numbing puzzles. In the meantime, Reese is manipulating mob bosses with the promise of revealing Batman's identity.
Likelihood: It's been hinted by Gary Oldman, who plays Comissioner Gordon, that Riddler might appear in the next movie. The connection between Riddler and the guy who was in TDK is something I read on 4chan, and sounded a lot better when I first read it, to be honest. The Riddler is a good villian for a 22 minute episode of BTAS or a 30 page comic book, but for a two hour movie? He's not strong enough to carry a movie on his own. SOMEWHAT LIKELY
Alias(es): Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot
M.O.: The Penguin is a stalky, short, aristrocratic villian with a flair for trick umbrellas and a love of birds, especially the grand birds who he shares a name with (who doesn't love penguins? Nobody, that's who). In the past several years, though, he's taken a back seat as more of a smuggler/informer who never really poses all that high a threat.
Theme(s): The Outcast
Nolanverse'd: Owner of the Iceberg lounge, Oswald "The Penguin" Cobblepot plays behind-the-scene villian, staging all sorts of trouble for our hero while offering information to him in catching his rivals in crime.
Likelihood: Much like The Riddler, it's hard to concieve of The Penguin as a forward threat to Batman. Burton reimagined him well enough so that he had his hands in many different nefarious pots and was somewhat sympathetic despite it. Nolan himself has said that Penguin would be "tricky" to do, but I think it's more a of a problem of what to do with him, not how to adapt him. SOMEWHAT UNLIKELY
Alias(es): Victor Fries
M.O.: Properly, Victor Fries was a cryonics scientist whose wife suffered from a rare disease that had no cure, so he froze her. When the company who sponsers his research wants to pull the plug, he struggles and gets covered with chemicals that make him incapable of living in temperatures above freezing. So, he gets himself an armored suit that maintains freezing temp, makes a freeze gun, and looks for revenge.
Nolanverse'd: Victor Fries is a cyronics scientist whose wife Nora suffers from a disease that he froze her to find the cure for, hoping to revive her later. However, Nora's condition isn't improving much with the freezing, and he's running out of time to figure out a way to revive her, so he begins kidnapping those suffering from the same disease and tests on them so he won't put his wife in danger.
Likelihood: The problem with Freeze is that as he is in any medium, he's really difficult to translate into live-action. What are they supposed to do, give him a dry ice gun? VERY UNLIKELY
Alias(es): Selina Kyle
M.O.: Fiesty cat-costumed catburglar, Selina Kyle has pulled on the heartstrings of both Bruce Wayne and Batman while being simultaneously a villian and an ambigious anti-hero. Frank Miller made her a whore, I'm sure Nolanverse could adapt that.
Nolanverse'd: Thrill seeking dominatrix Selina Kyle seeks to steal from prominent crime families out of a vendetta for them that comes from her mother having had an affair with a mob boss and fathering her, but then killing the mother when she demanded money to raise Selina. Selina turned to child prostitution and grew up to be a cat on a hot tin roof.
Likelihood: I'm hoping Nolan can get the bad taste of Halle Berry's Catwoman movie out of the movie-going public's mouths by giving us a Catwoman slightly more in the vein of Burton's interpretation, except perhaps not just a crazed secretary. Considering that there so far hasn't been any female villians in Nolan's Batman movies, I would hope one would appear soon. Catwoman is the most feasible one. Unfortunately, rumors are that Nolan isn't looking to portray a villian who's already been in two movies, but should that Halle Berry number really count? SOMEWHAT UNLIKELY
Alias(es): Basil Karlo (I), Matt Hagen (II), Preston Payne (III), Sondra Fuller (IV)
M.O.: Clayface(s) is/are a clusterfuck of different incarnations, each with different powers. The only one that makes any sense is the BTAS version of Hagen, who gets his body chemistry completely messed up by some strange restorative gloop. Now he's a big walking pile of mud who can transform into anyone and transform his body into things.
Nolanverse'd: No fucking way.
Likelihood: You're kidding, right? The only feasible Clayface is the original, Karlo, who is just a crazed actor who kills people in the mask of the villian of a movie he once starred in. That's not movie material. Nobody gives a shit. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN EVER
Alias(es): Waylon Jones
M.O.: Suffering from Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis and a bad attitude, Killer Croc is your typical brute with little motive other than causing pain to others.
Theme: The Outcast
Nolanverse'd: Suffering from Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis and a bad attitude, Killer Croc is your typical brute with little motive other than causing pain to others.
Likelihood: Well, he was in Gotham Knight, the animated in-between that took place between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It would certainly be interesting for Batman to take out somebody as big and as physically tough as Croc, but I doubt he'll be making it onto the big screen any time soon, judging by Nolan's strict guidelines. VERY UNLIKELY
Alias(es): Jervis Tetch
M.O.: Lewis Caroll-obsessed Jervis Tetch uses mind control devices (often inserted in hats) to commit crimes.
Nolanverse'd: Pedophile Jervis Tetch uses mind-control drugs to manipulate young girls into commiting crimes. Even Gordon's daughter is kidnapped to be part of his plan to kill parents he deems unfit.
Likelihood: A bit gaudy for the gritty Nolanverse, but with a little tweaking, he can be a pretty frightening villian (see above). SOMEWHAT LIKELY
Alias(es): Roman Sionis
M.O.: Gangster-criminal fitted with a black ebony mask and once leader of the False Face Society, a cult-like group of criminals, Roman Sionis turned to a life on the other side of the law after constant failures and humiliations in life. He carved out a huge niche in Gotham's underworld, but met his end at the hands of Catwoman, who was tired of him attacking her loved ones.
Nolanverse'd: Former cosmetics heir Roman Sionis returns to Gotham, having been previously humilated and fled the city after running his father's company into the ground. Now he cleans up messes for the mob, who are more willing to trust a normal businessman, until they discover he employs "freaks", too. Eventually Batman ruins his scheme of destroying evidence via other villians and humiliated, he becomes The Black Mask and plots to take over Gotham's underworld to kill Batman.
Likelihood: For a villian that was billed "crazier than the Joker", "deadlier than Ra's Al Ghul", Black Mask has always been pretty low on the rung as far as name recognition. Not to mention that his comics origin story is nothing too special, and often he just seems to be a lesser Red Skull, minus the Nazi link. I bring him up because he's certainly one of Batman's more feasible enemies for the movies Nolan does and has the potential to be somewhat interesting, thematically. Still, with people clamoring for The Riddler or Catwoman, I wonder if he'll ever appear in a movie. SOMEWHAT LIKELY
Ventriloquist and Scarface
Alias(es): Arnold Wesker
M.O.: Wesker is a man with dissociative identity disorder and Scarface a wooden gangster who houses Wesker's other personality.
Theme: Identity/Mental Illness
Nolanverse'd: Uh, pretty much the same as above.
Likelihood: Let's face it, it would look extremely ridiculous. In a Burton film, such surrealist insanity would be celebrated, but Nolan's vision for the Batman world doesn't seem to have room for this sort of thing. Don't look for these characters. VERY UNLIKELY
Alias(es): Pamela Lillian Isley
M.O.: The victim of scientific experiments done by a Dr. Jason Woodrue, Poison Ivy has the power to control plants, is immune to poisons (because her blood IS poison), and even has a poisonous kiss. Not to mention, she can secrete certain plant chemicals that will control men.
Nolanverse'd: Enviromental terrorist Pamela "Poison Ivy" Isley uses plant-derived poisons to kill off prominent businessmen involved in corporations who pollute.
Likelihood: Poison Ivy just isn't all that good without her ability to control plants. If they only hadn't cheesed her up in Batman and Robin, she might have been a decent villian. As-is, she probably won't be making any appearances in the Nolan series. VERY UNLIKELY
Alias(es): Garfield Lynns
M.O.: Lynns is a certified pyromaniac. Once a pyrotechnic engineer for movies, Lynns took to a life of crime when Gotham City's economy took a downturn, and discovered he enjoyed arson. In his madness, he believes he can see visions in the flames.
Nolanverse'd: Lynns is a certified pyromaniac. Once a pyrotechnic engineer for movies, Lynns took to a life of crime when Gotham City's economy took a downturn, and discovered he enjoyed arson. In his madness, he believes he can see visions in the flames.
Likelihood: I would like to see Firefly's costume in live-action- that would be pretty awesome, and they could probably make it look more feasible than in the comics. Though a minor villian, I think he would definitely fit in within the Nolanverse, and shows real potential. I don't see him as a main villian, but he can easily be an auxilery. SOMEWHAT LIKELY
M.O.: Bane was born in prison in the fictional nation of Santa Prisca and forced to serve his father's life sentence. In prison he was experimented on with a drug which would increase a person's strength, but he was the only survivor of those experiments. Eventually, he broke out of prison and came to Gotham, where he concocted a plan to take over all criminal empires by first exhausting and then "breaking" Batman.
Nolanverse'd: Similar to the above, except that he would have come to Gotham to find the people responsible for funding the experiment that force-addicted him to the drug "venom" and find a worthy challenge in fighting Batman.
Likelihood: If done right, Bane could make a very appealing villian for the Nolan Batman series. It wouldn't be possible to make him quite as huge as he is in the comics, nor would it be wise to depict the same sort of "venom tubes" system that he uses in the comics, but he is a character who can challenge Batman both physically and mentally, and is pretty well known on top of that. SOMEWHAT LIKELY
Besides these, there are so many others, like Hush, Deadshot (who was in Gotham Knight), Killer Moth, Man-Bat (yeah, that's not going to happen), Anarky, and... uh, Orca. Let's not forget that Scarecrow could always make a reappearance. It's too bad Heath Ledger won't reappear as Joker.
The problem is, there's a lot of villians who are great for a short comic story, but not so great for a two plus hour big budget movie, especially within the standards Nolan has set for this series of films. Riddler is really the mostly likely, but even he is just "somewhat" likely in the long run. Who knows, though? We could be completely surprised by who Nolan chooses next. Hey may just cave in and give my favorite umbrella-weidling bird man a whirl.