After years of anticipation, Matt Reeves has finally introduced moviegoers to his dark, gritty, and realistic Gotham City as The Batman glides into theaters. Paul Dano's Riddler and Colin Farrell's Penguin have already received great praise for being among the greatest Dark Knight villain performances of all time, but they weren't the only threats teased in the latest take on the DC world.
Fans have known for some time now that The Batman was only the beginning of Reeves' Gotham, as plans are already beginning to take shape for future sequels; multiple HBO Max spin-off series are also in development. Both Farrell's crime boss Penguin and the GCPD are expected to be the focus of their own streaming projects, while another will tie heavily to Arkham Asylum.
Coming out of The Batman, many will naturally be wondering what to expect from the inevitable sequel and who will be the next villain drawn from The Dark Knight's famous rogues gallery. With so many seeds planted, both big and small, Reeves teased at least eight villains to appear down the road.
WARNING: The rest of this article contains spoilers for The Batman.
Of the many villains teased in The Batman, the infamous Clown Prince of Crime was one of few with an actor attached to the role - Eternals star Barry Keoghan. The Joker was briefly introduced to fans in a cryptic scene that saw him talking to Paul Dano's Riddler between their Arkham cells.
The Riddler only had a short creepy conversation with "Unnamed Arkham Prisoner," but it was enough to establish that the Joker-to-be was on the other side of that wall. Not only does Keoghan's villain make references to clowns, but he also established something of a friendship with Riddler before demonstrating his terrifying and deranged Joker laugh.
Director Matt Reeves has already revealed the scene doesn't by any means confirm Joker will be present in the sequel and is more intended as a sign of trouble brewing in Gotham. Since the Clown Prince of Crime is undeniably Batman's biggest, baddest, and most famous villain, it may make more sense to tease him more in future installments before using Keoghan as Battinson's final antagonist.
One of the upcoming HBO Max spin-off series to The Batman was recently confirmed to center around Arkham Asylum, perhaps both Joker and Riddler could appear in some capacity as they develop their relationship behind bars.
Speaking of the Riddler, Paul Dano's Zodiac-inspired antagonist shockingly survived the end of The Batman, instead being left imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. In a sense, the serial-killer villain succeeded in his ultimate plan - he exposed corruption and wrongdoing in Gotham before ultimately flooding the scene with his final contingency.
As of now, Dano and Reeves have yet to confirm whether Riddler will be back for the sequel or any of the HBO Max spin-offs, but it's a strong possibility. After all, Batman's villains have a long-standing history of breaking out of Arkham Asylum, perhaps flooding Gotham won't be the last of the problems Riddler causes.
Maybe Batman will turn to the genius criminal for help in either solving a puzzle or for information regarding a former inmate like the Joker. Or alternatively, maybe Robert Pattinson's Dark Knight will live out every gamer's nightmare of scouring Gotham for those pesky Riddler trophies.
Colin Farrell was completely unrecognizable under his many layers of Penguin prosthetics in The Batman but still stood among the greatest performances in the movie. In fact, the actor delivered such a distinguished performance that he's already confirmed to soon lead his own HBO Max spin-off series.
With The Batman only being a few days into its theatrical run, details regarding any of the highly-anticipated spin-off series remain scarce. However, the ending of the movie heavily teased that the criminal underworld of Gotham was set for a ruthless power grab after the death of mob boss Carmine Falcone.
Penguin already owns the shady Iceberg Lounge nightclub, but in terms of most criminal operations, he was always the right-hand to Falcone. With the crime lord now out the picture, Farrell's HBO Max series will likely explore his rise to power in Gotham to allow him to have garnered more sway in the city by The Batman 2.
Bane received among the most subtle teases in The Batman towards the end of the movie. Broken down and defeated by the sheer exhaustion of fighting off Riddler's followers, Batman injected himself with an unknown green liquid in a last-ditch effort to save Selina Kyle from a goon.
Injecting himself with this mysterious serum sent Robert Pattinson's hero into an instant frenzy of energy, strength, and aggression, so what was it? Many have speculated this serum may be venom, an addictive super-steroid and the source of Bane's extreme strength.
Venom greatly predates Bane in DC Comics with a story arc that saw Batman become highly addicted to the powerful steroid. The drug is now typically more closely associated with Bane, meaning the latest Batman may have already encountered the powerful villain, or his introduction may be still to come.
Granted, there's no way of telling with any certainty that the serum Batman used was venom, it could just as easily be a mere adrenaline shot or something else. But the fit of anger and strength it catapulted onto Bruce, demonstrates all the telltale signs of venom.
The Batman didn't tease Two-Face directly as a future villain, but District Attorney Gil Colson was among Riddler's many victims. With the high-ranking position now vacant, the doors are open for an early-career Harvey Dent to fulfill the position before becoming the coin-flipping antagonist down the line.
Dent could logically be introduced in the position in The Batman 2 or the Gotham PD spin-off series, opening the doors for him to take a villainous turn down the line. After all, Two-Face's coin-flipping method of decision-making could fit perfectly into the cynical and realistic world Matt Reeves has created.
Court of Owls
The Court of Owls is one of the more recent introductions into the Batman mythos, being only a decade old. The wealthy and violent cabal was introduced as an ancient conspiracy who have controlled Gotham throughout history, using its highly-trained Talon assassins to maintain political influence.
With corruption in Gotham having been critical to The Batman, many have theorized the Court of Owls may be controlling the city from deep in the shadows. Some have even speculated that Thomas and Martha Wayne could have been involved with the conspiracy.
The orchestrator of their murder was left unanswered by the final credits, with Carmine Falcone and Salvatore Maroni being the top contenders, but perhaps their role in the Court of Owls may have been involved.
Batman actor Robert Pattinson has already theorized himself that the ancient group will appear in The Batman 2; after all, the corrupt Gotham history Riddler exposed certainly pointed the story in that direction.
Actors Max and Charlie Carver appeared briefly in The Batman as the twin bouncers blocking The Dark Knight's entry into Penguin's Iceberg Lounge. For now, their identities remain unconfirmed, but their family relationship may point to an adaptation of the Trigger Twins.
Tom and Tad Trigger were introduced into the DC world as a pair of robbing criminals, who despite sharing an almost identical appearance, have never actually been confirmed to be related. The Trigger Twins are relatively minor villains in the Batman mythos, but it stands to reason that the Carver brothers may be playing a heavily altered interpretation of the crime duo.
The Batman could easily be the final DC appearance for Max and Charlie Carver, but with the two guarding the doors to Penguin's famous club, perhaps they may see a larger role in his HBO Max series.
While exploring the corrupt history of Gotham, The Batman referenced Edward Elliot as a reporter who uncovered evidence of Martha Wayne's mental illness and trips to Arkham Asylum. Thomas attempted to pay off the reporter to keep the information quiet, but after Elliot refused to cooperate, Wayne turned to his criminal friend Carmine Falcone for help, who had Edward killed.
Interestingly enough, Thomas Elliot in DC Comics holds the moniker of Hush, an inverse of Batman who seeks vengeance against both Bruce Wayne and The Dark Knight. Having been childhood friends with Bruce, Elliot attempted to kill his parents to inherit their fortune but was thwarted by the surgical genius of Thomas Wayne.
During the explanation of Edward Elliot's connections to the Wayne family, the word "Hush" even comes on-screen, an apparent hint towards the Batman villain. Since the reporter and Bruce's parents were killed around the same time, the two could likely be around the same age, setting the stage for a future encounter.
Hush's motivations in a future sequel could instead be to seek revenge against Bruce for Thomas inadvertently getting his father killed by Falcone. Reeves has already shown his interest in using the villain down the line, so there's a strong possibility he may appear in a future sequel.
Who is The Batman 2's Villain?
Matt Reeves has already created an expansive and fleshed-out interpretation of Gotham in just one movie, with hints pointing towards a future for much of The Dark Knight's rogues gallery. But with so many villains on the table, who will the director tackle next in Robert Pattinson's sequel.
Despite having seen no real teases in the film, at least from what has been noticed at the time of writing, Matt Reeves expressed interest in adapting a realistic Mr. Freeze for the sequel. Perhaps Freeze could be a scientist aiming to find a solution for the city's recent flooding problem who ends up falling down a villainous tunnel.
With so many HBO Max spin-offs already confirmed, there's a reasonable chance some of these antagonists will play a bigger role in these series instead of the core theatrical franchise.
Who knows what the future holds for The Batman franchise, but Matt Reeves has planted plenty of seeds to keep moviegoers guessing until the next installment hits theaters. For now, The Batman is playing in theaters around the world.