New Batman Theory Says Paul Dano Isn’t The Real Riddler

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After months of anticipation and intense speculation, the first full trailer for The Batman has arrived. The preview – which dropped at DC FanDome – not only surprised fans with a good long look at Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of playboy billionaire turned vigilante Bruce Wayne, but also its inclusion of the Penguin and the Riddler, two major villains of the Caped Crusader who have not appeared in a Batman movie for quite a while.

In fact, the last time we saw the Riddler show up on screen was in 1995’s Batman Forever. There, he was portrayed in a fairly zany fashion by comedic actor Jim Carrey, who donned a green, question-marked spandex suit and bright orange hair. This time around, he assumes a more intimidating look, one akin to an unhinged, ultra-violent, duct-tape-loving serial killer.

That serial killer, by the way, is being portrayed by Paul Dano, who you may know from movies like Swiss Army Man, Wildlife and There Will Be Blood, among others. But while Dano’s take on the supervillain makes him more menacing, it also makes him a bit more generic and predictable.

Given how his character is a smartass who relies on deception and manipulation in order to get what he wants, it seems highly unlikely that the Riddler is who he seems he is. Furthermore, seeing how the character has tried to screw with Batman’s mind since his earliest inception, it’s likely that he’ll subvert audience expectations, too. And what better way to do that than through a good, old switcheroo?

There’s an interesting new theory going around that puts forth the idea that the masked criminal posing for the Riddler in the film’s trailer isn’t actually the Riddler. Taking note of the fact that Barry Keoghan recently joined the cast as Stanley Merkel, a young GCPD officer who’s said to spearhead the Riddler investigation, there’s a chance that he could be the true mastermind instead.

As Express explains:

What seems odd is that Barry is quite the up-and-coming star and this feels like quite a small role for him, but one that surely has a purpose. Let’s also not forget that he played the creepy psychotic Martin in The Killing of a Sacred Deer opposite The Batman’s Penguin, Colin Farrell.

And considering Barry is playing a role so close to the film’s main detective other than Batman, what if he’s actually The Riddler hiding in plain sight? After all, there’s already a theory that Dano’s supposed Riddler will turn out to be The Joker.

Reeves said at DC Fandome over the weekend: “Paul Dano plays a version of The Riddler that no one has ever seen before. What he’s doing is, I think, going to blow people’s minds.”

Tell us, though, what did you think about the first trailer to The Batman? And what are your thoughts on this theory? Let us know in the comments!