Every actor who has played the Riddler

Remix by Keane Eacobellis

Riddle me this, riddle me that: Who’s played the man with the question-marked hat…?

Since debuting on the comic book page in 1948, just nine years after Batman, the Riddler has become one of the Dark Knight’s most recurring enemies. While he might not be adapted for the screen quite as often as the likes of the Joker or Catwoman, the Riddler has still been a fixture of Batman movies, TV series, video games, and more over the decades, with the evil genius’ constant clues to his crimes stumping the World’s Greatest Detective across the mediums.

With Paul Dano now starring as the darkest take yet on the character in The Batman, the Robert Pattinson vehicle that is wowing audiences around the globe, it’s time to take a look back at the many faces of the Riddler on screen.

Frank Gorshin

Image via 20th Century Fox

The Riddler was launched into the big leagues of Batman’s rogues gallery thanks to the 1960s Batman TV series in which the Prince of Puzzles was portrayed by Frank Gorshin across 10 episodes of the show. Gorshin also has the honor of being the first person to play the Riddler on the big screen, too, as he reprised his role in 1966’s Batman: The Movie. Gorshin’s manic antics and signature giggle transformed the Riddler into one of pop culture’s most iconic villains.

John Astin

Image via 20th Century Fox

Gorshin’s popularity meant that John Astin had a hard time stepping into his shoes after the actor proved unavailable for a two-part storyline in Batman‘s second season. Astin, most known as Gomez Addams in the original Addams Family series, brought his customary charisma to the part, but audiences didn’t appreciate the recasting, so Gorshin was brought back for season three.

John Glover

Image via Warner Bros. Animation

Outside of the Riddler’s appearances on the Super Friends cartoons of the 1980s (in which he was voiced by Michael Bell), the next most notable screen incarnation of the foe hails from Batman: The Animated Series. Beginning in 1992, future Smallville and Batman & Robin star John Glover voiced Edward Nygma, who’s portrayed in the show as an expert on virtual reality video games. Glover reprised the part for The New Batman Adventures.

Jim Carrey

jim carrey riddler
Image via Warner Bros.

The Riddler returned to live-action with 1995’s Batman Forever, in which Jim Carrey famously portrayed Nygma, teaming up with Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face to terrorize Val Kilmer’s Caped Crusader. Clad in a skin-hugging green leotard, Carrey’s Riddler went even further than Gorshin’s in chewing the scenery — or blowing it up, as the case may be, seeing as he successfully infiltrated and destroyed the Batcave.

Robert Englund

Image via Warner Bros. Animation

Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund is another worthwhile animated take on the Riddler. The Nightmare on Elm Street legend voiced the character on The Batman, which ran from 2004-8. Englund’s Edward sported a bold character redesign, who was given a goth-like appearance including pale features and long black hair. Other animated TV Riddlers include Dave Franco in Young Justice, Weird Al Yankovic in DC Super Hero Girls, and Jim Rash in HBO Max’s Harley Quinn.

Wally Wingert

The Riddler
Image via Rocksteady Studios

The Riddler has appeared in a range of Batman video games, including LEGO Batman and Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within, but easily his most prominent adaptation in the medium comes from the Arkham games. As voiced by Wally Wingert, Nygma is a key part of all four main games in the franchise, as he’s responsible for all the puzzle-solving content that is infamous for driving players up the wall.

Corey Michael Smith

Image via Warner Bros. Television

The Riddler made his return to live-action television with FOX’s Batman prequel series Gotham, which premiered in 2014. Cory Michael Smith took on the role in a portrayal that is widely regarded by fans as one of the finest interpretations of the character. Beginning as a shy forensic scientist, Smith’s Edward Nygma descended into villainy across the show’s five seasons, developing a love-hate relationship with the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor).

Conan O’Brien

Image via Warner Bros.

Yes, Conan O’Brien has played the Riddler. 2017’s The LEGO Batman Movie featured a range of cameos from Gotham’s most infamous fiends — memorably, Zoe Kravitz made her debut as Catwoman not knowing that she’d eventually get the gig for real in The Batman. For the Riddler’s brief appearance, the late-night talk show host lent his familiar tones to the character.

Paul Dano

Image via Warner Bros.

Last but not least, Paul Dano breathes fresh life into the oft-portrayed puzzler in The Batman. Easily the most original adaptation of the villain to date, Dano’s Riddler isn’t just a cryptic thief but a full-blown serial killer, leading Batman and the police along with his clues, very much akin to the Zodiac killer. His green, question-marked attire is also gone, switched for a grimy raincoat and taped-together mask. The reinterpretation fits the crime thriller tone of the movie perfectly, however, and Dano provides a truly chilling performance.

You can catch Dano’s Riddler in The Batman, playing in theaters now.

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