As much as some fans would love to see it, there was never any chance of Paul Dano’s Edward Nashton squeezing himself into a lime green leotard, wearing a bowler hat and twirling a cane in The Batman, even if it would be a bold experiment to drop a the human equivalent of a quiz night on acid into Matt Reeves’ grounded, gritty universe.
Dano is one of the most unsung character actors in the business, based largely on just how good he is at inhabiting roles that aren’t particularly showy in the standard sense, but effective and unsettling enough to get under your skin nonetheless.
Take that approach, marry it to an antagonist arguably best known these days for pissing off video game completionists, and we may have something truly special on our hands. We’ve known for a long time that the Zodiac Killer was going to be a huge influence on The Batman‘s Riddler, but Reeves broke it down a little more in a chat with Total Film.
“Early on, this idea of doing a serial-killer story popped into my head, and I started thinking about superheroes; the idea of wearing costumes. I read Mindhunter. It made me think of the Zodiac killer, and how he actually wore this primitive costume that really is a primitive superhero costume… a rogues’ gallery costume.
And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s really scary, the idea of people really wearing masks, and withholding their identities, and terrorizing people, and how scary that is.’ And so I started thinking, ‘Well, it could be an origin tale for the Riddler, and it could be an origin tale for some of these other characters.'”
Unless his mother’s name was also Martha and he’s furious about it, we’ve got no idea what Riddler’s endgame is in The Batman, other than just generally turning both of Bruce Wayne’s lives upside down. We can’t wait to see it, though, and we’re only 31 days away from the Dark Knight’s latest reboot coming to theaters.