Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fan Ramblings – Villains I doubt we’ll see in Batman 3

Before we start thinking about who we might see in the third Christopher Nolan film, let’s talk about the character we probably won’t be seeing. Quick, grab a pen and paper and write down as many members of Batman’s rogues’ gallery as you can think of. I’ll wait.

With two movies under his belt, Christopher Nolan has fairly well established his big screen Gotham City. The movies have a dark and dangerous mood to them, much like the city itself. The tone is fairly serious and plays to a more realistic idea of Batman (at least as realistic as a dude in a suit fighting crime can be). It seems pretty certain that they will want to keep with the same mood and tone in the third movie. As such there are some villains that I just don’t think can fit into this version of Gotham.

Cross off of your list:

Anyone with “powers”

The movies have played it pretty straight with the villains they have chosen. So far they have all been incredibly resourceful dudes who use weapons and violence and mind games to battle the caped crusader. None have had special augmentations or abilities (it was never stated whether Ra’s had any life sustaining powers or not, only that his “idea” was immortal). Suddenly throwing in a character who can shoot mud from his hand or command plant life is going to be jarring for an audience. If you can explain the powers away with drug use or technology, we may still be in business, but if it’s a part of you you’re probably out.

Anyone who doesn’t look like a person

So far all of our rogues have looked like more or less like normal people. Two Face had his scarring, but it wasn’t anything that helped him. It was just half of his face blown off. Scarecrow had a mask and Joker had his makeup and Ra’s had his beard. They all look like someone you could potentially see in the real world. This has nothing to do with costumes, as a good wardrobe department could take the most ridiculous costume and make it work within the story. I’m doubting the third movie will throw in a giant man-bat, a walking pile of mud, or an alligator man.

Anyone with a distracting gimmick

All Batman Rogues have a gimmick. Some characters can downplay them, and some really can’t. They are that gimmick and if you take it away they don’t really make sense anymore. Scarecrow worked because his gimmick is fear. That’s a basic human emotion. Not distracting. The Joker’s gimmick is being a clown. This was only touched on with his costume and his playing cards. There were no acid spitting flowers or circus hideouts. It was downplayed so that it wasn’t distracting. Two Face’s gimmick is duality. In the past this has gone as far as twin henchmen and always robbing things with names like Deuces Wild and the Second National Bank. But at its core it is all about that coin, and that’s what the movie focused on. Now let’s think about another villain, the Mad Hatter. His gimmick is Alice in Wonderland. His entire motive revolves around looking for his Alice and he often quotes Lewis Carol. His gimmick isn’t something that can really be boiled down into a simple emotion and without it the character just doesn’t work. You could have a guy who uses mind control hats, but without the Alice stuff it’s just not the Mad Hatter anymore. And this movie is about Batman, not Alice in Wonderland. We don’t want the audience’s minds wandering to other movies or other Mad Hatters.

So with those things in mind, who do we have left? Any who of those villains could be the best fits for the next movie? See my picks tomorrow! And if you wish to amuse yourself in the meantime check out the Wikipedia page for the list of Bat Family enemies (you know, in case you had trouble making a list of your own) and enjoy the insanity of the foes of lesser renown.


  1. I actually gave a speech on this subject like two years ago in a graduate seminar course. I still have the presentation somewhere if you would like to see it.

    As today is about what villains will not be in the film, it would also be a good idea to look up some of Christopher Nolan's statements that he made when it was first announced he would be directing the restart of the Batman movie franchise. This does come with the disclaimer of being several years old but could still hold try.

    Nolan and close friends he always writes with, have stated that Catwoman and the Penguin would not be in the films. This came from Christopher Nolan and two other writers so it may still hold true, as the studio is very unlikely to pressure or hinder Nolan and his team in there process at all given how much money they have made so far.

    Other statements made early on involved the use of the Joker most likely in the second and fourth films, the team originally being side for a five movie deal. So even excluding the death of Heath Ledger the Joker would not be making a true appearance in this film.

    You statements of character usage involving gimmicks and distilling the essence of the character without going over board with the gimmick is very important. When you have a character with a gimmick you have to walk a fine line with using that to explain/express the character without it just becoming comic relief. Many of the characters from Batman's rogues gallery are great because of this because until you finish a story you never really know which it is,... sorry about to go off on a tangent.

    While I agree Clayface and the Mad Hatter, as they are normally written, don't really work that doesn't mean they couldn't be used. A great example is Calendar Man the description that you usually read/hear (original appearance, etc.), he would be out because he is way too gimmicky, however, the more resent appearances of him have been very good.

    I fear I may be leading into tomorrow's discussion...I look forward to reading you thoughts on the matter. I believe we have discussed this, at least to some amount previously and wonder where we will both be this time.

    Have a wonderful day,

  2. I'm rooting for Red Claw, personally. I know she's a fairly minor villain as far as the overall collection goes, but I think she'd work well in a CN Batman. She fills the need for a female villain (thus far lacking in the movie continuity), could easily be played down into a strong business woman styled character, and a ruthless terrorist type would fit right in with the established world.

  3. @Lance: You gave a speech on Batman villians to a graduate class? That sounds like the most Badass class EVER!

    I probably should have thought to look up anything that Nolan had commented on about potential villians, but I was at work with no internet at the time I wrote this and was mostly going with my general thoughts. As such, Catwoman is included in my next post (as that one was written before I saw thia and found that out). Good to know.

    I did also see a comment where Nolan said the Joker was out because he just didn't feel comfortable with it. But I think it was on Wikipedia so there you go.

    They were originally on for 5 movies?! What the heck happened that now we only get 3? I feel cheated now...

    I will agree that just about any character, even if they break the above rules, could be used with the right interpretations, which is what makes speculating so fun!

    @daemonnoire: Oh Red Claw! I hadn't thought of her. I don't think she has been anywhere outside the animated series, but she was a great character and deserves to make an appearance somewhere else. I think she could work well, but with this being the last movie I imagine they will gravitate toward someone a bit more big named.

  4. @Amamda:
    It was for our graduate seminar course, we had to give a, in think, twenty-minute presentation so the profs could assess our skills and we could get practice before we had to give a scientific talk to the class.

    I have not kept up with all the internet chatter going on with the movie series for some time so things could have changed and prior statements could have been withdrawn, or forgotten.
    As I understand it is fairly common to sign, at least key, people for more movies than you are likely going to make. An example would be sign someone to make two movies but only getting the specifics on salary, trailer, attendant, etc. for the first movie and leave those specifics blank for if the studio decides if/when to make a second. This is part of while almost every movie is left somewhat open ended. It is also fairly easy for the lawyers to get people out of these deals, as if the relationship between the actor/director and studio everyone know whatever they make is probably not going to be good as every will start acting like babies until let out of the contract or completion of the project. If the relationship is good and the first films makes enough money, they will make another using the profits from the first so every penny the sequel makes is profit.

    In the case of the Batman reboot with Christopher Nolan. I had heard that all key players (Nolan, Bale, main writers, etc.) had been sign for a five-movie deal, from the beginning. As from the above that may only have been wishful thinking on the part of those involved. However, statements have been made about some form of mild plan/outline at least to the fourth. They have been extreme tightlipped, so far, about who/what will be in each movie though so it could just be an example of people actually keeping secrets.

    As to Red Claw: I thought she had made a couple appearances in the comics? I think the most resent was in the BatGirl comics se teamed up with Cain and Slade... maybe I have it wrong though. It has been I think over two years sense I've been in a comic shop...tear of sadness

    And she could be used as a 'soldier' villain in the 3rd film or henchwoman. Difference being independent or working as a subordinate.