Yesterday, the internet was ablaze that a classic Batman rogue may be preparing to make his cinematic re-debut. See, back in 1992 Danny DeVito played The Penguin in Batman Returns, and the character has lied dormant ever since. Now there’s talk that the villain could be pop up in one (or both) of the following DCU movies: The Batman or Birds of Prey.
If it’s the former option, that would fly in the face of early reports that The Batman director Matt Reeves wanted to go deeper into the Dark Knight’s rogues than we’ve seen before. While he may not be an A-lister along the lines of The Joker, Penguin is definitely one of Batman’s more famous villains. And yet, here we are, with a pair of tweets from Variety’s Justin Kroll:
Take this with a grain of salt as things are constantly changing in the DCEU but I’m hearing the Penguin is possibly the choice to play the main villain in THE BATMAN. Sources add even if Reeves decide to go another route the studio could then make him the main villain in BOP
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) May 30, 2018
Reeves is still working on the script, so that could always change but of the multiple BIRDS OF PREY scripts submitted, one does have the Penguin as the main heavy. Either way, it seems WB wants this character cast in the universe sooner rather then later.
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) May 30, 2018
For those of you who can’t read the embedded tweets for whatever reason, here’s what Kroll said about The Penguin possibly appearing in The Batman or Birds of Prey:
“Take this with a grain of salt as things are constantly changing in the DCEU but I’m hearing the Penguin is possibly the choice to play the main villain in THE BATMAN. Sources add even if Reeves decide to go another route the studio could then make him the main villain in BOP
Reeves is still working on the script, so that could always change but of the multiple BIRDS OF PREY scripts submitted, one does have the Penguin as the main heavy. Either way, it seems WB wants this character cast in the universe sooner rather then later.”
It should be noted, again, that there are multiple versions of the Birds of Prey script. As I’ve reported on in the past, this is the WB’s approach when it comes to these films, where there are multiple versions of the same movie sort of “competing to be produced.”
With that said, it doesn’t sound like it’s a lock we’ll see the Penguin in either film, but Kroll’s last sentence is interesting. “Either way, it seems WB wants this character cast in the universe sooner rather then later.” That implies that, for whatever reason, the studio wants Penguin back in the spotlight.
That got me thinking back to some interesting happenings from last year. Things that involved DC, Geoff Johns, and a certain actor at DC headquarters publicly campaigning for the role. The actor in question is Josh Gad, and here are a few tweets/replies he’s sent out between May of 2017 and March of this year:
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) May 2, 2017
Nothing to see here… pic.twitter.com/3wIc1Fj4Wr
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) June 2, 2017
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) March 2, 2018
That first one shows him seemingly randomly posting a picture of the Penguin in May. The second one shows him at DC HQ, posing next to Geoff Johns while holding up a Batman/Penguin comic book with the caption “Nothing to see here” last June, and the last one is from March. Matt Reeves posted a tweet claiming the rumors of his departure from The Batman were untrue, and Gad posted a meme featuring penguins as a direct reply to the director.
While the actor has acknowledged that much of this is in jest, it’s one of those things where there’s just enough smoke to make you think there’s fire here. Gad has some sizable hits under his belt, having appeared in last year’s smash hit Beauty and The Beast and voiced Olaf in another Disney smash, Frozen, and Warner Bros. would likely want to pay some attention to him if he’s out and about telling the world he’d like to play an iconic villain in a DC movie.
I’m not saying there’s a direct link, as this is likely all just a coincidence, but it’s something worth keeping in mind as this “Penguin in the DCU” rumor goes around.
As for me, Gad is not my pick for a new Oswald Cobblepott. I’m much more intrigued by other suggestions I’ve seen online; Ones like Reeves’ recent collaborator Andy Serkis. Or, even more interesting to me, is this suggestion for Steve Carrell pitched- along with this great piece of artwork- by artist and filmmaker John Regan:
What do you think of Penguin getting a cinematic rebirth? Which project would you rather see him in? Who would you like to see play him?