Nolan-ise The Rest of The Batman Universe

With The Dark Knight almost upon us, I thought it would be interesting to speculate as to where the franchise will go from here. These latest Batman movies have existed very much in their own universe, a far cry from both the campy TV series, and the day-glo mess of the Schumacher movies. Nolan’s Bat-verse is a much more gritty, realistic place, with it’s inhabitants as rooted in realism as much as possible. Gone are the garish costumes and scenery chewing performances, and in are more realistic attire, with the focus more on crime and criminality, all played out by the right man for the right job, as opposed to stunt-casting lead roles (seriously, whoever dreamt of Ledger as The Joker before it was announced?). To whit, I now give my thoughts on further possible denizens of Gotham City, with the style they might be portrayed, and a suitable actor for the job. Join in!

The Penguin

The Penguin was never a physical match for Batman, so why try portray him as such? Much better to have him as a Mob Boss of some standing, with many henchmen at his beck and call. Danny De Vito gave great penguin in Batman Returns, but would a deformed testicle with legs, controlling a flock of Penguins really wash in Nolan’s version of Batman? Instead, I propose a ruthless Arms Dealer, connoisseur of fine wines and cigars, complete with Monocle and, if you must, webbed hands, who crosses paths with batman when ol’ Batty starts turning his sights on the gun trade in Gotham. Sword in Umbrella has GOT to stay. For this job, I propose Jim Broadbent. Too old? Ok, Ralph Fiennes.

The Riddler

To me, The Riddler was a strange one; asking questions for no good reason. His outlandish crimes of old now seem silly in this gritty new take, so why not change him to say, a Kidnapper? Then he can leave as many creepy riddle clues as he likes. Or better again, if the censors would allow it, a Serial Killer, the likes of Seven’s John Doe, or Jigsaw of the Saw movies. Bats would have to solve riddles to try to save people trapped in nightmarish traps, to a ticking clock. This would really play up to Batman’s Detective skills, and would probably leave the movie a lot slower paced than matinee audiences would care for, but hey, I’d pay to see it. For the part? Well, for creepy serial killer types, we can’t always go knocking on Leland Orser’s door… Let’s have the guy that plays Ben from Lost.

Poison Ivy

Where the new Batman movies differ from say, Spider-Man, is that not many of their villains are as a result of toxic/nuclear/genetic mutation. The new Joker didn’t fall in a vat of chemicals, he’s just a nutcase with a cut up face and warpaint. As such, Poison Ivy can’t emerge from a Lab accident… must better to have her as portrayed in the animated series; as an environmentalist (or enviro-mentalist) hugely distressed at city officials who intend to level a sizeable portion of woodlands outside Gotham. She then goes about knocking them off one by one… Poison Lipstick is cool, it can stay. Of course, she can’t look like one of those new-age traveler chicks that stay up trees that are about to cut down, she’s gotta be smokin’ hot. I would say Maggie Gyllenhall, but she’s already cast… Selma Blair wouldn’t be bad.


None of this brought-back-to-life-by-cats bullshit; the new Catwoman just needs to be a Cat-burglar, of considerable skill. La Parkour free-running over rooftops in slinky skin-tight black clothes, complete with whip… all that is fine. Communicating with actual felines? Lose it. She’s gotta be a good Selina Kyle too, to arouse the interest of Bruce Wayne. She’s built for speed, so I’m afraid that rules out the bustier of actresses… Step forward Bryce Dallas Howard.
Any other thoughts about updating other characters to fit into Nolan’s new Bat-Universe?

I completely agree with your concept of the Penguin. In the comics, he was originally just a mob boss who happened to like dressing formally. Ralph Fiennes would be great.

Interesting ideas for the Riddler. . . . might I suggest Eugene Levy? He actually looks like the Riddler, the way comics artists drew him before Frank Gorshin played the role.

Two-Face works if you tone him down a bit. Let’s say he was a district attorney and he did get half of his face splashed with acid. He’s scarred on one side, but not to a freak show extent. And rather than the whole psycho incarnation-of-Janus thing, let’s say that his former ideals are now at war with his becoming a bitter vigilante, with him rationalizing the results of flipping the double-headed coin as fate. Sorry, I have no idea who to cast as him.

Wasn’t there a split-second cameo of Zsasz in Batman Begins? He’d work in the Nolan-verse completely as-is.

Harley Quinn is believable as well. A number of serial killers have had groupies even after incarceration. She’s a more effective version of Squeaky Fromme to the Joker’s Manson.


And It’s being played exactly as you say. You catch a glimpse of him (as in, Two-Face, not just Dent) in the trailer. He’s not wearing a suit made of two halves, or any garish gimmick like that, he’s just a badly scarred man.

My take would be to:

  1. Show him (just peripherically) as an ally to the Batman
  2. Have him joining the Batman’s crusade… just a bit more reckless than the Batman. Just enough that the Batman shows unease at some of his actions
  3. There would have to be some accident, scarring Harvey, or, maybe, his family
  4. And after that, at first it would seem that Dent is carrying on, business as usual. But then some copycat(?) would be using his methods… on upstanding citizens

So what happens to Bat-Mite?

Batman is out defeating some arch-baddy when two innocent victims are killed in the line of fire–the mother and father of a young boy, who barely escapes with his life. The boy’s next on the target list, for whatever reason, so Batman brings him back to the mansion to let him recuperate and hide out. Cue bonding scenes with healthy amounts of awkwardness and spats. Boy turns out to be smart as a whip, and you know the rest.

Is it possible? I have no idea who you’d even cast…

You’re against stunt-casting but you want Ralph Fiennes as the Penguin?! The Penguin is supposed to be short and fat. He can’t be played by a guy who nine billion women want to fuck. I don’t know who would be the best guy for the job, but not Ralph Fiennes. Also, arms dealers might be the second most cliched villains ever, next to evil scientists.

Yeh but it works on multiple levels: First, the Batman’s hatred of guns. Secondly, that flooding Gotham with stolen untraceable guns contributes to it’s crime problem. And thirdly that as THE source in Gotham of military-grade ordinance (automatics, grenade launchers, RPGs, etc.) the Penguin is almost an uber-gangster; he can dictate who rises and who falls in the underworld by who he chooses to equip.

For what it’s worth, the Penguin is sometimes portrayed as short and thin, although not as often as short and fat. The real key is that he’s a physical weakling. I’m with you that Fiennes is a bad choice. I think DeVito, physically, will never be outmatched as Penguin.
And while arms dealers might be clichee’d, that’s what the Penguin is in modern day comic books: his character is a businessman, and there’s no combination of crime and business like the arms angle.

The thing is, with the new Universe, I just can’t see this Batman bringing in a kid. That’d be insane. Obviously in the old era, the kid sidekick was the tie-in to get young boys interested, because heck, they could BE that sidekick right now! They could dream of waking up one morning and becoming the boy wonder!

So if you’re going to do it now, I suggest they follow the Dick Greyson character birth, but without having Bruce Wayne adopt him. Have him make himself Robin while living in the Narrows or some suitably horrid place, and appear in a very minor role in one of the movies as a completely independent (and in over his head) hero before being reluctantly taken under Batman’s wing in the next movie in order to save his life.
The name is a little Hokey, but I could see The Clock King (ala the Animated Series) as an effective villain. The ability to pause time and/or speed himself up would lend itself well to the Universe and to special effects. THAT is a role for Ralph Fiennes in suit with clock arm cane.

The thread is open to suggestions, y’know. :wink:
Like i said, Jim Broadbent would be ideal, Ralph Fiennes just kinda stuck in my head for a younger choice.

Mr Freeze, Killer Croc, Sol Grundy… any suggestions?

Killer Croc wouldn’t really be a recognizable character, what with the gobs of make-up required, so I don’t have a good idea on either of them.

I think John Tuturro would be a great pick for Mr. Freeze: he’s got that jittery quality to him that I think would help emphasize the pathos of the character: he’s stuck in a terrible situation and resorts to crime because of it.

My first pick for Solomon Grundy would be Michael Clarke Duncan… how many ridiculously gigantic actors are there that can play a role well? Plus, it would allow him to redeem himself in comic book nerds’ eyes for his participation in Daredevil.

Something to add, though, is that all three of these characters are pretty far removed from the Nolan world of ‘real world Batman’. You can’t have Mr. Freeze without some sort of otherworldly deep freezing technology. Croc… without the Crocification… well, he’s just a strong guy with a mean streak.

I suppose I could see Grundy in a Nolan world, but the character’s just not interesting enough to make a good villain. You know who would be a great villain for a movie, though? Mad Hatter. Creepy child molester makes for a great villain, and while the whole mind-control hat thing is definitely something a bit more in tune with the older Batman movies, certainly some sort of high-tech cranial explosives would serve perfectly in the new Batman movie world.

Exactly. John Turturro is an excellant choice for Freeze, but does freeze even belong in this universe? A freeze-ray? In Nolan’s version of Gotham? I couldnt make it “fit”, myself. Same with Croc, or even Clay-Face or Man-Bat… they suit Spider-man’s universe moreso than Nolan. Is Nolan, in his quest to create a “real-world” superhero, painting himself int a corner? Are we going to miss out on Mr. Freeze (who in Batman; TAS is such, SUCH a fantastic, three-dimensional character) just because Freeze-guns are too campy? Or are we going to have a worls like that inhabited by Singer’s X-Men, where the fantastic and the realistic blendin JUST the right quantities?

As for Robin, the best match to this real-world Batman would be DKR’s version, Carrie Kelly; as in, a kid that Batman can use to get info on street gangs by sending her/ him undercover to garner information from gangs and suchlike. Who to cast? I dunno… any good kid actors, or anyne that can play mid to late teens? Anyone says Shia leBeouf gets whipped with a utility belt.

I’d really like to see an adaptation of Mr. Freeze, based of of the Heart of Ice story, which is so powerful. I’m not sure how you work his weaponry into the game, but after the magical microwave gun, maybe you can. First thought on casting: Anthony Hopkins.

You maybe even could do the Ventriloquist, though he may be too campy. Is Batman prepared for MPD?

I had seen the Harvey Dent version of the Dark Knight Trailer before, But never noticed, until your post inspired me to rewatch it carefully, that we will get to see a Two-Face origin in this film. Looks like Joker is to blame for the creation. I knew about Aaron Eckhart’s presence in the film as Dent and I knew that Nolan was setting him up to be Two-Face, but I didn’t realize that, in this film he would get any closer to becoming Two-Face than Billy Dee Williams.

Trailer that explores the Harvey Dent story.

The Penguin could be played by Peter Dinklage. I think he’d do well in the Nolan version of the Penguin.

And if you really want to mindfuck the role, you cast Owen Wilson. I wonder if they could get that sort of acting range out of him.
Edit: Let me make that clear. Not Owen Wilson as in every other role he’s played. But doing the Heath Ledger “How the fuck did this guy play that role?” bit of playing a completely creepy psychopathic pedophile who likes to mind control people.