The Batman, if it ever graduates from development into production, may do as so many other Batman movies — really, all of them — have before it. Audiences could be treated to two bad guys as opposed to one.
Prevailing wisdom is The Batman’s arch-villain will be Oswald Cobblepot, better known as The Penguin, with Andy Serkis as the top candidate to play him.
Who the other Bat villain will be hasn’t gotten out as of yet. Batman News notes we probably won’t see Catwoman again unless Matt Reeves wants a do-over of Batman Returns. They also point out it will have to be someone who possesses muscle — brute attributes that could pose a threat to the Dark Knight. Penguin doesn’t normally go hand to hand with the Bat but he is a kingpin of Gotham’s criminal underworld with some influence, so he might get someone to do his bidding.
Zsasz is unfortunately already booked up by Black Mask for Birds of Prey. Bane could be a possibility but, as in Batman & Robin, he isn’t suited for the lackey role. It’s likely he could show up as a man with his own agenda which would be a first. Even in Dark Knight Rises Bane was serving Talia and following in the footsteps of Ra’s Al-Ghul.
The Batman might be a bit of an origin story for Penguin like it could be for Bruce behind the cowl. Word is Reeves is keen on having a younger hero. With that, we may see a version of Fish Mooney or Carmine Falconi. The latter is very likely if Reeves goes by Batman: Year One but, for this to be a true standalone film, he will want to differentiate it from Gotham as much as he might the DCEU.
Consequently, that means there is even less reason the second foe will be someone like the Joker. Between Suicide Squad and Joker later this year, the Clown Prince of Crime is already oversaturated as far as the current crop of DC adaptations goes. On top of everything else, there are two different Jokers between Joaquin Phoenix and Jared Leto; there is no way of knowing which Joker the studio or Reeves would go with.
For something new and different, Reeves could take a cue from Aquaman and adapt aspects of the New 52. An intriguing foil to throw in the mix is Emperor Penguin, someone menacing and ruthless who could tussle with Batman and give Oswald a run for his money. Emperor Penguin once engaged in a bitter turf war with Cobblepot.
Whatever direction Reeves takes, whether we see something new or a spin on something dated, doubling the amount of enemies has typically spelt disaster in a Batman or DC film with rare exception. The Penguin suffered thanks to that once before and, as one who doesn’t usually get the spotlight to himself, he deserves a chance to shine brightly.