Opinion: Could Batman 3 Not Have a Main Villain?


The following is an opinion piece written by Matt, a friend of Batman-News.com.

With the start of principal photography on Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film getting closer, speculation on the Dark Knight’s next adventure is growing rampant. As the months have passed, there has been increasing anxiety amongst the fans to learn the details of the film’s story and, particularly, the villain(s).

Over the past year or so, there have been various casting rumors for villains such as Catwoman and the Riddler. Talented actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Emily Blunt have been rumored for the role of Selina Kyle while Joseph Gordon Levitt and Johnny Depp have been frequently mentioned for Mr. Nygma. There’s even been a rumor that Phillip Seymour Hoffman could be up for the Penguin (a rumor that was also prevalent prior to The Dark Knight’s production). Killer Croc is the most recently rumored nemesis for the film. But that’s precisely what all these reports are: rumors.

Even the actors slated to return, like Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, have said they don’t know who Batman will be facing come spring.

With filming slated to begin six months from now and the lack official casting news or villain reports, this leads me to speculate, could Batman 3 not have a main villain?

It seems like a highly unlikely scenario, but it really depends on the story. Back in March, Christopher Nolan spoke to the L.A. Times about his new Superman film and third Batman film. In the article he emphasized the return supporting cast and his focus on viewing the film as the ending of a story rather than the expansion of a story.

“The key thing that makes the third film a great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story. And in viewing it as the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story…I’m very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we’ve done with the characters. My brother has come up with some pretty exciting stuff. Unlike the comics, these things don’t go on forever in film and viewing it as a story with an end is useful. Viewing it as an ending, that sets you very much on the right track about the appropriate conclusion and the essence of what tale we’re telling.”

Nolan went on to say that he didn’t feel right talking about the villains but did reveal it won’t be Mr. Freeze.

The above quote stuck out to me. That Nolan is more focused on telling an appropriate story to bring his Bat-saga to an end says to me that the next film will not be just another story about Batman having to foil a new villain who is terrorizing Gotham. Obviously Nolan could do his finale and incorporate a new main villain, but would Nolan shoe horn in a villain just because that’s what everyone expects?

Now think back to the ending of The Dark Knight. The film ends with Batman taking the blame for the death of Harvey Dent and all the people that Dent murdered in order to keep the hope of the city. Ultimately, I think Nolan will focus on how Batman’s change in status will impact Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, Alfred and maybe Lucius Fox, and the conflicts that arise from that.

Whatever rogues gallery villains Nolan and Goyer may use, I imagine they will be more low-key like Ra’s al Ghul, Scarecrow and Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins as it relates to screen time and prominence. A scenario I personally would love to see is a Long Halloween like Situation where Gotham is overrun with the freaks, and several rogues gallery characters could appear in small roles. Afterall, The Long Halloween has often been cited as an influence on Nolan and Goyer’s take on the character. Something else I think likely is that a more “human” villain like politician Rupert Thorne be used and he could hire someone like Deadshot to take down the Bat. This is pure speculation on my part though.

I would be really happy to see Catwoman and Riddler in the next film. In fact, many web sites such as BOF and IGN claim their sources are saying Catwoman will be in the film. With Batman a fugitive, she certainly fits. As for the Riddler, he is personally my favorite Batman villain aside from the Joker (and Gary Oldman’s too). Before The Dark Knight, I was already wishing to see Nolan’s interpretation of the Prince of Puzzles. Many fans would agree that the Riddler could easily fit Nolan’s more grounded-in-reality take on the mythos. I have also felt that with a character like the Riddler, Nolan could have fun forcing the audience to pay attention as he’s done with his other, Non-Batman movies. But ultimately the issue at hand is, is that the right story to tell as a follow up to The Dark Knight? We will all find out soon.

And frankly, as much as I would be happy with either Catwoman or the Riddler, I personally would rather see a villain that hasn’t been used on the big screen before which makes characters such as Black Mask and even Killer Croc sound all the more appealing to me. Either way, my gut feeling says that Nolan will do something unexpected with the next movie.

You can check out Matt’s new blog at smee319.wordpress.com. Views expressed here are his own.

Related: Features The Dark Knight Rises

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  • Sounds awesome. Can’t wait for any news whatsoever to become official about B3!

  • Roberta

    I think that a good way of Nolan wrapping up the trilogy would be to deal with the nutcases who escaped Arkham Asylum in the first movie, which would also include several villains in small cameos just like suggested here.

  • Simon

    Well….. So íf there will be another villain it could be that the new villain will have the lesser-villain role rather than a big main-villain role like only the Joker has had of the 2 Batman movies.
    It sounds okay to me! Just like you, I would love to see Nolan’s take on the Riddler and as well of Catwoman. But I think that bad-guy’s like Deadshot en Rupert Thorne could make it in the third rather than villains like Catwoman. As the time passes I really start to lesser care of who the villains will be. I just can’t wait to see another Nolan/Batman film!!! Whatever he does with it. But I still hope they will film the entire movie in the IMAX format :D That would be awesome.

  • I can´t imagine the movie without a main villain…it sounds weird.
    And Catwoman will not be in the movie. Copy this.
    All these rumors are BS. Only the Nolans know which villains will be in it.
    The rest don´t know nothing.

  • Anonymous

    After “Hancock” it would be nice to see a superhero movie that can work without a main villan.

  • Anonymous

    I just hope they find a way to close this franchise like with Toy Story 3 and make it more (everything really) about Bruce Wayne then the villains.

  • DeLio

    With Hardy being added to the cast, an early specualation just keeps ringing in my head louder now. Hush. Hush is a newer, lesser known villain, which is the kind of villian he’s looking for, and because of how Hush operates, it would tie into an ending perfectly. Hush would slowly chip away at Bruce, not Batman, until the final confrontation came, and then a conclusion. And Tom Hardy and Hush, brilliance.

  • Matt

    I just wanted to say “thank you” to everyone who took the time to read this. The comments mean a lot too. I’m stoked that Tom Hardy has been cast and I am excited to see him in whatever role he is playing.

    One observation I forgot to include is that the Joker’s line, “They’ll be doubling up the rate this city’s inhabitants are losing their minds.” This is another reason why I think it’s possible we could see multiple villains running around Gotham like in The Long Halloween. Nolan gave a one-line origin for the rest of the rogues gallery.

  • wonderwitch

    i’d just really like a cool female character. i trust nolan to make a good movie, i’d just like a strong female character to go along with that, plz. rachel dawes didn’t really do it for me, especially when maggie gylenhaal got her turn to play her. I’d also like it if the female character didn’t die. I don’t really care if its catwoman or talia or whatever (although i think the talia character has potential seeing as ras was in the first movie. imagine how effed up she is with a murdered mom and a dad like that, it would be alot to work with.) but i’d like a good actress to be used, in keeping with the quality of the other actors.

    love the site, btw!

  • Tiago

    i think everyone would love to see a main villain, especially the riddler, come forth in the next film. but this article makes a lot of sense. if nolan wants to finish the series, then it would be very difficult to simply introduce such a huge character without throwing it aside at the end of the film, which no one wants to see. he already has enough problems to deal with with the joker’s role, physically or not, in this next film. another big-time villain could just be throwing a large wrench in his gears.

  • Americanthrift

    As soon as TDK ended, I went to dinner with friends and said I thought the next movie would have no MAIN VILLAIN. Instead, I theorized that “Batman is the villain, and the ‘bad guys’ in the movie are really law enforcement and other agents who believe they are doing the right thing by eradicating the city of Batman.” I do think Catwoman or some type of love interest/femme fatale that is on the wrong side of the law fits in well with this arc. Batman of course needs criminals to take down, but given this scenario their threats could be either more random or more personal in nature to Bruce, rather than the city-wide terror threats that Ras and Joker have already posed. I don’t think there needs to be another HUGE threat to the city to make TDKR interesting.

  • Mayokunolawale

    i hope tom hardy is hugo strange. he isnt as popular some other villans and it would fit well with the story. My theory for the next film is that since the people of Gotham belive that batman was responsible 4 the death of harvey dent, they would demand for batman to be caught and therfore the police would turn to hugo strange to help reveal his identity and catch him. Thats my thoery. By the way, i’m nt a big batman fan. :)