Classic comic book villain The Penguin is the rumored current frontrunner to menace Batman in director Matt Reeves' film.
According to Variety reporter Justin Kroll, Oswald Cobblepot appears destined to make a return to the big screen, if not in The Batman, then in another DC Extended Universe release.
"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," Kroll tweeted this afternoon. "Sources add even if Reeves decide to go another route the studio could then make him the main villain in BOP [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
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) May 30, 2018
The planned first solo outing for the DCEU's Batman has run into its fair share of delays, with original director/co-writer Ben Affleck ultimately deciding in January 2017 that he would instead only star in the film. Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) was swiftly brought on to replace him. However, there have been recurring rumors that Affleck's time in the cape and cowl is nearing an end.
Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan, has been fast-tracked for development, with production expected to begin as soon as the end of this year. Margot Robbie is expected to reprise her role as Harley Quinn, with Birds of Prey reportedly taking priority over a Suicide Squad sequel. Kroll reports that earlier versions of the Birds of Prey script contained The Penguin as the main villain.
"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," he tweeted. "Either way, it seems WB wants this character cast in the universe sooner rather then later."
The Penguin memorably made his big-screen debut in 1992, in Tim Burton's Batman Returns, in which he was played by Danny DeVito. Actor Josh Gad has repeatedly teased his interest in playing the villain, fueling speculation as far back as May 2017 that he was circling a role in The Batman.