With the anticipation of Inception's release growing, bat-fans will no doubt be looking forward to that film, but also starting to get excited about the gears beginning to move on Batman 3. Nolan of course keeps his cards very close to his chest but knowing his style of storytelling and his Batman Universe I will be very surprised if the Riddler isn’t featured in the concluding part of Nolan’s trilogy.
That being assumed, who can pull off Nolan’s Riddler? Bearing in mind this will be a Riddler incarnation that probably has never been seen in any adaptation of the prince of puzzles. I am expecting a very cerebral villain who can’t match Batman’s brute strength but can match his mind. Fans have considered a Zodiac-style mystery, or a consultant hired for the police department or even a Saw-style killer. I am expecting a strange individual who becomes obsessed with a mystery. Not a psychotic killer but a middle-aged, weird, man. A loner who seeks a mental challenge. I’m not expecting green tights and masks but a crinkled suit and glasses, simplistic like the Joker's make-up and dyed hair. Speaking of which, the next villains shoes are big ones to fill after Heath Ledger performance, meaning it’s going to take someone special to firstly be cast in the role and secondly surpass him.
So bearing that in mind, here are my outstanding candidates who I expect to be considered by Nolan or at least Warner Brothers along with their pros, cons and my opinion.
JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT – Probably the top of most people’s lists right now. Certainly a talented actor in films such as Brick and 500 Days Of Summer, but he comes across as generally quite young which may play against him for this role. Plus he’s not quite a superstar with a fair proportion of regular movie-goers not knowing him, however Inception may change all that. Personally I would prefer several others, but I feel Nolan is probably considering him.
ROBIN WILLIAMS – A big name in the world of film, who has proved his acting credentials in a variety of forms with the dramatic Good Morning Vietnam as well as more recent films such as Nolan’s creepy Insomnia. He’s recognized all around the world and can bring energy or menace depending on this new Riddler, so can certainly provide the talent since he has been closely linked to Batman roles in the past but will Warner Brothers be thinking he’s a bit past it now. Not an actor that I would pick.
MICHAEL EMERSON – One of the great characters from the TV show LOST, which has helped him raise his profile internationally. Another actor who’s great at the creepy persona's but he is a talented actor in his own right. I think he’d be an excellent choice for the Riddler that I am picturing but am worried his movie credentials aren’t great enough for him to be considered by Warner Bros, plus he has no connection with Nolan either that I’m aware of. Would take a lot for him to get the role.
DAVID TENNANT – He can definitely play the manic Riddler as seen in Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire and as the Doctor in Doctor Who, but he can also stay calm and emotional as seen in Hamlet and Doctor Who (again). Menacing villain though? I’m unsure. I think he’s a class actor but doesn’t have much appeal in the USA which can mean everything with these jobs, but he does have a cult following and a Shakespeare pedigree. Would definitely be an outsider for the role and I’m a little unsure he’d fit. But he seems to have a lot of fan power behind him in the UK. Probably not in WB or Nolan’s mind.
GUY PEARCE – Nolan has a tendency to work with familiar actors and Guy Pearce starred in one of Nolan’s most memorable films, Memento. Pearce could step into the role as an accomplished actor, but for me is not quite what I’d be looking for and I don’t think he could match Heath’s Joker. I think Nolan will also be looking elsewhere.
JOHNNY DEPP – He is one of the biggest movie stars on the planet who has a reputation for playing kooky characters such as Jack Sparrow. He could be a great fit for the Riddler, coming across as strange and mysterious and I feel could be a good match. However he is a little bit glamorous for the role so would have to, like Ledger, come across as a little grotesque rather than a pretty boy. Something I feel he wouldn’t be worried to do for the role. This is a guy Warner Brothers would love, might be left up to whether Nolan would like to work with him.
MICHAEL C HALL – This actor from TV’s Dexter, would be perfect for the menacing and quiet Riddler. Setting out dastardly plans in the same vein as Saw would fit him, he is a frightening character on his show and I could imagine him as that type of Riddler, but it would be a very dark character coming from him. Could entice Nolan but may worry Warner Brothers for his lack of starring roles in movies.
PAUL BETTANY – He was apparently a contender for the Joker in the previous film and looks the part for the Riddler. Plus he has been a villain in the past with the film Firewall, but would be a long shot for me and not one I see Nolan interested in.
SAM ROCKWELL – A fantastic actor in films such as Moon and The Green Mile plus villain-wise in Iron Man 2 he proved he can have a bit of fun with a villain too. With a great script Rockwell could be a wonderful Riddler and one I would pick.
BILL NIGHY – This is more hopeful thinking than sense, but Nighy is a fantastic actor who can perform admirably in any role he is given and is usually the best thing in any film he’s in. His Riddler would be very different to any of the others imagined but could be terrific. Almost definitely won’t happen but would love it.
So all in all, we will never know what is going on in Nolan’s head but these candidates should all make interesting foes for the dark knight to face in the next movie. If it was up to me I’d pick Michael Emerson, who do I think will be the Riddler in 2012? Johnny Depp. Whoever it is I still trust Nolan to provide a fantastic interpretation of one of my favorite characters.
Posted by Nick