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Colin Farrell had Bat-fans reaching for their monocles to see whether the actor was really underneath all those elaborate Penguin prosthetics in early glimpses of director Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman. Now he’s reportedly set to commit to the conniving character for a lengthier run on the small screen, as a major piece of the casting puzzle for an upcoming spinoff series bound for HBO Max.
Confirming previous speculation that he was an early casting target, Variety reports that Farrell has officially agreed to reprise his role as Oswald Cobblepot (aka The Penguin) at HBO Max. As The Penguin, he’ll be setting up shop as the resident villain in the version of Gotham City that Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne patrols with vigilante justice in Warner Bros.’ The Batman, which is set to arrive in theaters next year.
In keeping with the crossover DNA between the movie and the series, Reeves will serve as an executive producer for the HBO Max show, which doesn’t yet have an announced title. It sounds as though The Penguin will be the center of attention, though: Variety’s report reveals that the series will “reportedly delve into The Penguin’s rise to power in the Gotham criminal underworld.”
Lauren LeFranc (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Impulse) will reportedly write the series with Farrell, Reeves, and The Batman producer Dylan Clark executive producing, in association with Reeves’ 6th & Idaho and Clark’s Dylan Clark Productions. Warner Bros. Television will reportedly produce the series, one of two small-screen spinoffs from The Batman that have been pitched as HBO Max exclusives.
The Penguin has had a way of attracting top talent to portray DC’s corpulent criminal over the years, with the role inhabited in previous big-screen incarnations by Burgess Meredith (1966’s Batman) and Danny DeVito (in Tim Burton’s 1992 Batman Returns). On the small screen, Robin Lord Taylor most recently repped a younger version of The Penguin in Fox’s Gotham.
Early peeks at Farrell’s character in The Batman show a grotesque, scarred, and appropriately paunchy Penguin underneath an impressive layer of practical effects prosthetics, though DC and Warner Bros. have remained admirably coy when it comes to revealing how he’ll fit into the story. There’s no early word on the spinoff series’ possible debut date, but over on the big screen, the wait for The Batman is almost over: Pattinson is poised to answer the Bat-signal on March 4 of next year, when the film makes its long-awaited debut in theaters.