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SYFY WIRE The Batman

Paul Dano will play The Riddler in Matt Reeves' The Batman

By Matthew Jackson
Paul Dano 2019

Matt Reeves' The Batman has found its Riddler. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emmy and BAFTA nominee Paul Dano has been cast in the film as the legendary enemy of The Dark Knight, joining a cast led by Robert Pattinson in the title role.

Dano's version of the character will reportedly be named Edward Nashton instead of Edward Nygma, the comic book moniker the character has carried since his creation in 1948. According to THR, Jonah Hill was previously considering joining the film as either The Riddler or The Penguin, but ultimately passed on a deal, leaving the role open for another actor. Dano, whose recent credits include Escape at Dannemora and Okja, will now take on the role as part of a live-action legacy for the character that already includes Frank Gorshin, John Astin, Jim Carrey, and Cory Michael Smith.

Dano's introduction to The Batman cast adds to an already impressive roster that includes Pattinson, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Jim Gordon, and Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman. Reeves will serve as director and co-writer alongside Mattson Tomlin, having taken over the film from Ben Affleck, who was previously attached to star before dropping out the DC Comics movie sphere altogether. 

Created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang, The Riddler first appeared in Detective Comics #140 and has since gone on to become one of Batman's most popular and prevalent foes. His gimmick is right there in his name: He's obsessed with riddles and puzzles, and often leaves them as clues to point Batman in the right direction, provided The Dark Knight can solve them. Like other key members of the Batman rogues gallery, he has no superpowers, but is often defined by his intelligence and arrogance, as he believes himself to be Batman's intellectual superior. He's also, thanks to the story "Zero Year," now tied into Batman's formation as a hero more than he was before, which could be key to his future film appearances. 

The Riddler's popularity has led to appearances across media, from comics to video games to animation and live action. The last time we saw the character on the big screen was in 1995's Batman Forever, and the Riddler was a key player in Fox's recently wrapped Gotham TV series. Now, with Dano taking up the question-mark-shaped cane, we'll likely see a darker side of the Riddler as he faces off with Pattinson's Caped Crusader.

The Batman arrives June 25, 2021.