DC's solo Batman film could reportedly feature this classic villain

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May 6, 2017, 7:12 PM EDT (Updated)

An actor's cryptic tweet has just set off a new round of speculation about The Batman.

Things have been kind of quiet regarding the movie ever since the flurry of activity that saw star Ben Affleck stepping down from the director's chair and Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) taking his place -- with even Reeves' hiring going through its own drama for a week or so.

Since then, the only thing we've heard is that Reeves was giving the script a complete overhaul, a development that led actor Joe Manganiello -- who was signed early on to play the villain Deathstroke -- to wonder if he would even still be in the movie.

And then yesterday, there was this tweet from actor Josh Gad, posted without comment:

What does that mean? Could Gad -- best known for comedic roles in both live-action and animated films like Frozen, Love and Other Drugs, Pixels and the current Beauty and the Beast -- be hinting that he's playing the Penguin? And could he be referring to landing the role in The Batman, or maybe the Lego Batman sequel or some other animated Bat-film?

As Slashfilm points out, it could be any one of those, but the site also notes that Gad has also recently been followed on Twitter by DC Films executives Jon Berg and Geoff Johns -- exactly what happened before Manganiello and one-time The Flash director Rick Famuyiwa got involved with the live-action DC Extended Universe (let's hope it's not a curse to be followed by those guys either, since Famuyiwa is now out and Manganiello's status is uncertain).

While the young Penguin, in the form of Robin Lord-Taylor, has been one of the breakout characters on the Gotham TV series, Oswald Cobblepot has not been seen on the big screen in live-action form since Danny DeVito portrayed him in 1992's Batman Returns. Tim Burton's take on the character was freakish and grotesque; a more grounded version of the villain, closer to the comics and focusing on his cunning, intelligence and ruthless skills as a crime boss, could make for a welcome adversary against Affleck's Batman.

Could Gad pull it off? He's got the physicality for the role, and just because he's known as a comic actor, that doesn't mean he isn't capable of darker fare. As we've seen time and time again, an actor's resume doesn't necessarily capture his or her range. Mark all of this for now as just rumor -- but maybe keep an eye on Gad's Twitter account.

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