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The Batman - Part II is one of the few aspects of the old DC regime at Warner Bros. that has survived under James Gunn and Peter Safran's DC Studios. The upcoming sequel will now fall under the DC Elseworlds banner and remain separate from the interconnected DCU. Matt Reeves' first film was a major success for DC as it set new ground for the comic book movie genre. The Batman - Part II will begin filming sometime this year with a current release date set for October 2025. Many rumors have been floating around regarding who will serve as the sequel's main antagonist.
All signs are pointing towards Hush as the main villain, but Clayface and Professor Pyg have also been rumored. However, Gunn recently debunked some of the rumors, so it might be back to the drawing board. The first Batman film featured several villains, with The Riddler, Carmine Falcone, Catwoman, and The Penguin all playing a role in the noir film. However, instead of having a new character as the villain, Reeves could level up The Penguin instead.
The Penguin Was a Side Villain in the First Film
The Penguin certainly had a role to play in the first film, but he was far from the main villain. Both The Riddler and Carmine Falcone posed as bigger threats to Robert Pattinson's Batman. While Oz might've been known to Gotham City as The Penguin, he wasn't necessarily the focus, he also appeared to have plenty of room to grow as the villain Batman fans are familiar with.
The end of the first film also teases a power grab in Gotham City with the city flooded and Falcone dead. It would make complete sense for The Penguin to become the new kingpin of Gotham and the major threat Batman ultimately has to defeat in Part II. Since The Penguin has already been introduced, the sequel would also benefit from not having to waste time to introduce a new villain and could instead dive right into the story and spend some time bringing in other major side characters like Dick Grayson. The Penguin is also a big enough Batman villain to lead a film and has done it before in Tim Burton's Batman Returns.
The Penguin Is Getting His Own Series
Another major clue why The Penguin might be the main villain of The Batman - Part II is because he's getting his spin-off series soon. The Penguin is set to hit Max this year with eight episodes ahead of The Batman - Part II, taking place after the events of the first film. Reeves is building a Batverse of his own and being able to explore The Penguin's backstory and focus on him before he can become a main villain would be a unique approach.
Reeves was also developing other Batman spin-off projects, such as one centered on the GCPD and Arkham Asylum, but The Penguin will be the first one out of the gate. Making The Penguin the main villain of The Batman sequel would also build him up for audiences and raise excitement if The Penguin series lives up to expectations. With Reeves committed to The Penguin in his universe, it only makes sense for his role to get bigger, not smaller since so much development is being put on the character with a series.
Batman has the best group of rogues in comics and The Penguin being a part of that gallery is one of the many reasons why. The Batman reinvented The Riddler as a serial killer played by Paul Dano. With Hush rumored to be the villain of The Batman - Part II, his inclusion might feel a bit too similar to what Reeves did with The Riddler in the first film.
Going with The Penguin would not only serve as a different antagonist for Pattinson's Batman but it's already been set up within the world. Gunn has also dubbed Reeves' Batman series as an "epic crime saga" and making The Penguin, who will likely rule Gotham City, the main villain of the sequel, aligns with that notion very well.
Lastly, Batman villains typically steal the show from the Caped Crusader in his films. Colin Farrell certainly does that at times in The Batman under the heavy prosthetics as Oz. Every Batman film needs to have a compelling and entertaining villain to go up against him and The Penguin certainly fits the bill.
Farrell has already proven that his portrayal of The Penguin is strong enough to carry The Batman - Part II and could be just as dangerous as Carmine Falcone if he reached his goal of ruling Gotham's underworld. Once The Penguin series comes out, the character's appeal will grow stronger with more time spent with the character than any Batman villain before a film. Farrell disappeared into The Penguin role and delivered the strongest portrayal of the character to date. With filming around the corner, there's been no word on another big-name actor coming in to play the main villain. That could be because Farrell is already set to fill that role.
The Batman - Part II already has an exciting option for its main villain because he was featured in the first, something that doesn't happen too often in superhero sequels. Reeves could be building up The Penguin and his Gotham City similarly to how the Marvel Cinematic Universe built up Thanos but with a grounded twist. Oswald Cobblepot also has deep ties to the history of Gotham in the same way Bruce Wayne does as the first family of Gotham, too. It seems Reeves wants to explore that further, following the first film's world-building and The Penguin would be a perfect anchor for that to continue.
Comic book movies might not be as strong as they used to be, but The Batman projects still have a ton of potential and can keep audiences engaged with the genre. Reeves already has a strong piece of the puzzle with Farrell's Penguin and the story would likely benefit from an expanded role. The Batman - Part II can, of course, introduce new characters and villains, but at the root of the conflict should be The Penguin. It feels like an appearance from The Penguin in the sequel is a sure bet, but it would make complete sense for him to serve as the main heavy, and based on some clues, that could very well be the case.