The Batman has just started filming, and that means one thing: set leaks. From studios preempting the leaks with camera tests to downtime pics of stunt doubles, fans are desperate to derive as much meaning as possible from the smuggled images. Now, one leak has finally given fans one of the many things they've been waiting for: our first clue about Paul Dano's Riddler.
Dano steps into the role of the cryptic crimelord alongside with Colin Farrell's Penguin. Unlike the Dark Knight himself, whose costume has already been picked apart and analyzed thanks to the Robert Pattinson camera test, we still don't know what the villains look like, but we might now have an idea of their handiwork.
A leak surfaced February 26 depicts a victim of the Riddler tied to a chair with duct tape over their entire face. On the tape, "NO MORE LIES" is written in marker. This photo was quickly taken down by Warner Bros., but that does not necessarily mean it's a genuine leak. The company may be merely preventing incorrect information from creating undue speculation.
However, there is some evidence pointing to the image being authentic. The chair the victim is tied to looks nearly identical to the tufted leather chair in the picture Matt Reeves tweeted to celebrate day one of filming.
If the leak is to be believed, what does this mean for the film? This image seems more likely to be The Riddler's handiwork than The Penguin's. Penguin is much more henchman-reliant, as a rule. "No more lies" could mean the victim is someone who knows Batman's secret identity... possibly the mayor of Gotham or Commissioner Gordon.
One possibility is the victim is the mayor, he is killed by the Riddler, and thus the stakes for the ongoing plot are raised. This would also serve as a way to effectively promote Commissioner Gordon to a higher role, mirroring the role he played in the Golden Age comics Jeffrey Wright researched for the role.
With Reeves's film exploring a rarely-seen early era of Batman with a seemingly noir tone, it's safe to expect the villains will also deviate from prior depictions. We probably won't see a larger-than-life Riddler like Jim Carrey's with Dano in the role, and while Farrell may have some supervillain experience from the infamous 2003 Daredevil movie, his Penguin will surely bring some nuance and grit to the avian adversary.
Regardless of whether or not this leak can be believed, all the official clues we've had so far point to a Batman movie looks to reinforce the DCEU's position as a dark counterpoint to the MCU.
The Batman comes to theaters June 25, 2021.