Superhero films are typically very crowded affairs. Nothing is too much when it comes to capes and cowls, a fact especially apparent for heroes with exciting rogues’ galleries. Batman is one such hero: no matter the film, you can count on a gaggle of villains raising hell in Gotham City. The Caped Crusader is one man against an army, and while that theme has produced a handful of truly brilliant conflicts, an equal number of Batman films turn out overstuffed.
The Batman somehow managed to avoid this fate. Director Matt Reeves included a grand total of five villains in the 2022 film, but each served the story in fresh, subversive ways. It was a success, and with a sequel in the pipeline, there’s no reason why Reeves wouldn’t attempt that same balancing act again. That, at least, is what insiders have been suggesting since The Batman - Part II was announced.
The possibilities for the roster of villains Robert Pattinson’s hero will face off with next are endless. Combined reports from Deadline and industry insider Daniel Richtman seemed to land on a definitive line-up: Clayface, Hush, Professor Pyg, and Scarecrow, all in one film. If that sounds a bit unrealistic, you’re not alone. James Gunn himself recently weighed in on the rumors, and he wasted no time shutting them down.
Gunn hasn’t let his new role as the creative co-chair of DC Studios keep him from interacting with fans. He’s been as vocal as ever on social media, fielding queries about the new DC Universe and debunking rumors when he can. He’s uniquely qualified to address Batman 2 speculation, and recently used Threads to deny Richtman’s theory about the film’s villain line-up.
Per Gunn, the idea that Clayface, Hush, Professor Pyg, and Scarecrow will all appear in The Batman 2 is “totally made up.” There may be some truth to the scoop (perhaps, for example, Clayface will appear in a minor role), but for now, theorists are back to square one.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing: the idea of that many heavy hitters in one film felt pretty far-fetched. The Batman left so many threads open-ended, and with rogues like the Penguin and Catwoman still at large (and an established threat waiting patiently in Arkham State Hospital), there’s almost no need to introduce new villains.
Superhero movies do need new threats now and again, but the urge to fill a roster to the brim has resulted in so many films feeling overstuffed. The Batman narrowly eluded that fate, but The Batman 2 has to walk the same tightrope. Hopefully the sequel can maintain the first film’s careful balance, but if Gunn’s comments tell us anything, it’s that Reeves is working hard to preserve the magic.