The Batman movie leaks keeping coming. While official announcements about the Matt Reeves reboot of the Dark Knight are scarce, we now know some The Batman casting news. Jonah Hill and Jeffrey Wright, who will take a turn as the voice of The Watcher in Marvel’s What If…?, are in talks to join the project. Like everything involving bats, from Robert Pattinson cast as Batman to the backlash against Batwoman, there might be some controversial choices made here. The reported casting news suggests these actors will play characters Batman fans have seen before. Of course, none of these deals are completed and neither actor may end up taking the role. Wright especially keeps a full schedule with Westworld, a role in Wes Anderson’s new film, and a part in Daniel Craig’s James Bond swan song.
Who Jonah Hill Might Play in The Batman
Image via Netflix
Jonah Hill may seem like an odd choice for a movie about the Caped Crusader. Despite some recent successes in dramatic roles, Hill’s main claim to fame is comedy. Yet, comedians are no strangers in Gotham City. Before he became Tim Burton’s Batman, Michael Keaton mostly starred in comedic films. Another famous comic Batman alumnus is Jim Carrey, an actor Hill looks up to. So, it’s perfect that the Batman casting news around Jonah Hill is that he’s up for the same character Carrey played: The Riddler. Carrey donned the question-mark-laden jumpsuit in Batman Forever. Since then, the Riddler’s been something of a joke villain in the Rogues Gallery. Perhaps Hill can provide some pathos to Edward Nygma like other actors bring to the Joker.
Of course, no one confirmed Hill will play the Riddler, even if the deal goes through. Reeves reportedly wanted Hill for the film for some time, according to Variety. However, the studio wanted to make sure they found Batman first. Meanwhile a separate report from Collider.com says the Riddler will be the first villain Reeves casts. If both outlets background sources are correct, that means that Jonah Hill will offer a take on the Riddler in the noir-themed Batman murder mystery Reeves plans to cook up for fans. This may be a controversial choice both because of the Riddler’s recent recasting as a chump. Though he and the Penguin might play the role of the “main” villains in The Batman. So, maybe we get a new take on an old character?
Who Jeffrey Wright Might Play in The Batman
Image via HBO
The other Batman casting news that may be controversial surrounds who Jeffrey Wright may play in the film. Wright will reportedly play Jim Gordon in this version of the Batman story, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The trade identifies him as “Commissioner Gordon,” but this may not be the case. Given that this is a story from early in Batman’s vigilante career, Gordon may be a lower rank. Jim Gordon didn’t become Commissioner Gordon in the Christopher Nolan Batman films until the third act of the second film. The controversy, however, will likely stem from the fact that, until Wright’s casting, Jim Gordon is depicted as a white man. Part of the reason Batwoman suffers so much fan-hate comes from “fans” anger that the live-action Bat-verse diversified beyond white men in heroic roles. Yet, it makes perfect sense to make “Detective” or even “Lieutenant” Gordon a black man.
Since the seminal Year One story about Batman’s early days, Gordon’s backstory involved him being the one honest cop in crooked Gotham. A peace officer who dedicates himself to the law but recognizes the system is irrevocably flawed is even more likely if the officer is a character of color. Given the national conversation around criminal justice in the United States, Wright’s casting makes perfect sense. Part of the reason Gotham needs Batman is because the police in that city aren’t doing their jobs to serve and protect the citizens of the city. From William Hootkins’ corrupt Detective Eckhardt in Batman 1989 to Mark Boone Junior’s corrupt Detective Flass, bad cops have always been part of Batman’s beat.
Also, the racial angle in the actual film will likely be understated. From what we know of this story, it won’t be political but rather a classic murder mystery for the World’s Greatest Detective.
This Batman Casting News All Promises Great Things for the Movie
Image via Fox
In the past 30 years, Warner Bros. made a lot of Batman movies. Only Spider-Man even comes close to the number of appearances on the big screen, and that’s counting the character’s MCU guest appearances. For The Batman to land with audiences, Matt Reeves must present both a fresh take and a story that feels familiar. It’s a difficult task, but not an impossible one. With 80 years of stories behind him, there are plenty of new ways we can see the Batman on film. This casting news suggests this version of Batman will look different than fans expect but still feature familiar characters that we understand almost immediately. We don’t need another origin story where Batman saves the entire city. A smaller focus where Batman just saves a few lives can still be dramatic enough to bring home big box office bonuses.
Which of these actors are you most excited to see inhabit their roles? Also, I want to hear your casting suggestions either in the comments or shout us out on social media.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.