Batman’s Bad Guys: DC Comics Villains Who Should Appear Onscreen Next
Holy bad guys, Batman! In DC Comics, Batman has faced endless adversaries. From his endless fights with The Joker to his back-breaking run-ins with Bane, Batman is constantly challenged by antagonists hoping to crush, conquer, or captivate Gotham City.
Obviously, then, we’ve seen many of these villains onscreen. Live-action Batman films and television series include big baddies such as Two-Face, The Riddler, and Poison Ivy. We’ve seen countless depictions of the Clown Prince of Crime as well as Catwoman. Now with The Batman (2022), The Penguin has even had a couple gos at this movie mischief.
With this in mind, and the recent announcement of a sequel for The Batman, we’d like to see more unfamiliar faces in the DCEU. So below we are breaking down DC Comics villains who should appear onscreen next. Plus, we’ll consider how they could fit into the already established TV/movie cinematic universe.
Clayface is at the top of our most wanted list. Although Clayface has made it into many DC animated films and shows, we have yet to see him in live action. But the new spinoff television series starring Colin Farrell’s Penguin may be the trick to get this villain onscreen. In DC Comics, Basil Karlo is a struggling, sub-par actor who turns to the Penguin for career advice. The Penguin gives Karlo some mystical clay that allows Karlo to transform himself both physically and emotionally.
Karlo can then copy the DNA of anyone he touches, and then shape shift into them. In exchange for this newfound ability, however, he must commit crimes for the Penguin. Eventually this wrongdoing twists his soul and makes it impossible for him to change back. And then he’s more famous as Clayface than he ever was as Basil Karlo.
The Batman Who Laughs
The Batman Who Laughs is Bruce Wayne / Batman’s Dark Multiverse counterpart. On Earth-22, a dying Joker decides to take everyone in Gotham with him. He terrorizes the city, as well as a children’s hospital, until Batman breaks his neck. Joker’s death unleashes a toxin into Batman, causing Bruce Wayne to transform into the monstrous Batman Who Laughs.
Batman’s transformation is slow and sinister. He slaughters his allies, including Superman. Their deaths are brutal and bloody. It’s an extremely gruesome storyline, and one far more reminiscent of the horror genre than action-adventure. But its on-screen execution could be mesmerizing — and terrifying.
Scarecrow, of course, is part of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. But the Jonathan Crane of the Nolanverse is far tamer than the one we hope to see onscreen one day. Pictured above is Scarecrow’s look in Fear State. This comic promotes Scarecrow to more of an A-list villain role. In it he is determined to reinvent Gotham City by forcing its citizens to face their greatest fears.
Crane is convinced Batman once faced fear and overcame it, making him the hero he is today. So Scarecrow wants to achieve that on a grander scale. He also looks super spooky while executing that plan, as opposed to the still cool, but ultimately more grounded suit and straw bag from Batman Begins.
The Court of Owls
A fan favorite villain group, the Court of Owls is an ancient conspiracy. They are a whispered nightmare. A scary story told around the campfire. Having controlled Gotham City for centuries, the Court uses murder and other means of influence to manipulate Gotham from the shadows. The Court themselves are human/owl hybrid creatures, whereas their assassins — “Talons” — are humans who wear owl masks.
Unlike many Batman villains, the Court targets Bruce Wayne because he wants to rebuild Gotham City. Ultimately, with the hopeful way The Batman ended, a Robert Pattinson-led sequel could easily tie in this famous comic plot.
Mr. Bloom is a powerbroker who sells “seeds.” These nanotech reactors are “planted” inside buyers, who then develop superpowers. Ultimately, however, the seeds kill them. Still, Bloom continues his operations as long as he is uprooting the corruption in Gotham City. Ultimately, his goal is to make a whole race of blooming metahumans to replace Gotham’s complacent concrete society.
Bloom himself is also a metahuman. Acting as Garden, he grows immensely tall and uses his tendril like “roots” to wreak havoc. While his powers are fairly dissimilar from those of our green gal Poison Ivy, his vision of a remade Gotham, as shown above, isn’t all that different. So while Bloom is bizarre and a bit of a lower-grade villain, we think he could shine with the proper writing and SFX.
A member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, the villain Jervis Tetch / Mad Hatter uses technological mind control to manipulate his victims. He’s taken over everyone from Gotham City’s citizens to other members of the Rogues Gallery. What makes the Mad Hatter such an interesting villain is his unclear motivation. Sometimes it’s money he’s after. Other times it seems like he just wants to make people suffer.
One of Mad Hatter’s New 52 storylines involves him duking it out with Black Mask. It’d be pretty cool, then, if Mad Hatter shows up in the corner of the DCEU where Black Mask once was — with Harley Quinn’s fantabulous Birds of Prey. Hatter’s Alice in Wonderland shtick and colorful characterization makes him the perfect fit for that side of the multiverse.
Professor Hugo Strange is a genius. He’s an evil scientist with extraordinary hand-to-hand combat skills. Most impressively, he is one of the first characters in DC Comics to have discovered the Dark Knight’s true identity. He accomplishes this through intellect, deduction, and emotional attacks focused on Batman’s mental health. Eventually he is also able to turn public opinion staunchly against the vigilante.
While The Batman teased an identity discovery, it never came to fruition. Hugo Strange should be the one to solve this mystery. He appears briefly in the non-canon TV show Gotham, but could really deal some damage in the DCEU.
If The Suicide Squad’s King Shark proves anything, it’s that hulking monster characters are a sure DCEU success. Waylon Jones, AKA Killer Croc, suffers from a medical condition which causes his reptilian appearance. He makes a name for himself wrestling alligators for a circus. Then, he turns to a more lucrative business: ruling underground crime in Gotham.
Croc’s been fighting Batman for a long time. His most famous plot is likely in Hush, where further mutation causes him to regress to a primal predatory state. Along with many other villains during Hush, however, Croc is barely in control of his actions, emotions, or thoughts. Thus Batman feels compelled to help all of them. And that’s a live-action Batman movie or show we’d absolutely love to watch.
Which Batman villains do you hope appear next in DC Comics live action? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!