We have tentative confirmation of our previously reported scoop that longtime Batman villain Mr. Freeze may be coming back to the big screen. As our trusted source clued us in, the plan for the future of Matt Reeves’ The Batman franchise is for Gotham City to end up in ruins at the end of the upcoming 2022 movie, leaving the door open for a number of villains to pop up in a lawless land. In particular, it was hinted that the Batman villain Mr. Freeze/ Dr. Victor Fries would be one of them. Now director Matt Reeves has given an interview to Collider in which he stated that he would be open to the frigid, ice-themed villain to appear in his films.
Mr. Freeze has been a mainstay of the Batman mythos since his introduction in 1959 as “Mr. Zero.” Of course, in those days, coming up with themed villains was something of a volume industry that produced Calendar Man, Cluemaster, and of course, the dread Condiment King. The character was rebranded as “Mr. Freeze” in the 1960s Batman show starring Adam West, portrayed by three different actors: George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach. He was also played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the notorious 1997 film Batman & Robin by Joel Schumacher, in which the character was reduced to spouting off various ice-themed puns and forcing his minions to eat frozen dinners while in an ice cavern. However, it was Batman: The Animated Series‘ fourth episode Heart of Ice that birthed the modern take on the character as a tragic villain who is outwardly emotionless, but motivated by deep love for his terminally ill wife.
Warner Bros has struggled in recent years to find a consistent tone for the tone for the DCEU. After first attempting to create a grim shared universe contrasting with the lighter Marvel Studios under the helm of director Zack Snyder, they are now pushing for a wider variety of tones. The recently concluded Peacemaker on HBO Max almost immediately became the most popular streaming show in the world with its goofy sense of ultraviolence, while Shazam! leaned into a colorful, retro style of superhero adventures. Matt Reeves’ The Batman starring Robert Pattinson originally began as a Ben Affleck vehicle which Reeves described as a James Bond-style film, but has since jettisoned that. Considering the released trailers and soundtrack indicates that this may be the grimmest, darkest of the many (many!) 2022 DCEU releases, it could be a good start for Mr. Freeze, Batman’s coldest adversary.
The one catch may be that Mr. Freeze is somewhat of a fantastical villain, based as he is in a Joker-like chemical bath that requires him to use a high-tech suit to keep his body at sub zero levels. It sounds like Reeves is up for the challenge for trying to adapt the character to a more realistic take, much as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy did for The Joker, Two-Face and others. It will be interesting to see where The Batman leaves the future of that particular version of the Dark Knight, especially considering we have at least one other arriving in the upcoming months.