The Batman Is Basing Its Story On An Infamous Serial Killer

Director Matt Reeves has confirmed that one of the villains in The Batman has taken inspiration from one notorious serial killer.

By Apeksha Bagchi | Updated

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While there is no doubt that Matt Reeves’ upcoming DCEU film, The Batman, is going to be an honest live-action adaption of the comic book superhero, the director has revealed that one of its villains has found its inspiration in one of history’s most infamous serial killers. 

The Robert Pattinson starrer The Batman will be seeing its titular superhero go up against many villains- Riddler, The Penguin, the crime lord Carmine Falcone, etc. But interestingly, his most notorious enemy, Riddler, will not merely be an adaptation of how he is depicted in the DC comic books. Ever since the character of Riddler (to be played by Paul Dano in the film) was first revealed, many have found his portrayal to have similarities with the dangerous serial killer Zodiac. He reportedly killed more than 30 people across Northern California in the late 1960s-70s. And his identity remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries to date. Now Matt Reeves has confirmed that his villain indeed takes after the terrifying killer. 

Reeves recently sat down for a chat with MovieMaker for an in-depth discussion about his upcoming version of Gotham’s hero. During the conversation, the director confirmed that the Riddler, who has been painted as the big bad of The Batman, has been molded from the real serial killer. He leaves behind clues for Officer Gordon and Batman, mocking and taunting them to solve his crimes. Check out what Reeves had to say:

“The premise of the movie is that the Riddler is kind of molded in an almost Zodiac Killer sort of mode, and is killing very prominent figures in Gotham, and they are the pillars of society. These are supposedly legitimate figures. It begins with the mayor, and then it escalates from there. And in the wake of the murders, he reveals the ways in which these people were not everything they said they were, and you start to realize there’s some kind of association. And so just like Woodward and Bernstein, you’ve got Gordon and Batman trying to follow the clues to try and make sense of this thing in a classic kind-of-detective story way.” 

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Apart from the gruesome murders the serial killer committed, the Zodiac is popular for sending complicated ciphers, cut-up images, and letters to regional newspapers at the time, taunting the Bay Area detectives to stop him before he committed his next crime. The Batman’s prime villain already shares similarities with the real-life killer. In the comics he is depicted as a criminal mastermind who likes leaving riddles and puzzles for the police. For him to take on some serious Zodiac vibes fits in well with Matt Reeves’ plans of presenting his version of the caped hero as the “world’s greatest detective.”

The cast of The Batman includes Robert Pattinson as its titular superhero a.k.a. Bruce Wayne a billionaire who becomes the self-proclaimed savior of Gotham City, Zoe Kravitz as Selena Kyle/Catwoman, Paul Dano as Edward Nashton/Riddler,  and Colin Farrell as Oswald “Oz” Cobblespot/Penguin. Plus there is Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, Jeffrey Wright as Officer James Gordon, and John Turturro as Carmine Falcon.

The production of The Batman wrapped up back in 2021 but Warner Bros. had to switch its theatrical release date multiple times due to the continuously surging COVID-19 pandemic. The DC film is now scheduled to debut in theaters on March 4, 2022, and release on HBO Max 45 days after it opens in theaters.