Riddle us this: what’s black, brooding, and at the top of the box office right now? Why it's The Batman, of course! Matt Reeves has answered the call of the Bat-Signal, with Robert Pattinson donning the cape and cowl for what’s tipped to be the first part of a new trilogy. And The Batman jumps right into the second year of Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting tenure, meaning we have an already established world of Gotham City and an expansive rogues’ gallery.


Reeves has promised Joker won’t be the big bad of The Batman’s sequel – but if you're looking for other candidates, it turns out that Paul Dano’s Riddler has already offered a sneaky hint of who else could be taking on the Bat in his next case.

You see, during Riddler’s game of bat and mouse, he sent a series of cryptic cards to the vigilante hero. Each card was adorned with a cutesy cartoon, and although you might’ve missed this deep cut Easter egg, these five keepsakes tease a rotten rascal for The Batman's sequel(s).

So, who’s waiting in the “wings”? Let's find out.

The Court of Owls

The Batman
The first card as seen in The Batman (WB)

Who needs one villain when you can have a whole society of them? While the shady Court of Owls are already destined to be the villains of Warner Bros. Montreal’s Gotham Knights video game, they could also get their movie debut. The very first card Riddler leaves for Batman features an owl (love a Who/hoo pun), hinting that this shadowy crew of villains could be in for an appearance.

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In the comics, the Court of Owls is a high-flying organisation of Gotham’s elite that's operated in the background and pulled the strings for centuries. Beyond their dastardly deeds, they're largely remembered for the creepy owl masks that conceal their identities.

And given how much The Batman focuses on Thomas Wayne’s shady dealings and the Riddler’s inside knowledge on Gotham's movers and shakers, it feels like this cabal could fit right in with the world Reeves created. There are already theories suggesting Thomas Wayne was part of the Court before his untimely demise.

Professor Hugo Strange

Up next, the second card featured a mad scientist and a mention of chemistry between you and them. This illustration is a close match with Professor Hugo Strange, a character that some fans might remember from Rocksteady’s acclaimed Arkham City video game or BD Wong’s portrayal in the Gotham TV series.

Doing what even the Riddler couldn’t in The Batman, Strange was one of the first villains to work out Bruce Wayne’s secret identity, and this could play into the new movie universe. Following in the footsteps of the Batman ‘66 continuity, picture the scene where Strange is an Arkham psychiatrist. What if he oversees the Riddler at Arkham State Hospital and deduces that Bruce is the man behind the mask?

Poison Ivy

Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy/Dr. Pamela Isley in Batman & Robin (WB)

The third card includes a little girl with red hair and wearing green. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Riddler is teasing Poison Ivy here - in fact, it's probably the most obvious nod of all the cards.

Of course, Poison Ivy is one of the most iconic Batman villains out there - and not just because of Uma Thurman. Alongside potential ties to Catwoman, a new onscreen version could also explore Ivy’s relationship with Harley Quinn to introduce this world’s very own version of Puddin’.

In terms of how Ivy could fit into a sequel, don't expect the theatrics of Batman & Robin. Matt Reeves has already said he’d like to explore the idea of a grounded Mr. Freeze, so if we do see Ivy expect her to be a million miles away from Thurman's Mae West-inspired vixen.

Mad Hatter

Card no. 4 is a little harder to decipher, but with what looks like two glowing eyes, we’re reminded of the Cheshire Cat. Connecting the pieces of the puzzle, it's likely a tease of Mad Hatter. In the comics Jervis Tetch is known for the ridiculous concept of controlling his victims with mind-controlling hats, but let’s not forget his darker edge.

Even though it might be too similar to feature another serial killer in The Batman 2, Mad Hatter’s obsession with girls that look like Alice could bring some serious Silence of the Lambs vibes, with Batman calling on Riddler to get inside Tetch’s twisted mind.

Still not convinced? Well, there is one other clue. Did you spot Desperate Housewives' Charlie and Max Carver playing Penguin's twin bouncers in The Batman? Because many think they're a version of Batman goons Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Scarface and the Ventriloquist

Last but not least, there’s a clear allusion to Batman villain Scarface among Riddler's clues thanks to a card featuring a ventriloquist dummy. In the comics, Arnold Wesker is a seemingly mild-mannered man who is convinced to do the bidding of his own dummy – the aptly named Scarface.

It’s implied that Wesker has a multiple personality disorder, though he believes he's merely forced to commit crimes thanks to his little wooden pal. Anyway, the upcoming Penguin spin-off is sure to explore more of the city’s seedy underbelly, and while Wesker might seem like a low-level mobster, he could definitely be a secondary big bad.

Paul Dano as The Riddler
Paul Dano as The Riddler Warner Bros

Altogether, there are plenty of clues to chew on for who Batman will face in his next movie - but we should add a note of caution. After all, it's certainly possible that Riddler's own collection of Hallmark cards might be nothing more than Easter eggs.

Let’s remember, Reeves has already named mysterious villain Hush when asked who he’d like to tackle next, and any number of Batman's huge rogues' gallery could crop up for his next sojourn into Gotham. Perhaps these Riddler-teased villains could turn up in a planned TV spin-off, or a third movie, or not at all.

Either way, Arkham had better make sure it’s got plenty of spare cells when The Batman 2 unfurls its wings. There might be a few new residents to deal with...

The Batman is in UK cinemas now. For more, check out our dedicated Movies page or our full TV Guide.


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