It has recently been all but officially confirmed that Ben Affleck will star in, write, and direct the next solo Batman movie, currently titled "The Batman". Slated to be released in 2018, it only is a matter of time before fans start clamoring for casting news. Odds are, Jared Leto's Joker is going to be the main antagonist in the next Batflick, however, should Warner Brothers decide to go in a different direction, who would be the ideal alternative?
5. Black Mask
Although Roman Sionis is not quite as extravagant or cinematic as other Batman rogues, Black Mask would be a perfect fit in the new Batman film, especially because of it's director. Ben Affleck has made his name for himself by directing gritty thrillers, such as Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo. Being that Black Mask is one of the most powerful mob leaders in Gotham, his presence would certainly tie into the street-level, realistic take on Batman that Affleck is sure to be going for. Similarly, some of his stories tell of a Black Mask that grew up hating Bruce Wayne, which would make for an interesting dynamic in the film.
Who should play Black Mask: Ralph Fiennes
For the first time in his cinematic history, Affleck's Batman is going to be portrayed as a seasoned vigilante, who has been fighting crime in Gotham for around 20 years. Therefore, none of these actors are going to be necessarily fresh faces. For the role of Black Mask, I think that Fiennes is an ideal fit for Black Mask. With his combination of slickness that he showed as 'M' in 'Skyfall', and out-right evil nature in The Harry Potter Series, Fiennes has the skills to portray a truly threatening Black Mask.
It goes without saying that the Riddler in 'Batman Forever' (and the movie as a whole) was a huge missed opportunity. The Riddler is one of Batman's most iconic villains, and he was severely mishandled the first time around. Instead of the egocentric, calculated, brilliant Riddler Batman fans have come to love, 'Batman Forever' featured a failed engineer with a severe case of ADD. Being that it has been 20 years since 'Batman Forever', The Riddler is bursting with loads of potential if portrayed the correct way. With his penchant for elaborate death traps, passion for out-smarting Batman, and a complete lack of regard for his hostage's lives, a properly executed Riddler would do wonders for the next Batman movie. In fact, The Riddler may have already been hinted at:
Who should play The Riddler: Ben Foster
Nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Charlie Prince in 2007's '310 to Yuma', Ben Foster brings a intensely magnetic screen presence to all of his roles. Underrated for years, Foster might finally be getting his chance in the spotlight, starring as Lance Armstrong in an upcoming biopic about the cyclist's life. Whether it be as a skull-bashing nut job in 'Alpha Dog', or the voice of reason in 'Lone Survivor', Foster's diversity of skills would be perfectly highlighted if he were to be cast as The Riddler.
3. Hugo Strange
A cerebral villain if there ever was one, Hugo Strange's claim to fame is that he figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman, long before the two ever even met each other. As one of the few rogues in Batman's galley who knows his true identity, Hugo Strange would present a psychological challenge for Batman that has yet to be seen on film. Given the calculated nature of Affleck's films, Hugo Strange would appear to be a natural choice.
The obvious choice: Bryan Cranston
While Bryan Cranston would no doubt kill as Hugo Strange, the fact is, it is too easy of a choice. Before Jesse Eisenberg was cast in the role, Cranston was rumored to be Warner Brothers top choice for the role of Lex Luthor. However, apparently both Warner Brothers and Cranston felt this too was uninspired casting, as he was never even approached for the role. Cranston had this to say about playing Lex Luthor:
It was all fan driven. They’re thinking, 'Who could play Lex Luthor? Who’s bald who could be menacing? Ooohh, Walter White! We can get that guy.' And it’s not very inspiring casting.
Given that WB was reluctant in casting Cranston as one bald villain, it is doubtful they would cast him as another.
Who REALLY should play Hugo Strange: Christoph Waltz
This scene-stealing, two time Academy Award winning, Quentin Tarantino muse would have the potential to create a legendary cinematic villain if he was given the chance to play Hugo Strange. Waltz has show he has the capability to create a character that the audience can intensely loathe, or endlessly root for, as seen in 'Inglorious Basterds' and 'Django Unchained', respectively. His smooth talking, one-step-ahead of you persona would mesh perfectly with Hugo Strange. Just imagine the opening scene of 'Inglorious Basterds', except instead of threatening an innocent french farmer, it will be The Batman sitting on the other side of the table. Not to mention in the video game Batman: Arkham City, Strange is portrayed with some sort of European accent, another conveniently similar trait the German actor possess.
Bonus: Will Smith's Deadshot
While Hugo Strange presents an unparalleled psychological challenge to The Dark Knight, in terms of a physical battle, he really stands no chance. That's where Deadshot comes in. Not only would he provide a necessary muscle to Strange's brain, but putting Deadshot in two of their movies would further strengthen the ties between the films in the DCEU.
Dr. Thomas Elliot, Hush, is one of the more interesting choices to be the next cinematic Batman villain. For starters, he is a relatively new addition to Batman canon, having only been introduced in 2003. Secondly, him and Bruce have an extensive history together, as they were best friends in their youth. In fact, young Tommy would regularly have an advantage over and outsmart the otherwise brilliant Bruce. Given that Affleck's Batman has been fighting crime for 20 years, it presents an ideal opportunity to introduce a character with whom he shares such an intertwined past. Combining those factors, along with his skills as an expert marksman, Hush would pose a fierce, fresh threat for Batman.
Who should play Hush: Joaquin Phoneix
Another Academy Award nominee, Joaquin Phoenix is considered one of the best actors of his generation. Known for tackling some of the most complex and layered roles in Hollywood, Phoenix's ability to understand and adopt his character's personalities would be an ideal fit for a character with such a complicated psyche.
There are many reasons why Red Hood is the ideal villain for the next solo Batman movie, the biggest of which being that Warner Brothers might have already decided he will be exactly that. It has long been rumored that the death of Jason Todd, the Red Hood, serves as a catalyst to the events that happen to Batman in the DCEU. First, supposedly Bruce Wayne retired from being Batman following Todd's death. Secondly, it is rumored that Harley Quinn feels guilty about the death of Todd, causing her relationship with The Joker to become estranged, which plays into the story of 'Suicide Squad'. Similarly, it has been rumored that Red Hood has been deemed a "priority character" by Warner Brothers going forward.
However, there are plenty of other reasons why Red Hood should be the prime candidate for the villain in the next Batman. He will provide a complete, well-rounded challenge to Batman, testing him psychologically, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Being one of the few rogues who knows Batman's true identity, Red Hood has plenty of ways to attack Bruce Wayne directly at his heart. As a one-time apprentice to the Batman, Jason Todd possess intelligence, determination, and training that few, if any, other Batman villains have. As for being a physical threat, while Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises' was without question a worthy adversary, the similarities between Red Hood's and Batman's fighting styles would lead to the best Batman combat sequences even seen on film. Considering that Todd might be seeking revenge on both Batman and The Joker, a movie with Red Hood as the lead antagonist is overflowing with potential.
Who should play Red Hood: Jake Gyllenhaal
Physical ability? Check. Go watch the trailer for Southpaw. Leading man charisma? Check. Go watch anything he's been in. Appropriate age gap with Affleck's Batman? Check. Box office draw? Check. The acting chops to create what could be the greatest Batman villain ever seen on screen? Check. Seriously, just look at this dude's filmography over the last decade, it's a thing of beauty. Brokeback Mountain, Jarhead, Zodiac, Brothers, Source Code, End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy, and Nightcrawler. Not to mention the three feature films he is starring in during 2015, including Southpaw, Everest, and Demolition. Well on his way to becoming one of the greatest actors of his generation, a role as a Batman villain would no doubt further cement his status as one of the premiere actors working today. Besides, just imagine that title card: Affleck, Gyllenhaal, Leto. I get chills just thinking about it.