Alongside the upcoming series about Colin Farrell’s Penguin, Matt Reeves is bringing another extension of his Batman universe to HBO Max. This The Batman spinoff series will focus on the inmates of Arkham Asylum, Gotham City’s home for the criminally insane. Naturally, the show’s setting brings to mind one important question. Which Batman villains will we soon see roaming the halls of this Arkham Asylum spinoff?
What We Know So Far About The Batman’s Arkham Asylum Spinoff
In a recent interview, Reeves had the following to say to Games Radar about the upcoming Arkham series:
We’ve actually now [moved] more into the realm of exactly what would happen in the world of Arkham as it relates coming off of our movie and some of the characters and their origins…almost leaning into the idea of, it’s like a horror movie or a haunted house that is Arkham. Again the way that Gotham is a character in the movie, I really want Arkham to exist as a character. You go into this environment and encounter these characters in a way that feels really fresh.
While this is a very early description for the show, we have some ideas on how we think it should play out. An Arkham Asylum series would be perfect as an anthology, with each episode dedicated to a different villain. The episodes would reveal how they came to be and how they wound up in Arkham. This idea even matches with Reeves’ description of The Batman‘s spinoff. In a haunted house, there are many rooms to visit. And one by one, you meet new scares along the way.
In this imagining, Batman would play a small part in the show, but as it would be from the villain’s perspective. You wouldn’t necessarily need Robert Pattinson under the mask. This could work similarly to how Pedro Pascal appears on The Mandalorian. You could get name actors for each Arkham Asylum villain, and then later use the spinoff characters in a future sequel to The Batman.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth as Inspiration
Note: This paragraph contains mild spoilers of The Batman. As for which Batman villains we think will appear in the Arkham spinoff? Well, we’re going to explain why we didn’t choose some big ones. Two-Face is too intimately tied to Bruce Wayne, so they should reserve his story for a movie. The same goes for the Joker. While Joker and Riddler both end up in Arkham at the end of The Batman, we imagine they could act as more peripheral characters that we only glimpse, in the lead-up to a sequel to The Batman, which may see them more in the spotlight.
Ra’s al Ghul and Bane are international terrorists and not Arkham material. Man-Bat, Croc, and Clayface lean too heavily into sci-fi. (Although we’d love to see them somewhere, they’re overdue for a live-action Batman appearance). Instead, we feel a little inspiration from Grant Morrison’s graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth is called for. With that in mind, here’s who we think should get the spotlight in a future Arkham Asylum series.
Which Batman Villains Will Appear in the Arkham Spinoff?
Here are the villains we most hope to see in this Batman series.
Professor Jonathan Crane is one of the many Batman villains who holds up a twisted mirror to the Dark Knight. Like Batman, he has an obsession with fear. But he uses fear as a weapon of control over the weak, not to scare the wicked, as Batman does. Despite his status as a college professor, one fired for his unethical experiments, the Scarecrow lost his grasp on reality. Mainly because of exposure to his own fear toxin. A whole episode based on his origins, and how Batman locked him up at Arkham, seems like an easy decision to us.
The Mad Hatter
Jervis Tetch is a classic villain that disguises himself in the garb of innocent childhood iconography. He’s a genius scientific inventor who develops mind control tech that’s extremely advanced. Alas, he does not wish to use his genius for good. His obsession with all things Alice in Wonderland and his true belief that he’s the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s story, make him one of Batman’s most unhinged foes. And most dangerous. He might be a little tough to do in a more realistic fashion, but we bet Matt Reeves can pull it off.
Pamela Isley is a legendary Batman villain, perceived by some as an antihero. This is because her targets are anyone who contributes to deforestation and climate change. Having said that, Poison Ivy believes plant life is sentient. And she murders anyone who gets in her way. So, good cause or not, she’s not a hero. But we feel Poison Ivy would be the perfect Batman villain to join The Batman‘s universe in a spinoff.
We know that Matt Reeves’ likely would go in a grounded direction for her. We’re thinking more plant-based poison expert, not someone who controls giant Venus flytraps. A whole episode focusing on Ivy’s rise and fall, and eventual Arkham lock-up, would be perfect for this series. Not to mention, we could see her meet a certain psychiatrist named Harleen Quinzell.
This is another must-have Batman villain if you’re doing a show based on Arkham Asylum. Because as a psychiatrist, Professor Hugo Strange was actually on staff at Arkham Asylum for years. Before being committed to being a patient there, that is. Probably due to his penchant for making “monster men” out of corpses. He is one of only a handful of villains to have deduced Batman’s secret identity as Bruce Wayne. Because of this, and the fact that Strange once treated the other Arkham inmates as his own patients, it makes him an ideal candidate for an Arkham Asylum series.
Although we’re leaving more sci-fi villains off this list, I think Victor Fries just skates by. As Matt Reeves has indicated in recent interviews, there is probably a grounded way to tell this story. The tale of a scientist who loses all emotion except rage when he loses his wife Nora in a terrible accident. He’s one of the great tragic villains in Batman history, and an entire episode from his point of view would be incredible. In fact, we’d root for Paul Dini, father of the modern Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series, to write the episode. No one understands Victor better than he does. Just please, skip any ice-related puns.
Here’s a villain that is a somewhat recent creation. Lazlo Valentin is as dark as Bat villains get. Wearing a creepy pig mask straight out of a horror movie, he has a criminal fixation with the myth of Pygmalion. Especially its twisted ideas about physical perfection. His obsession leads him to kidnap people and perform surgery on them, transforming them into living drones. It’s really twisted stuff, but perfect for the “haunted house” vibes of an Arkham Asylum series. Professor Pyg appeared in live-action before but never done right. We think the world of The Batman is the chance to do Pyg and not pull any punches.
Together, these Batman villains could for the anthology characters for The Batman‘s Arkham Asylum spinoff. Once fully introduced, we could see them meld into Robert Pattinson’s cinematic Batman world, perhaps led by Joker and Riddler. It sounds like an exciting journey and potentially chilling journey to us.